An Introduction to Invertebrate Survey & Site Assessment

This course is aimed at ecologists involved in site assessment for nature conservation, especially in a planning context, providing confidence in recognising habitats and features of value to invertebrates.  It will also provide understanding to enable decisions on whether further surveys are necessary and, if so, what form they should take.  We will look at when to seek support from more experienced professionals and how to use the data produced by invertebrate survey.

During the day we will cover:

  • A summary of the drivers for invertebrate site assessment in legislation and best practice, including legal considerations;
  • A review of the major invertebrate orders, their identification challenges, and their usefulness as targets for invertebrate survey;
  • Key invertebrate habitats and features in relation to invertebrate ecology and nature conservation status;
  • The use of standard survey methods and their appropriateness for ecological site assessment;
  • Specifying appropriate invertebrate survey methodologies, including seasonality;
  • Understanding survey results and their analysis.

The day will involve classroom sessions combined with field work, including surveying and identification.  Links will be provided to a wide range of useful resources.   

Situated in the Thames corridor, which is of national significance for its invertebrate populations, the venue is Essex County Council’s Hadleigh Country Park, which includes SSSI and Local Wildlife Site land designated in part for invertebrate interest.  It was the venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games mountain biking competitions.  The impacts associated with the development of the necessary facilities, and their operation during the games, were mitigated by an extensive scheme of habitat creation, restoration and management, including invertebrate elements. 

The course will be suitable for beginners or those with a developing interest in invertebrates, and is intended to provide a stepping stone to more advanced involvement with invertebrates.  It will be led by Neil Harvey, an experienced entomologist with considerable survey experience across Essex.  His specialist interests include flies (he is the Essex county recorder for Soldierflies and allied families), moths, galls and leaf miners. 


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