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The development of a baseline ecological dataset for selected warm springs in Ireland

This website presents results from a project aiming to fill the gap that currently exists in ecological data focusing on Irish thermal springs.

Irish thermal springs (also known as warm springs) are unique ecological features (29 sites in Ireland) and occur in unusual geological settings where groundwater which is warmer than normal (12 degrees C) rises up through limestone catchments and issues at the surface as a geothermal spring.

Previous biological studies have been limited, however work conducted to date has emphasised their unique ecological value, not least highlighted in recordings of some rare aquatic invertebrate species from warm spring habitats. The Heritage Council of Ireland has supported Ecological Consultancy Services Ltd in a new baseline ecological survey of these features through a Wildlife Grant (2003 scheme).

The project entailed a comprehensive survey of a representative sample of Irish thermal springs and the collection of data on macroinvertebrates, macrophytes and physico-chemical characteristics of water. Project results allowed description of the ecological composition of a previously under-studied habitat. It is hoped that a better understanding of the interaction between species and habitat in warm springs will result. New information on these environments, compiled in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, will enhance our understanding of national biodiversity. Results could also link with existing geological information on springs and assist in deciding the conservation status of these habitats as well as informing future management policies.

This project has been co-sponsored by The Heritage Council of Ireland (under The Heritage Council Wildlife Grants Programme, 2003) and by Ecological Consultancy Services Ltd (EcoServe)

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 June 2008 )
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