My name is Sasha, and I am a student at the University of St Andrews who has just finished a weeklong internship working at the Ecology Centre with Lyle from Restoration Forth. We had a busy but fun week finding, recording, and mapping seagrass and I learned a lot about where and how seagrass grows, how Restoration Forth is going about resorting it and the oyster population. I was also taught how to use the mapping software QGIS and used it to create a map of the seagrass patches we found in Pettycur Bay.
On Monday, we drove around the Forth to look for seagrass in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, unfortunately finding none. In Limekiln I saw my fist seagrass, a large patch of Zostera noltii (dwarf eelgrass) stretching over much of the small bay. Later in the day, we went back to the office and I began learning how to use the mapping software GIS, which I would use later in the week.
From Tuesday onwards we worked in Pettycur Bay, identifying and recording patches of seagrass like the Eelgrass (Zostera marina) in the left photo using Seagrass spotter (the photo on the right is me recording a small patch). We managed to record around 80 patches on Wednesday alone!
Thursday was spent in the office, preparing for a presentation at a school and mapping the seagrass patches we recorded on Wednesday. The map I made will be used at a future Seagrass Spotting event for community groups with Restoration Forth to show the participants where the different species of seagrass are.
Friday, my last day, we donned our waders and went back down to Pettycur Bay to try and map the main seagrass bed. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favour with the high tide and strong wind making walking in the bay or seeing any seagrass impossible. Instead, after our brief adventure, we came back to the Ecology Centre and I did a bit more exploring with GIS.
That’s it from me! I have had a wonderful (and maybe too short) week at the Ecology Centre, learning new skills and exploring more of Fife while contributing to a biologically and environmentally significant project. Best of luck to Lyle and the Restoration Forth team in the future, and the rest of the team at the Ecology Centre!