Eco-physiology – Behaviour
Specific objectives of the task are:
- To develop suitable behavioural bio-assays for the eco-audit of sand beaches, to construct the necessary recording equipment, and orientation chambers, to develop the associated software;
- To provide training for members of partner groups in the new techniques, and in the analysis and interpretation of the data collected.
- Transportable orientation chambers easy to use were developed and constructed. These were provided to local groups to be tested and used at the study sites.
- The orientation patterns of key animal species (Talitrus saltator, and other walking arthropods common at the study sites) were analysed with ad hoc software to estimate within and inter-population behavioural variation and its link with environmental factors.
- Suitable chambers, incorporating infra-red emitter-receivers, were constructed for long term monitoring of locomotor activity of small sand beach arthropods, under constant conditions. These were held in a small, controlled environment cabinet. Activity were recorded as discrete events using a specially constructed data-logger/interface, and transferred to a p.c. for analysis.
- Variation in characteristics of the activity rhythm were used to estimate the viability of the population, and to predict its ability to adapt to further environmental change.
- These techniques once tuned to easy use at the study sites in collaboration with local partners were dispatched as ‘bio-assay-kit’ to the partner laboratories to establish database on study sites.
Choice experiments were conducted in laboratory controlled conditions, for temperature, humidity, salinity, grain size, light, black strip on the horizon.