Work Package 1: Anthropogenic pressures on Irish saltmarshes

WP1 Leader: Dr Steve Waldren, TCD (

The objectives of this WP are to:

1.1  Review the literature pertaining to anthropogenic pressures on saltmarshes

1.2  Collate existing data on anthropogenic pressures on Irish saltmarshes

1.3  Investigate impacts of grazing pressure on Irish saltmarsh communities

A minimum of six saltmarsh sites will be identified that are under different grazing pressures. Sites with known grazing histories and quantified grazing pressures will be prioritised. Type of grazing livestock and saltmarsh type will be considered as study variables. Sites will also be identified at which manipulation of grazing levels can be conducted through the erection of fenced grazing exclosures early in the project. Species percentage cover and data on vegetation height, abundance of bare soil and signs of disturbance by livestock will be recorded in exclosures and from nearby unfenced control plots during the project.

1.4  Investigate patterns and impacts of eutrophication on Irish saltmarsh communities

A minimum of six saltmarsh sites will be selected by identifying those that are subject to eutrophication and considering input source (e.g. agriculture, urban wastewater) as study variables. Vegetation data will be recorded as for objective 1.3 above. Soil and surface water samples will be taken for lab analysis of N, P and organic content at TCD. Samples of vegetation will also be taken from selected quadrats to analyse Net Primary Production (NPP).

1.5  Identify potential refinements to SMAATIE related to anthropogenic pressures.