Research: The Ythan Estuary
The Ythan estuary lies 20 Km north of Aberdeen. This tranquil inlet, with its sandy shores, mudflats and mussel beds, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the Forvie National Nature Reserve, an area rich in aquatic and terrestrial life, diverse land forms, and archaelogical sites dating back to the Neolithic. Nine thousand years ago, the Ythan must have been a truly impressive river, carrying the tumbling glacial melt-waters from the Scottish Highlands, south towards the Rhine. Eventually, however, the post-glacial rise in sea-levels truncated the river to form the present estuary, which is now one of the smallest in Britain. The estuary is about 8 Km in length, with an average width of 300m and even at its widest it is only 600m accross. Partly as a consequence of its small size, the Ythan is arguably the best documented and most fully uderstood estuary in the British Isles. Within its narrow confines it has been possible to carry out intensive studies at all levels of biological organisation, from the single species to the ecosystem, an undertaking that would be unthinkable for our larger estuaries, such as the Thames or the Firth of Forth.
We are compiling a database of references on any scientific activity that has been published re the Ythan, irrespective of subject area. We are restricting this database to peer reviewed scientific papers and MSc/PhD theses. Additional references should be sent to Owen McPherson marked with the subject header "Ythan references".
Dave Raffaelli worked on the Ythan and its natural history for over 20 years, from the University of Aberdeen's Culterty Field Station at Newburgh. Over that time he has gleaned a great deal of information from both academic sources and local residents alike, which have helped to place the present ecology of the estuary in an historical settling. This article contains extracts from a book in preparation by the same title. In February 2001, Dave moved to the Environment Department, University of York. View the Article.
Report on the archaeology of the Sands of Forvie by University College Dublin. (Broken link now updated 2 Dec 2005)
A History of Forvie Sands Dr Sylvia Landsberg, University of Aberdeen
A data logger was deployed in the estuary in December 2004 which records the water temperature every 30 minutes. Water samples have also been taken on a weekly basis in order to monitor the nutrient content and salinity.