The WILDCOMS network is a collaborative project among the major disease and contaminant monitoring schemes for vertebrate wildlife in the United Kingdom. These schemes are run by various government agencies and laboratories, research centres, institutes, and academia. The schemes involved in WILDCOMS include (in alphabetical order): Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), formerly AHVLA The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), formerly Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Diseases of Wildlife Scheme conducts wildlife disease surveillance (including wildlife related emerging diseases and zoonoses, diseases of conservation importance and diseases that may reflect pollution) for all vertebrate wildlife species. The Diseases of Wildlife Scheme is run by the APHA and funded by Defra. The APHA heads the GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership (GBWDSP) which brings together other organisations that are also involved in wildlife disease surveillance. GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership quarterly reports The GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership is made up of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (formerly AHVLA), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Institute of Zoology (IoZ), National Wildlife Management Centre of APHA (formerly part of FERA), The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Natural England (NE) and Forestry Commission England (FCE). GB wildlife disease surveillance partnership quarterly reports Information about Avian Influenza Information about West Nile virus Cardiff University Otter Project (CUOP) The Otter Project runs a long term environmental surveillance scheme, using otters found dead to investigate contaminants, disease, and population biology across the UK. The scheme is run by Cardiff University with the help of a wide range of environmental organisations (including the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, and the Wildlife Trusts) who help with carcass collection. Otters found dead anywhere in England, Wales or Scotland can be sent to the Otter project for post mortem. Please call 03708 506506 in England, 0300 065 3000 in Wales or 01471 822487 in Scotland. The Otter Project website contains a wealth of information; to volunteer see Vacancies. Call a member of the team on 02920 874046, or call the Project Manager, Dr Elizabeth Chadwick on 02920 874948. Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (CSEMP) Nutrients such as nitrate, silicate and phosphate occur naturally and are essential for the growth of aquatic plants and form the basis of marine food webs. Nutrient concentrations are highest in winter, when biological nutrient uptake is at its minimum due to the decrease in sunlight and water temperature and low in summer due to their uptake by growing phytoplankton. Anthropogenic sources of nitrogen and phosphorous, including agricultural run-off and domestic and industrial waste disposal can result in elevated nutrient concentrations, particularly in coastal waters. This may result in eutrophication where waters have low dissolved oxygen and can be of poor quality. Eutrophication is defined as 'The enrichment of water by nutrients causing an accelerated growth of algae and higher plant forms to produce an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water and to the quality of the water concerned, and therefore refers to the undesirable effects resulting from anthropogenic enrichment by nutrients.' (OSPAR 2003). Since 2001 surface water samples have been collected from Scottish coastal and offshore waters during January, and have been analysed for nutrients (nitrate, phosphate, silicate and ammonia) with the aim of establishing regional background nutrient concentrations and contributing towards an assessment of the eutrophication status of Scottish coastal and offshore waters. Water collection and analysis Surface water samples were collected at 15 minute intervals from the non-toxic water supply of FRV Scotia IV, during the MSS CSEMP cruise. The input for the non-toxic water supply is situated on the hull of the ship at a depth of ~ 4.5 m. Water samples were analysed at sea within 10 hours of collection (where possible) using a Bran & Luebbe QuAAtro continuous flow autoanalyser (pictured above). The method for analysis of nutrients in seawater is accredited to ISO17025 standards by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Data assessment Nutrient data can be assessed against assessment criteria established by OSPAR as indicators of nutrient enrichment (OSPAR 2005). Background levels (or concentrations) and assessment levels (50% above background levels) are used to assess nutrient concentrations; concentrations above the assessment level may lead, in time, to an undesirable disturbance to the marine ecosystem. Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance Programme The Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance Programme conducts disease risk analysis and health surveillance for interventions, for the conservation of rare native species within Natural England’s Species Recovery Programme. The scheme is a partnership between the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) and Natural England (NE) and is funded by both organizations. Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance for Interventions and The Species Recovery Programme Garden Wildlife Health Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) that aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to, British wildlife. Garden Wildlife Health aims to monitor trends and investigate emerging threats to garden wildlife health, raise public awareness of disease threats to garden wildlife, promote best practice for activities that involve garden wildlife to help safeguard their health, communicate outcomes to the public, scientific communities and government agencies to prioritise actions to enhance the environment and biodiversity, public and domestic animal health and to provide a database and wildlife tissue archive for collaborative research. GWH is funded by the Animal Plant & Health Agency’s (APHA) Diseases of Wildlife Scheme which receives funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) through the Scanning Surveillance Programme. GWH also receives funding from Defra’s Strategic Evidence Fund, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. GWH appeals to members of the public to report sightings of sick or dead garden birds, amphibians, reptiles or hedgehogs to the project via the website, telephone: +44 (0) 207 449 6685 National Fish Tissue Archive Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Lancaster Environment Centre are working with the Environment Agency to develop a National Fish Tissue Archive for the UK. The main purpose of the archive is to enable chemical contamination in rivers to be assessed. Our ability to assess what is happening in the environment is often hampered by a lack of information about past conditions. Storing samples for the future allows today's samples to be analysed in the context of tomorrow's methods and questions. This will enable us to determine temporal and spatial trends. Poster: Archiving wild freshwater fish for retrospective pollution monitoring Why fish? Fish integrate what is present in the water/food web. This is potentially more revealing than occasional water samples. Uptake is a prerequisite for potential effects on wildlife. The concentration of a chemical in tissue is a more meaningful measure of exposure than water concentration. The Environment Agency already catches fish in order to monitor their number species and size at many river sites on an annual basis. The Agency is therefore an ideal partner. Why rivers? Many of the chemicals that we use on a daily basis are discharged into rivers (via sewage works). The size of our rivers is relatively small by international comparison, and the density of our population is high – giving little dilution per head of population. How does it operate? Fish collected in the field by the Environment Agency are frozen on site. They are homogenized in their frozen state and divided into sub-samples back in the laboratory. Some sub-samples are analysed immediately, but most are stored long term at -80°C as a resource for retrospective monitoring. The chemical results, together with other relevant information, are stored in a database, which is to be made available via the internet. Fish are collected in the field and frozen on site. Details are recorded on the National Fish Tissue Archive record sheet Contact Monika Juergens Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) is a national surveillance scheme that quantifies the exposure of sentinel predatory bird species to pollutants, pesticides and biocides of current and emerging concern. The Scheme is run by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and is currently funded jointly by the Natural Environment Research Council (through UKCEH’s National Capability programme), Defra, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU). Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Lipophilic monitoring network Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Lipophilic monitoring network is a national monitoring scheme for the environmental assessment of lipophilic substances in Scotland using brown trout (Salmo trutta), freshwater eel (Anguilla anguilla) and sediment in compliance with the Water Framework Directive. Scottish Raptor Health Study The Scottish Raptor Health Study is a Scottish surveillance scheme assessing the health of Scottish raptors and using them as indicators of ecosystem health. The project performs post mortem examinations on all Scottish raptor birds submitted to look at factors contributing to their death and examines live raptor chicks for health assessment. Samples originating from these two sources undergo bacteriology, parasitology, virology and toxicology testing. The scheme has been set up as part of a PhD project and is supervised by Professor Anna Meredith and Dr. Neil Anderson at the University of Edinburgh, and by Professor Des Thompson and Andrew Stevenson at SNH, with support from Professor Miguel Ferrer at the Spanish National Research Council. The study is funded through a NERC CASE Studentship based at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, and supported by SNH and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA). The scheme collaborators include SRUC, PBMS and UHI. UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) has been running since 1990 and is funded by Defra and the Devolved Government of Wales. We coordinate the investigation of all whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), marine turtles and basking sharks that strand around the coastline of England and Wales. As well as documenting each individual stranding, we also retrieve a proportion for investigation at post-mortem to allow us to establish a cause of death. The data and samples collected during the course of our research have also facilitated a large number of international collaborations, which have addressed a wide range of scientific questions. CSIP Partner organisations are Zoological Society of London (Institute of Zoology), the Natural History Museum, Marine Environmental Monitoring, Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network and Cornwall Marine Pathology Team. Contaminant analyses on UK stranded marine mammals examined by the CSIP are conducted by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. Why do we need a strandings network? Unfortunately, cetaceans regularly strand around the coast and information received on stranded animals can provide an accurate picture of what species are found in UK waters and show local and seasonal distribution. Strandings that undergo post-mortem examination provide us with valuable information on causes of death, disease, contaminants, reproductive patterns, diet and also useful pointers to the general health of the populations living in the seas around our coasts. This provides useful baseline data to help detect outbreaks of disease or unusual increases in mortality. The CSIP depends on the publics help in the reporting of strandings around the UK – please visit us for more information on how to report a stranding. Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) investigates wildlife deaths in England and Wales where there is evidence that pesticide poisoning may be involved. WIIS monitors pesticide use after approval, so that product approvals can be revised if necessary, and provides a measure of the success of the pesticide registration process. Evidence from WIIS can also be used to enforce legislation on the use of pesticides and the protection of humans, food, the environment and animals. WIIS is funded via the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of HSE and Welsh Government. The Wildlife Incident Unit at Fera Science Ltd conducts the toxicology investigations for WIIS and interprets the significance of residues detected. Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) - Scotland The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme - Scotland is the companion Scottish scheme run by SASA, a Division of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Delivery Directorate. Incidents of suspected poisoning of animals by pesticides in Scotland are investigated. The aim of the scheme is to identify any adverse effects on non-target animals that might arise from the approved use of pesticides. If the data gathered by the scheme, and sister schemes throughout the UK, indicate a particular problem, then the registration status of the pesticide concerned is subject to review by the UK regulatory body. The data are also used in the validation and improvement of risk assessments for existing and new compounds. In cases where there is evidence to indicate either the misuse or the deliberate abuse of pesticides, the results of investigations may also be used in the enforcement of legislation affording protection to animals. Wildlife Management staff undertake WIIS field investigations involving the suspected illegal use of fumigation products, and provide advice to statutory authorities, such as the Police, on the legalities of traps and snares.