The Coastal and Estuarine Research Unit in UCL Department of Geography has been researching environmental change on the west Donegal coast for several years. Dr Helene Burningham undertook a broad geomorphic analysis of the west Donegal estuaries and their associated dune, marsh and beach systems in her PhD, awarded in 2000. Since then, she has continued to research environmental change in west Donegal covering themes in morphological change, plant communities and biodiversity, dune evolution and archaeology, and supervises MSc and PhD research projects based in and around Sheskinmore.

We have undertaken several high resolution topographic surveys of the dune and wetlands, and have extensively mapped plant species presence and abundance. We have spent time sampling and analysing sediments from the machair and wetlands to explore the sedimentary evolution of the site, and Dr Claire Barrett-Mold completed a PhD (2013) on Morphostratigraphy of marginal coastal environments focusing on the stratigraphies of the Sandfield and Derryness sandy plains. More recently, we have been monitoring water levels across the Sheskinmore site and installed a weather station at McGlincheys Field Centre (in June 2012) to support the research of Dr Elizabeth Gardner for her PhD (2016) on the Hydrogeomorphology and ecology in a sedimentary coastal lake and wetland system. PhD research at Sheskinmore continues with Sara Varandas Martins who is researching the ecohydrology of temporary ponds; we are sustaining an impressive hydrological monitoring programme across the dune ponds of Magheramore and have undertaken a suite of ecological surveys (plants and zooplankton) alongside sediment and water chemistry analyses and geomorphological mapping.

Dissertations arising from work undertaken in west Donegal are accessible through the links below. And if you have any questions about the research we are conducting at Sheskinmore and the surrounding area, or if you are interested in joining the research team, please contact Helene.

Dissertations covering west Donegal

Barrett-Mold C 2007. The influence of morphological evolution on coastal dune plant species composition and succession.

Bolles K 2012. Post-­emplacement coastal dune blowout development and re-­colonisation.

Caine J 2010. Evaluating Natura 2000; a Case Study of Sheskinmore Lough SPA in Ireland.

Goodrich S 2013. The extent and cause of ‘unwelcome species’ on the sand dunes of Sheskinmore Lough SPA, northwest Ireland.

Greatorex Z 2010. The impact of grazing on the saltmarshes of North West Ireland and its implications for wider biodiversity.

Kempson R 2010. Dune heath habitats of northwest Ireland.

Maher-McWilliams 2013. Geomorphic and Hydrological Mapping of Sheskinmore Lough and Wetland, Co. Donegal, Ireland.