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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2015  /  May 2015  /  “Big Ben” takes a trip to the Flow Country

“Big Ben” takes a trip to the Flow Country

Hannah’s field research on scoter breeding patterns

“Big Ben” takes a trip to the Flow Country

From the 18th-25th April a team from UCL and The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) carried out fieldwork in the Flow Country of northern Scotland as part of Hannah Robson’s PhD research, using palaeolimnology to inform the conservation management of breeding common scoter (Melanitta nigra).

“Big Ben”* cores were collected from four lochs - two that had records of continuous common scoter breeding since at least the late 1970s, and two that had historically held breeding scoter but had become abandoned in more recent times.

Multiproxy analysis of these cores will enable each loch’s recent history (the last 30-50 years) to be examined in relation to annual scoter breeding patterns. This will provide potentially vital insights into the common scoter’s decline and indicate potential conservation management strategies.

Hannah thanks Viv Jones, Ian Patmore and Jono Reeves (WWT) for all their hard work in collecting these cores.

* A large diameter piston corer, deployed from a raft, suitable for use in shallow lakes. See:


Hannah in situ