Volunteer Event – Sunday 9 October

Water Plantain

The volunteer event for Sunday was a continuation of the preceding event. A number of interesting plants were spotted, see the photos above and below.

Colin Gray writes:

All these small marshland plants are denied light by extensive tree intrusion into the open marsh habitat. Without sunlight the seeds cannot regenerate and the seeds lie dormant in the moist soils.

If the trees were to be allowed to grow to maturity the seed bank would be buried forever under leaf litter which raises soil levels over time. This process dries out soils such that the moisture loving plants are lost. With the plants go all the diverse invertebrate life that relies on them and their predators on up the food chain. This is the loss of diversity that marshland management seeks to address.

Regarding the picture above, the spider (top rhs) is a young Dolomedes (Raft spider), one of the invertebrate predators of the insects that feed on the marshland plants. It does not make a web but catches insects that land on the water to lay eggs. Hairs on its feet allow the spider to walk on water, but it will also dive to catch tadpoles and small fish. Females will produce a web nest on reeds to protect eggs and young.

Marsh Cinquefoil

Marsh Pennywort

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