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The distribution of three uncommon freshwater gastropods in the drainage ditches of British grazing marshes

Watson, Alisa M. and Ormerod, Stephen James 2004. The distribution of three uncommon freshwater gastropods in the drainage ditches of British grazing marshes. Biological Conservation 118 (4) , pp. 455-466. 10.1016/j.biocon.2003.09.021

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Marshland drainage channels (=ditches) in the UK are relicts of a once extensive habitat whose management requires quantitative information on the ecology of marshland organisms. Three freshwater gastropods in the UK Red Data Book (RDB), Segmentina nitida, Anisus vorticulus and Valvata macrostoma, are particularly poorly known, and we examined their macro-distribution across 106 ditches on four grazing marshes in SE England. Distribution reflected natural water quality, vegetation and anthropogenic factors. S. nitida occupied shallow calcareous ditches with dense emergent vegetation while A. vorticulus occupied less calcareous ditches with high plant diversity. Ditches with V. macrostoma were dominated by floating plants and slightly elevated chloride. S. nitida and V. macrostoma were absent from otherwise suitable ditches that had elevated nitrate and nitrite indicating effects from eutrophication. Conservation of these three gastropods at the regional scale requires reductions in catchment fertiliser use and also the protection of enough sites to provide the required range of natural factors (e.g., Cl and Ca). At the marsh scale, we suggest that quasi-traditional and rotational ditch clearance can provide the vegetation dynamics and diverse ditch network to ensure suitable habitat for all three species. Better information is required about dispersal, about the effectiveness of reintroduction, and about the most sensitive methods of ditch management.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0006-3207
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:45

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