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Foul Bay

Teresa Darbyshire, 21 Ionawr 2015


Well, Foul Bay did live up to its name on what actually turned out to be the best weather we’ve had so far. All of my sampling sites are generally chosen for having easy access off the road, but I had taken a risk this time and picked a site where the road ended before the coast, leaving what I thought would be a reasonably distanced walk. However, as the road finished close to a settlement we stopped in for a quick chat and some advice about access to the shore. The advice was that our chosen route would be unsuitable but there was another track that would get us close a little way back down the road, it was a ‘little soft’ but our 4x4 ‘should’ be fine!

We found the track and made it to the first wire gate (a particular type of access gate here that involves removing part of the fence and then driving through and replacing it). Underneath the wire gate was a very soft, deep-looking area of water (see photo), which with the peaty ground here normally signifies something to be avoided! Looking onwards, the supposedly clear track almost instantly disappeared (to our inexperienced eyes) and therefore we debated the wisdom of continuing. The alternative was to walk to the shore, which appeared to be around 2-3 miles away! As we were on our own and the people from the settlement had driven away, we knew there was no help should problems arise (i.e. getting irretrievably ‘bogged’). We eventually made the difficult decision that this one would have to be cancelled. This left us with a rather disconsolate two hour drive back empty-handed, one to put down to experience unfortunately. A foul day indeed!

Tomorrow we are flying to Bleaker Island, to the southeast of the islands, which fills in a large gap in my coverage around the islands. Fingers crossed that we can find a variety of shores here to cover and improve our record!

Digging for worms in the Falkland Islands

Teresa Darbyshire, 20 Ionawr 2015


First of all, here is the photo of the reproductive stage of a worm (photo 1), which I found during night sampling two days ago, but forgot to send! Very nice to collect, just unfortunately not what I was after.

Mare Harbour was an interesting visit, having never been down to a shore almost completely surrounded by barbed wire before (photo 2)! This shore is within the military area here so I was lucky to get access at all, although the officer on duty seemed totally bemused as to why I would even want to. It turned out to be a very hard and rocky area with some areas of flat rocks over gravelly sand and other areas of vertically ridged rock. The flat rock areas had a reasonable diversity of species although collecting was hard work as there were only small numbers of animals to find. Still I did come away with some animals I definitely haven’t seen before including the ‘pretty’ catch of the day, which was a syllid (see photo 3) with its wonderfully intricate hair-do. There were also many flabelligerids (as difficult to say as spell: photo 4). This particular strange species covers itself with mucus, which silt adheres to. This gives it the appearance of jelly when you find it.

Brendan also managed to get out on a dive today which he was very pleased about although his description of it being ‘just like West Wales’ led me to believe it wasn’t the best that the Falkland Islands can offer. However, he brought me back a present of 4 bags of mud. Not the most romantic present I’ve ever been offered certainly, but still there were some nice worms in there including a bamboo worm (maldanid: photo 5). These worms are often very hard to collect whole making identification almost impossible, however, this one was completely intact.


Today saw us driving up to the north east of the island to the region of Rincon Grande. As usual I had no idea what to expect, but with the wind howling again I merely hoped the rain would hold off, so that the couple of hours on an exposed beach would not be too gruelling. I got my wish for most of the duration, to ask for more would just be greedy I suppose!

The shore was mostly rocky again but with one small inlet of softer muddy sand. I set Brendan to work with the fork (photo  6) and studiously watched what came up – lots of tubes and other worms dangling down! We spent some happy time here slowly teasing the long worms out of their sand beds and shoving other tubes into pots before moving on.

Further round the bay in the rockier sections we moved on to rock turning, gaining a small diversity of worms which again were small in number and difficult to find. Working independently with forceps and pot in hand (photo 7), Brendan managed a larger haul than me, which he was very proud of although apparently we were not competing!

On our last stop we returned to our starting point in the softer sediment but at the low tide mark this time to see if the type of worms had changed. There were certainly a couple of different types and we also found an unusual type of crustacean, a serolid isopod, which is flattened and ‘trilobite-like’ and often found in pairs (photo 8). These certainly were an intriguing distraction. Shortly afterwards the tide turned and we were out of time, which meant we had to head back.

Off to the northwest tomorrow to Foul Bay – hopefully not as bad as the name sounds!

Falkland Islands Marine Bristleworms

Teresa Darbyshire, 19 Ionawr 2015

The Polychaetes of the Falkland Islands project has been running since 2011 with two highly successful field trips run so far. The project has been well supported with two Shackleton Scholarship Fund grants and support form the local environmental groups and institutes. So far, over 30 families of polychaetes have been identified from the samples and 2 new species have been described, with more on the way. The third field trip hopes to build on the success of the previous two, expanding the range of sampling sites and seeking new opportunities for collaborative project funding in the islands.


After the usual gruelling 18 hour flight, I’m back out in the Falkland Islands again to continue expanding my range of sampling sites, maintain my contact with those out here and also investigate further project funding opportunities. This time my husband has travelled out with me to see what all the fuss is about and also to try and understand what it is I actually do (you can see his eyes glaze over when I try and explain things so maybe seeing first-hand will actually help!). He’s going to come out with me in the field, help me collect and generally be an extra person in those remote areas I end up in. I’m not sure he knows what he’s let himself in for but at least he may stop referring to my fieldwork as ‘rock pooling for adults’!

The weather hasn’t been kind to us initially, being very wet and windy, even beyond normal Falkland Islands standards! It is supposed to be summer here but it was only 5°C when we landed, cooler than the UK when we left, and the horizontal hail driven into us at hyper speed by the winds was no fun at all!

This was my first full day here and after finalizing all of the arrangements for the next two weeks, our first sampling was a short but harsh introduction to the kind of work I sometimes find myself doing. This was night sampling, attempting to collect the reproductive forms of certain polychaetes that come out at night, swimming free in the water to spawn and are attracted to bright lights. For this reason we found ourselves in a Stanley marina, on a pontoon at 11pm, in the rain, dangling an underwater torch into the water and sweeping a fine mesh net around it, collecting the many different small creatures that were attracted to it (see photo). It was too late to have a detailed look at our catch, so they went into the fridge to keep cool overnight until I could get to the lab for a look and I went to bed.


The order of the day today was to have a look at what I had managed to catch in the marina last night. Most of what I had were small Crustacea and the smallest jellyfish I’ve ever seen (about 2mm wide) but there were 4 worms of the right kind of appearance, albeit a bit smaller than I would have expected (about 10 mm long). I’ve been allowed access to the Fisheries lab while I’m here and their camera microscope so I was able to take some photos of the little critters. Interesting as they were, unfortunately they were not what I was after, which was a bit disappointing. They were certainly reproductive stages of polychaetes but of a different group to the one I am after, although I haven’t determined which group yet. Still, better than nothing!

The weather has been better, being mostly dry, a bit warmer and marginally less windy. Fingers crossed for tomorrow’s weather, which is the first shore visit. It is an early start though, with a 6.30 am wake-up call, to get to Mare Harbour, about an hour and a half drive away. Hopefully something interesting will turn up!

Bwrw eira a dyfnder eira

Penny Tomkins, 16 Ionawr 2015

Shwmae Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn, 

Diolch am anfon cofnodion yr wythnos ddiwethaf. Mae hi’n bendant yn dechrau oeri, ac mae rhai ohonoch chi wedi gweld eira hyd yn oed! Dyma pam dwi am esbonio sut mae meteorolegwyr (gwyddonwyr tywydd) yn mesur eira. 

Mae mesur faint o law sy’n disgyn yn hawdd o’i gymharu â mesur faint o eira sy’n disgyn. Fydd eira ddim yn bihafio! Bydd yn aml yn cael ei chwythu gan y gwynt ac yn lluwchio, sy’n golygu bod yr eira’n ddwfn mewn mannau ond yn llawer llai dafliad carreg i ffwrdd. Oherwydd bod yr eira’n disgyn yn anghyson, bydd y mesuriadau o’r llefydd yma’n anghywir! Dyna pam mae’n rhaid mesur mewn mannau gwastad, agored ymhell o ble fydd eira’n lluwchio. Bydd eira hefyd yn chwarae gemau gyda’r Meteorolegwyr sy’n ceisio ei fesur – bydd yn toddi’n ddŵr, cyn rhewi fel iâ. Felly dyw’r eira sy’n cael ei fesur ddim bob tro yn cyfateb i faint o eira sydd wedi disgyn. Mae eira newydd yn disgyn ar ben hen eira hefyd, ac mae’n anodd dweud faint o eira sydd wedi disgyn o un diwrnod i’r llall. 

Mae’n rhaid i’r meteorolegwyr gofio holl driciau’r eira a meddwl am ffyrdd i ddarganfod faint o eira sydd wedi disgyn. Byddan nhw’n edrych ar gwymp eira (faint o eira sy’n disgyn mewn diwrnod) a dyfnder eira (cyfanswm dyfnder yr eira, hen a newydd). Un ffordd o fesur cwymp eira yw gyda ffon bren. Bydd y meteorolegwr yn gosod y pren mewn lleoliad agored lle na fydd eira’n lluwchio ac yn mesur yr eira bob chwech awr. Drwy glirio’r eira o’r pren ar ôl ei fesur, dim ond eira’r diwrnod hwnnw fydd yn cael ei fesur, a gall y gwyddonydd ddweud faint o eira sydd wedi cwympo ar y diwrnod hwnnw. 

Gallwn ni hefyd fesur eira wedi toddi ar ffurf dŵr. Gallwch chi felly ddefnyddio’ch mesurydd glaw i fesur cwymp eira. Os taw dim ond ychydig o eira sy’n cwympo, bydd yn toddi yn y mesurydd beth bynnag, ond os yw hi’n bwrw’n drwm, ewch â’r mesurydd i mewn ac aros iddo doddi’n ddŵr. Gallwch chi wedyn fesur y dŵr fel rydych chi wedi’i wneud bob wythnos, a’i gofnodi fel glawiad yn eich cofnodion tywydd. 

Os oes eira ar lawr a bod digon o amser i arbrofi, beth am fynd ati i fesur dyfnder yr eira? Y cyfan sydd ei angen arnoch chi yw pren mesur (neu pren eira os ydych chi am siarad fel gwyddonydd gwych!). Gwthiwch y pren i’r eira tan ei fod yn cyffwrdd y ddaear a chofnodi pa mor ddwfn yw’r ddaear fesul milimedr. Rhaid i chi fesur o arwyneb gwastad (fel mainc) mewn lle agored lle nad yw’r eira’n lluwchio. Rhaid i chi gofnodi o leiaf tri mesuriad i gyfrifo dyfnder cyfartalog yr eira lleol. Cyfrifwch y cyfartaledd drwy adio’r cofnodion gwahanol a’u rhannu gyda’r nifer o gofnodion. Os ydw i’n cofnodi tri dyfnder o 7cm, 9cm a 6cm, rhaid i fi adio pob rhif (7 + 9 + 6 = 22) cyn rhannu gyda 3 (22 / 3 = 7.33). Dyfnder cyfartalog yr eira felly yw 7.33cm. 

Mae gorsafoedd tywydd fel y Swyddfa Dywydd (MET Office) wedi troi at dechnoleg i ddyfeisio dulliau newydd o fesur dyfnder eira. Edrychwch ar y llun o un o orsafoedd eira’r Swyddfa Dywydd. Mae nhw’n defnyddio synwyryddion laser i fesur dyfnder yr eira ar yr arwyneb gwastad. Gall meteorolegwyr gasglu data o bob cwr o’r wlad wrth wasgu botwm – llawer haws a mwy dibynadwy nag anfon pobl allan i’r oerfel gyda phren eira! Mae pob un o orsafoedd eira’r Swyddfa Dywydd i’w gweld ar y map – oes un yn agos atoch chi? 

Llun o Synhwyrydd Dyfnder Eira y Swyddfa Dywydd.

(Wefan y Swyddfa Dywydd)

Map o leoliadau Synwyryddion Dyfnder Eira y Swyddfa Dywydd – oes un yn agos atoch chi?

(Delwedd o wefan y Swyddfa Dywydd)

Os yw hi wedi bwrw eira, cofiwch fesur y cwymp gyda’r mesurydd glaw neu’r dyfnder gyda phren eira a nodi’r canlyniadau fel ‘Sylwadau’ wrth uwchlwytho eich cofnodion wythnosol. Bydd yn ddiddorol cymharu dyfnder yr eira â chwymp yr eira yn y mesurydd glaw! 

Daliwch ati Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn, 

Athro’r Ardd

Bylbiau Bach yn tyfu!

Penny Tomkins, 9 Ionawr 2015

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn, gobeithio i chi fwynhau’r gwyliau. Sut hwyl sydd ar y cennin Pedr a’r Crocysau? Cyn y Nadolig, ysgrifennodd nifer o ysgolion ata i i ddweud bod y cennin Pedr a’r bylbiau dirgel yn dechrau gwthio drwy’r pridd. Beth yw hanes eich planhigion chi? Cofiwch, wrth anfon eich data, gallwch chi ddweud pa mor dal yw eich planhigion drwy ysgrifennu mwy yn yr adran ‘sylwadau’. Mae C o Ysgol Y Plas wedi gwneud hyn yn dda iawn, gan ddweud wrtha i bod “13 bylb wedi dechrau dangos yn y potiau a 3 yn yr ardd”. Mae’n gyffrous gweld y planhigion cyntaf yn ymddangos bob blwyddyn!
Blodeuodd cennin Pedr cyntaf y llynedd ar 10 Chwefror, ond y dyddiad blodeuo cyfartalog oedd 12 Mawrth. Gwyliwch yn ofalus, bydda nhw’n blodeuo toc! Cofiwch fesur taldra’r blodau ar y diwrnod byddan nhw’n agor. Byddwn ni wedyn yn casglu’r holl wybodaeth i roi dyddiad a thaldra cyfartalog. Bydd hyn yn ein helpu i weld patrymau, neu newidiadau dros y blynyddoedd. 

(Llun trwy garedigrwydd Doug Green’s Garden)

Cymalau tyfu cennin Pedr

(Llun trwy garedigrwydd Doug Green’s Garden)

Cofiwch, mae angen goleuni, cynhesrwydd a dŵr ar flodau i dyfu. Y llynedd roedd y tymheredd cyfartalog yn 6.0°, ac ers dechrau’r project yn 2006 dim ond dwy flynedd oedd yn gynhesach. 2013-2014 welodd y glawiad mwyaf o 187mm, ond dim ond 69 awr o heulwen a gawson ni, yr ail leiaf. Canlyniad hyn oedd i’r planhigion flodeuo yn gynharach na 2012-2013, oedd yn llawer oerach a gyda peth llai o law ac oriau heulwen. Sut dywydd ydych chi wedi ei weld? Ydych chi’n credu bydd y planhigion yn blodeuo yn gynt neu yn hwyrach na’r llynedd? 

Rwy’n edrych ymlaen i weld eich data chi yr wythnos hon! 

Rydych chi’n gwneud gwaith gwych Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn. 

Athro’r Ardd

Eich cwestiynau, fy atebion:

Ysgol Gynradd Morningside: Roedd hi’n wythnos oer a gwlyb ofnadwy yn Morningside yr wythnos hon! Roedd ychydig o eira ar lawr hefyd ac efallai bod peth wedi toddi yn y mesurydd dŵr.  Athro’r Ardd: Eira! Am hwyl! Rydych chi’n iawn i ddyfalu bod yr eira’n toddi yn y mesurydd. Mae’r tir yn oerach na phlastig y mesurydd, yn enwedig os oedd dŵr glaw yn y mesurydd wrth i’r eira syrthio. Gallwch chi ddefnyddio’r mesurydd i gofnodi faint o eira sy’n disgyn hefyd, a bydda i’n esbonio mwy am hyn yn y blog nesaf.

Ysgol Gynradd Newport: Ar ddydd Iau 2 Rhagfyr dyma ni’n symud y thermomedr oherwydd doedden ni ddim yn gweld digon o amrywiaeth yn y tymheredd roedd e’n ei gofnodi yn y lleoliad hwnnw. Roedd e’n fan eithaf cysgodol. Ar ôl symud y thermomedr dyma ni’n cofnodi tymheredd tipyn is, oedd yn profi ein syniad. Athro’r Ardd: Da iawn am sylwi ar hyn Ysgol Gynradd Newport. Mae’n syndod faint o wahaniaeth mae lleoliad yn ei wneud i’r mesuriadau. Yn ddelfrydol, dylech chi osod y thermomedr mewn ardal agored, gysgodol, i’r gogledd o’r Ysgol ac yn ddigon pell o’r adeilad. Gall heulwen, cysgod rhag y gwynt ac adlewyrchiad gwres o adeiladau ac arwynebau gwahanol achosi cofnodion uwch, anghywir.

Ysgol Gynradd Glyncollen: Diolch am y thermomedr newydd. Rydyn ni’n credu bod un o’r bylbiau yn dechrau tyfu oherwydd bod y tywydd wedi bod yn eithaf mwyn. Byddwn ni’n ei wylio’n ofalus. Yw hyn wedi digwydd mewn unrhyw ysgol arall? Athro’r Ardd: Helo Ysgol Gynradd Glyncollen, rwy’n falch bod y thermomedr newydd wedi cyrraedd yn ddiogel a da iawn am sylwi ar sut mae’r tymheredd yn effeithio ar y planhigion. Rydw i wedi edrych drwy eich cofnodion tywydd a gweld taw dim ond yn ystod wythnosau 49 a 50 y disgynnodd y tymheredd yn eich ardal chi. Bydd y glaw yn fuan wedi plannu, a’r tymheredd mwyn yn bendant wedi helpu’r Bylbiau Bach i dyfu! Mae rhai ysgolion eraill wedi gweld egin cyntaf hefyd, gan gynnwys The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School a Silverdale St. John's CE School.

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School: Rydyn ni wedi sylwi bod rhai cennin Pedr a blannwyd flynyddoedd yn ôl wedi tyfu dail newydd hyd at 150mm. Mae nhw mewn man eithaf cysgodol yn agos i adeiladau’r ysgol, fe dynnwn ni lun a’i anfon atoch chi os gofiwn ni. Mae’r plant yn gofyn os yw’r rhain yn fylbiau gwahanol neu wedi dod o wlad wahanol? Athro’r Ardd: Helo Bickerstaffe CE Primary School. Mae’n wych clywed bod eich planhigion yn dechrau tyfu. Mwy na thebyg taw rhywogaeth wahanol yw eich cennin Pedr chi. Mae sawl math gwahanol ac mae sôn am rai yn blodeuo ym mis Tachwedd hyd yn oed! Anfonwch lun o’r blodau ata i ar ôl iddyn nhw flodeuo ac fe wna i fy ngorau i’w hadnabod i chi.

Ysgol Gynradd Glencoats: Mae Ysgol Gynradd Glencoats yn mwynhau gofalu am ei bylbiau. Bydd yn rhoi lliw hyfryd i’n gardd ecolegol. Diolch am ein dewis i fod yn rhan o’r project. Athro’r Ardd: Diolch am gymryd rhan yn y project Ysgol Gynradd Glencoats. Cofiwch anfon llun o’r ardd ecolegol ar ôl i’r planhigion i gyd flodeuo!