Work Package 2: Ecosystem services and ecological function of Irish saltmarshes

WP2 Leader: Dr Philip Perrin, BEC (

The objectives of this WP are to:

2.1   Review literature pertaining to ecosystem services and ecological function

2.2   Investigate the regulating services/functions of saltmarshes

A desk-based study will examine the role that saltmarshes play in flood defences in comparison with and in combination with hard defences. GIS modelling will be conducted using LIDAR data for selected study sites to examine different scenarios. The potential for Managed Realignment in Ireland and benefits of saltmarsh creation will be examined in light of similar schemes in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. A field study will measure NPP at a range of saltmarsh sites and from different vegetation communities within those sites. Both destructive and indirect non-destructive methods will be used to gather data. Analysis will examine the relationship between grazing (objective 1.3) and NPP.

2.3   Investigate the habitat/supporting services/functions of saltmarshes

The support services of saltmarshes will be examined by assessing biodiversity of vascular plants and bryophytes. A Floristic Quality Index (FQI) for Irish saltmarshes which provides a measure of species richness weighted by the conservation value of each species will be developed. This index will be applied to data gathered on grazing (objective 1.3), eutrophication (objective 1.4), NPP (objective 2.2) and vegetation communities in general (objective 3.2).

2.4   Identify potential refinements to SMAATIE related to function/services.