Hannah Wickenden visited with her tutor today to collect fleas from our Sand martin nests.
Hannah is researching for a PhD on the coevolution of sand martins and their fleas at Oxford Brookes University. An interesting feature of this topic is a hybrid zone between two subspecies of the sand martin flea that runs across the UK. To be able to carry out her research she needs to find large numbers Sand Martin colonies from a range of sites (river cliffs, quarries, artificial nest-holes, etc) all over the United Kingdom. The fleas (Ceratophyllus styx styx and C. s. jordani) over-winter in old nests, from which she will be collecting them following the southward migration of the sand martins to Africa and prior to their return in March. If you have information of suitable Sand martin colonies for Hannah please contact SandMartinFleas@gmail.com.
Reserves Manager at the Kingfishers Bridge wetland creation project in Cambridgeshire.