Sands of Time Title
This site provides detailed information on the sand dunes of the Sefton coast in North West England
Home Page
Coastal Change
A History
  Physical Forces
Growth & Erosion
Future Change
Managing Change
Primary Succession
Model of Succession
The Strand Line
Embryo Dunes
Mobile Dunes
Blow Outs
Semi-fixed Dunes
Fixed Dunes
Dune Slacks
Dune Heath
Scrub
Woodland
Vegetation/Soil Data
Studying Succession
Pine Plantations
Project Objectives
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Related Links
Quadrat and Soil Data from the Sefton Coast

Figures are percentage cover in 2 metre X 2 metre quadrats. Note that totals may equal more than 100% because of overlapping layers of leaves in the vegetation. Soil data:

  • pH was measured with a pH meter using a 2.5:1 part solution of distilled water: soil. Colour was recorded by matching dry soil to the nearest colour on the chart as below. Loss on ignition gives an indication of the amount of organic matter. The dry soil was ignited at 450C for 4 hours and the weight difference before and after burning was used to calculate the percentage.
  • Calcium carbonate was estimated by observing the reaction of dilute hydrochloric acid dropped onto a sample of dry soil.
 
SAND DUNE SOIL COLOUR CHART
       
  1.     Pale yellowish brown
       
  2.     Light greyish brown
       
  3.     Dark greyish brown
       
  4.     Brown
       
  5.     Dark brown
       
Key to quadrat numbers:

1. Embryo dune
2. Mobile dune
3. Mobile dune
4. Semi-fixed dunes
5. Fixed dune grassland
6. Old fixed dune
7. Scrub
8. Dune heath
9. Pine woodland
Method for the Determination of Organic Matter Content in Soils
 
This simple methodology can be used if there is no access to a laboratory furnace.
1. Take a sample of dry soil and grind it roughly in a pestle and mortar.
2. Weigh a crucible and note the weight
3. Place a known weight sample of dry, ground soil in the pre-weighed crucible

4. Heat the soil sample in the crucible to red heat over the a Bunsen flame for 15 minutes.After 15 minutes the soil should of lost its dark colour and become a red-brown colour. This occurs due to the loss organic matter during the ignition process.

5. Allow the crucible to cool for 10 minutes and then wipe off any carbon deposits from the underneath of the crucible.
6. Re-weigh the burnt soil. Subtract the known weight of the crucible. From this value you should be able to calculate the loss on ignition, which is equivalent to the weight of organic material in each soil sample.
Quadrat Data
Species/bare sand Quadrat number
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Bare sand 80 30 30 8          

Sea couch
Elytrigia juncea

20                
Marram
Ammophila arenaria
  70 50 20 5 5      
Red Fescue
Festuca rubra
    5 40 55 40      
Sea Spurge
Euphorbia paralias
    5            
Long-rooted Cats-ear
Hypochaeris radicata
    5 5          
Sea Holly
Eryngium maritimum
    5            
Rest harrow
Ononis repens
      20 3 6      
Moss
Tortula ruraliformis
      5 5        
Moss
Hypnum cupressiforme
      5 2       95
Sand Sedge
Carex arenaria
      5 4     4 2
Bird's Foot Trefoil
Lotus corniculatus
      5 5        
Sand Cat's Tail
Phleum aenarium
      2          
Sea mouse-ear
Cerastium diffusum
      2          
Creeping Willow
Salix repens
      4 7 20 20    
Thyme
Thymus polytrichus
        8        
Ladies bedstraw
Galium verum
        10        
Daisy
Bellis perennis
        4        
Eyebright
Euphrasia nemorosa
        5        
Harebell
Campanula rotundifolia
        4        
Meadow grass
Poa pratensis
        8        
Moss
Homalothecium lutescens
        4        
Yarrow
Achillea millefolium
        2        
Bulbous buttercup
Ranunculus bulbosus
        2        
White clover
Trifolium repens
          5      
Ribwort plantain
Plantago lanceolata
        2        
False oats
Arrhenatherum elatius
          10 10    
Dewberry
Rubus caesius
          15      
Sea buckthorn
Hippophae rhamnoides
            80    
Nettle
Urtica dioica
            5    
Bramble
Rubus fruticosus
            5    
Common heather
Calluna vulgaris
              90  
Corsica pine
Pinus nigra
                100
                   
Distance from top of beach - metres 20 80 170 250 500 650 410 1890 980
Surface soil pH 8.1 7.7 7.6 7.1 6.0 6.2 5.9 4.1 4.5
Colour of surface soil 2 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 5
Calcium carbonate - % 8 8 5 1 0.5 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Loss on ignition 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.9 2.8 6.4 25.1 23.4 32.8

 

For more information about this project email dunes@hope.ac.uk at Liverpool Hope University.
  Go to the site of Liverpool Hope University    

Liverpool Hope University worked with English Nature and the
Sefton Coast Partnership to implement the Sands of Time project.