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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  Setting targets for lake restoration in Madagascar

Setting targets for lake restoration in Madagascar

ECRC and WWT team core remote lakes in Madagascar to help the ‘world’s rarest bird’

Setting targets for lake restoration in Madagascar

Professor Viv Jones, UCL Geography field technician Ian Patmore, and NERC CASE postgraduate student Lily Unger (ex UCL Geography Masters in Aquatic Science) spent three weeks of September in Madagascar with colleagues from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) including ex UCL Geographer Dr Hannah Robson.

The team travelled extensively, and sometimes very slowly, in the North of Madagscar to meet with local fieldworkers involved in a breeding and release programme for the Madagascar Pochard, until 2006 thought to be extinct.

Viv explains:

“We had a very successful trip despite an unsuccessful wait for equipment to be cleared through customs, meaning we’ll be back next year.  Luckily we had access to other coring equipment and Ian did a marvellous job of improvising coring from a variety of canoes and dug out boats. We took 1 m long cores from three sites spanning a gradient from pristine lakes to impacted ones as well as surveying the lakes for aquatic plants”.

Lily adds:

“It’s great to have access to material right at the start of my PhD and I am already starting the analysis of plant and algal remains which will give us vital clues to how the lakes operated in the past.  It is also so exciting to be involved in a hand-on conservation initiative where my research will be of direct value to our partner!”.

The research will inform the WWT’s conservation plan for Lake Sofia, the site where Pochard release will take place later this year.

Hannah conlcudes:

“There is a growing and important role for using lake sediments and the science of palaeolimnology to inform conservation organisations of how best to restore damaged lake ecosystems and we look forward to this collaboration”.

For details of the Pochard programme, click here.

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Image

Lily Unger and Viv Jones with a core from Lake Sofia (Madagascar)