During my PhD when I went to conferences or met people at a statistics course they often remembered me as the person talking about horses and cattle all the time. Indeed, almost all the chapters of my PhD-thesis dealt with the question how grazing management with different livestock species and stocking densities affected some aspect of vegetation or other . However, I was not alone in this project and my colleagues Freek Mandema and Roel van Klink answered similar questions but with regard to birds and invertebrates in our grazing experiment in Noord-Friesland Buitendijks. After we all finished our PhDs the project was continued by Georgette Lagendijk and together we now published a new paper summarizing and integrating effects of the grazing treatments on biodiversity across trophic levels:
van Klink, R., Nolte, S., Mandema, F.S., Lagendijk, D.D.G., WallisDeVries, M.F., Bakker, J.P., Esselink, P., Smit, C. (2016): Effects of grazing management on biodiversity across trophic levels–The importance of livestock species and stocking density in salt marshes. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 235, 329–339. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2016.11.001
The middle block of the grazing experiment at Noord-Friesland Buitendijks.
This summer I have been on a research trip to the Fudan University in Shanghai China. I was invited by Prof. Jihua Wu and Prof. Bo Li to spend a month at the Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering.
Entrance gate to FUDAN University (Shanghai) Jiangwan Campus.
It was a very interesting trip indeed! PhD-student Zaichao Yang helped me to collect quite some cool data in the Dongtan marsh on Chongming Island (in a very short time!). Being used to our Wadden Sea marshes over here, I soon found out that the Chinese marshes are very different. The vegetation diversity is very low, there are crabs everywhere and the soil is very different, too. The soil, or to be more precise the organic carbon in the soil, was also the main focus of the study we did together. Within the southern part of the marsh, which is grazed by cattle, Zaichao established exclosures in 2014. He already collected a lot of data and compared accretion rates and the soil fauna community between the grazed and ungrazed treatment.
Grazing exclosure in the southern part of the Dongtan salt marsh.
Last year we started a project that involved two basic ingredients: a lot of volunteers and a lot of tea bags. But first things first …