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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2014  /  October 2014  /  Lakes, ponds, wetlands and forensic science

Lakes, ponds, wetlands and forensic science

Environmental Change Research Centre, Summer 2014

Lakes, ponds, wetlands and forensic science

Professor John Birks has been elected a Foreign Member in Geosciences (Class V) at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. (See:

Summer Fieldwork

Lake Baikal

Jen Adams undertook a summer sampling expedition to the Selenga Delta, Lake Baikal, as part of her PhD work on pollution impacts on the biodiversity of the Delta wetlands. Fifteen shallow lakes were surveyed for macrophytes, sediment, plankton, and water chemistry in and around the Delta. One shallow lake in the Delta was also cored for investigations into the impact of pollution on lake biodiversity during the past 200 years.


Carl Sayer, Ian Patmore, Helen Greaves, Emily Alderton and former UCL PhD student Dan Hoare launched the Norfolk Ponds Project (NPP*) with a pond conservation stand at the Norfolk Show on 25-26th June, including newt and fish exhibits that attracted lots of attention!

*The NPP involves a partnership including UCL, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, The Norfolk Rivers Trust, Norfolk Non-native Species Initiative, Norfolk Freshwater Study Group and Norfolk FWAG. Ponds across Norfolk have been largely neglected or filled in over the last 50 years. The NPP aims to reverse their decline to ensure that agricultural landscapes contain a mosaic of clean water ponds, with fewer overgrown by trees and bushes. The project is currently being supported by funds from the Office of the UCL Vice Provost for Research.

On 15th-19th September, Carl, Ian, Helen, Gizem Besirki and several current/former UCL students (Lucy Roberts, Emily Smith, Emma Wiik, Lucia Lencioni) worked to restore two overgrown Norfolk Ponds, with help from Norfolk Ponds Project participants.

The event was filmed by Eddie Anderson, a renowned wildlife film maker who will follow the team over the coming year. The event was covered by the Eastern Daily Press and a press release and short video can be found at:

Northern Ireland

Ambroise Baker, Carl, Helen and Jorge Salgado took part in a major macrophyte sampling campaign for the NERC Lake BESS Project ( during late July and early August in the Upper Lough Erne region, Northern Ireland. Eighteen lakes were studied, many of them probably never surveyed before. The project aims to determine the role of connectivity in buffering eutrophication effects on macrophyte communities, comparing the Norfolk Broads with Upper Lough Erne lakes.


Kelly Cheshire and Kirstie Scott attended and presented papers at the 22nd International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) (31st Aug - 4th Sept) in Adelaide. Kelly spoke on The potential of geochemical analysis in discriminating mixed provenance soil samples for forensic investigation, while Kirstie gave a keynote presentation on The role of diatoms in forensic science.

Luca Marazzi presented his Ph.D. work on the assessment of algal biodiversity and biomass in the Okavango Delta (Botswana) at the Water Resources and Wetlands conference in Tulcea (Romania).

Luca estimated for the first time the algal species richness of this unique near-pristine wetland in semi-arid Kalahari Desert . He also identified a variety of desmid new to science Cosmarium pseudosulcatum var. okavangicum.

Hannah Robson’s Icelandic Scoter work was presented at the 5th International Sea Duck Conference 2014 in Reykjavík, Iceland:

See: Ib Krag Petersen, Aevar Petersen,  Rasmus Due Nielsen, Anne Harrison, Hannah J. Robson, Vsevolod Afanasiev, James W. Fox, and Anthony D. Fox (2014) Wintering dispersal and site fidelity of female Common Scoters breeding in Northeast Iceland:

See also:

Professors Anson Mackay has been appointed as co-Editor-in-Chief of a new on-line journal Geo: Geography and Environment, launched by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and John Wiley. See:

Davies, G. & Mackay, A.W. 2014. Introducing Geo: Geography and Environment. Geo: Geography and Environment, 1:  1. DOI: 10.1002/geo2.1

Drs Viv Jones, Simon Turner and Nadia Solovieva spent 10 days in the Bolshezemeskaya Tundra  as part of a NERC funded project investigating how carbon has been stored in the lakes under different climate regimes:


Environmental Change Research Centre:




The Norfolk Ponds Project

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