Ben Thornes

SERT – Sika Deer Survey

Tuesday 15th July 2014

SERT, the Student Environment Research Team, is a platform that enables BU Applied Sciences students to gain and demonstrate experience and skills by engaging in beyond-curriculum student-led research relevant to professional practice.

Typically SERT teams consist of a small team of student participants, led by student managers and mentored by a BU academic. All projects have a strong professional practice context and many involve direct collaboration with practitioners.

Sika deer are an invasive species from Japan that are now very abundant in many parts of England and Scotland. There are particularly high densities of Sika deer in Purbeck where they concentrate in habitats such as heaths, woodland and saltmarshes that have high wildlife value.

It is important to monitor local densities so that they can be managed as the deer can have both positive and negative effects depending on their density and where they are. On the positive side they are ecologically very similar to our native red deer so their grazing can benefit other wildlife. On the negative side they can cause over grazing and destroy crops. this SERT project collaborated with the May 2012 biannual survey organised by the National Trust and the RSPB.

SERT Team:

Lorraine Munns (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)
Saffra Curtis (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)
Tawun Jack Gregory (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)
Samantha Hempenstall (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)
Rosie Nicoll (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)
Roxanne Whelan (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation BSc)

Academic Mentor: Dr Anita Diaz

Practitioner Collaborators: Ms Angela Peters (Purbeck Ecologist, Principal Landscape Manager, Hanson Quarry Products):

???It???s been really great working with students from Bournemouth University on survey and monitoring work on the National Trust???s Purbeck estate. In 2012 they have helped us monitor our deer populations as well as the impacts deer are having in the woods we look after. They have also carried out detailed scientific surveys of our saltmarsh areas to see how sika are impacting the precious habitat. Their input has been really valuable in furthering our understanding of deer levels and their impacts, and this information helped us steer our management of deer for the benefit of these protected and special places.???

Mr Toby Branston (RSPB Dorset Ecology Manager):

???The ongoing support and professional way that Bournemouth University has contributed to our deer control programme has enabled us to continue with vital work, which is helping to restore some very degraded areas of rare habitat in the Purbecks. The Arne annual saltmarsh survey and the 3 yearly heathland survey carried out by the University students and research assistants provide us with the scientific back up required to help direct our deer control work. This follows years of help with the initial research work in Sika ecology which included a detailed radio tracking project and their impacts on the habitats of Arne and wider in the Poole Harbour basin area.???

Please see the attached PDF to see the results of this investigation.

  • Be the first to comment below...