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Gradiënts in species occurrences

Gradiënts in species occurrences along the green-blue recreative network between the surrounding counties of Leiden and the Singelpark as indication of their corridor function for biodiversity.

Marco Roos (Naturalis) en Wil Tamis (CML)


Period & duration
6-12 months, preferably including the flowering season (in consultation)

Study & level 
Biology, MSc (BSc)

Background & context
The “Leidse Ommelanden” is a LEADER project to enhance the the quality of life and the sustainable economy of the rural areas around Leiden, as well as improving the connections between Leiden and its surroundings. Restoring ecosystems and improving biodiversity is part of the goals. For this purpose a.o. a green-blue recreative network is being further developed. The central axis is formed by the Singel park. This network is also regarded as corridors for biodiversity, providing species better dispersal routes and connecting local (regional) hotspots, for instance between the peat landscapes and the beachplanes, and between the estates on Old beach ridges south and north of Leiden.

Objectives & goals
The objective is to get better insight in how effective this network is as biodiversity corridors connecting Leiden with its surroundings and the regional hotspots. For this purpose, biodiversity patterns along the gradiënts of these corridors between the surrounding country and the Singelpark have to be mapped and analysed in detail. Many ecologic and antropomorphic factors play a role, e.g. differences in management of sites and mobility of organisms. Therefore, representative, informative and comparable plots along the corridors have to be selected, as well organisms with dispersal capacities matching the scale of the corridors.

A second objective is a plan for Citizen Science, incl. possible indicator species, target group and approach.

Methods, tasks & approaches
First, compile relevant available data bases and expand these with inventories of selectled taxa. Statistically analyse the patterns in species occurrence along the gradients. Interpret the patterns found in view of the corridor function of the transect of plots.

Various parallel student projects can be carried out focusing on different taxa. Possible taxa include: 1) waterside plants (starting from 25 selected standard species), 2) snails, 3) woodlice, millipeds and centipeds, ) spiders and harvestmans.

Biodiversity courses