Wildlife affected by climate change

An increase in temperature and rain as a result of climate change, is impacting on the plants and animals of south west Scotland.

At a recent Stewartry U3A meeting, it was revealed that over the past 20-30 years Scotland has got hotter and wetter.

Speaker Nic Coombey, community and learning officer of the Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere Team, told that the rise in sea temperature and rising sea levels are having an effect on wildlife in the Solway area and the much more regular storms are having a major impact on sandy beaches.

He also pointed out that the waters of the Solway tend to be colder in winter and hotter in summer than other estuaries due to the wide tidal range and the number of rivers discharging into the estuary.

These changes are greatly affecting the wildlife.

Cod are now moving further north, away from the area but sea bass are moving into the area and Pacific oysters are now regularly found on the shores due to the warming seas.

In turn the bird populations of the Solway area are affected by the change in feedstocks.

Plant life around the Solway is also changing with many plants having moved north into the Solway area as the northern edge of their territory.

This is especially so on the warmer, south facing coast of Dumfries and Galloway with examples such as Common Cord Grass which is spreading rapidly, Japanese Wire Weed in the sea, Sea Bindweed growing in the sand dunes, Sea Holly, Sea Radish, Sea Kale and others.

On the other hand the Oyster Plant which is normally found in the Northern Isles and Scandinavia is becoming rarer.

Nic also went on to discuss the Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere.

The area of south west Scotland from Ayr to Dumfries, with the exception of the Rhinns, is a UNESCO designated Biosphere in view of its important natural heritage.

The aim of the designation is to ensure that residents of the area and visitors alike are aware of the significance of the natural heritage of the area .

People and businesses are encouraged to sign up and support this special area through lifelong learning and nature conservation.