A trail taking listeners from the Quadrangle at NUI Galway along the river and up to the northern Dangan part of campus, with stops to look at the wildlife and biodiversity found on campus along the way. Although not necessary to complete the trail, a map and more information is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail/ The trail was written by Jamie Maxwell, Caitriona Carlin and Dara Stanley with input from many others on campus involved in biodiversity research and stewardship. The trail is narrated by Caitriona Carlin and Eoghan Holland and was recorded at Flirt FM by Padraig McMahon.
1. Biodiversity Trail Introduction
Stop 1 on the NUI Galway Biodiversity Trail is outside the Quadrangle building. Find out more about the trail and what Biodiversity is. A map of the trail (although not necessary to complete the audio trail) can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail/
2. Biodiversity Trail College Green
Stop 2 on the NUI Galway biodiversity trail is College Green between the Quadrangle and Martin Ryan buildings. We discuss trees, insects and lichens while Dr Caitriona Carlin (Applied Ecology Unit) introduces some of the bat species that have been recorded in the area. A map of the trail (although not necessary to complete the audio trail) can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail/
3. Biodiversity Trail Eglinton Canal
Stop 3 on the NUI Galway biodiversity trail is Eglinton Canal. Although it is a man-made habitat, Eglinton Canal hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna. From the O’Shaughnessy bridge, keep an eye out for wagtails, which hunt for insects along the stone canal walls. Another bird that can be seen here is the charismatic kingfisher.In the water, plants provide food for aquatic insects, such as caddisfly larvae. There are around 150 species of caddisflies in Ireland and they are an important food source for juvenile salmon and trout. The larvae metamorphose into moth-like adults and leave the water. As adults, they can live for a few days to a couple of months.The adult caddisflies are a food source for bats, such as Daubenton’s bat. Daubenton’s bats are best seen in summer months one hour after sunset. They are easily identified as they fly just above the water’s surface, catching riverflies with their large feet.
4. Biodiversity Trail Herb Garden
Stop 4 on the NUI Galway biodiversity tail is Herb Garden. The raised bed herb garden outside Moffetts Restaurant in the Orbsen building provides edible herbs, as well as flowers for pollinating insects to feed on. The most familiar pollinators are bees; but butterflies, moths, flies and beetles are also important pollinators. Pollinators get food from the flowers but they also transfer pollen from flower to flower which allows the plant to reproduce and bear fruit and seeds. Much of the food we eat comes from plants that require insect pollination. Pollinators are attracted to flowers by colour, smell and the promise of sweet sugary nectar.Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes, and this can determine what flowers they visit. By planting a selection of different flowers, it encourages a diverse selection of insects. Having plants that bloom at different times of the year ensures there is food for pollinators throughout the seasons. As no pesticides or herbicides are used in the herb garden, it is managed to benefit both pollinators and people. Why not have a taste?
5. Biodiversity Trail River Corrib
Stop 5 on the NUI Galway Biodiversity Trail is on the river path along the River Corrib, where swans and moorhens can be seen while salmon and eels swim beneath the surface. Aidan O'Hanlon (Applied Ecology Unit) discusses some unusual snails found in this area, while Dr Anne-Marie Power (Zoology) talks about the lifecycle of eels. A map of the trail (although not necessary to complete the audio trail) can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail/
6. Biodiversity Trail Engineering Lawn
Stop 6 on the NUI Galway biodiversity tail is Engineering Lawn. This lawn in front of the Alice Perry Engineering building, along with all the grounds bordering the River Corrib, is managed in a biodiversity-friendly way. Herbicides and pesticides are not used and the grassy areas are cut less regularly to allow plants, like clover, daisy and dandelions, to produce their flowers. These areas in turn provide shelter and food for pollinating insects and other species.The areas of long grass under the trees can be thought of as miniature forests that are teeming with life. They create a moist and sheltered habitat at soil level that is ideally suited to animals like earwigs and beetles. These in turn provide food for mammals such as shrew and hedgehog. The grass cover also prevents the soil from drying out