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Pictures from the Biodiversity Study on Freeman's Marsh


Tagging Research Main page

A 'tag' is anything that can be used to identify an object or organism from similar objects or organisms and or provide additional information. Tags used commonly in everyday life include price tags, which usually contain both the name of the product and the price. Here the product name helps you identify the product and the price provides additional information about the product. It is often the price that is most useful to the shopper and similarly the additional information the most useful to the researcher.

Other kinds of tags include ISBN numbers of books and number-plates of cars. Both sequences of characters help identify the objects from similar objects and can indeed provide additional information when researched.

However, there is a difference. The number-plate of a car is unique to that car and, providing there are no identity thieves, is the only car with that number-plate worldwide. Therefore this specific car can be recognised from all the other cars in the world, were they lined up in a row.

An ISBN number, however, is only specific to a particular type of book. All the copies of 'Collins Road Atlas 2010' will have the same ISBN number so whilst this book can be identified from all other types of book it can not be identified from a stack of its fellow Atlases.

There is therefore a distinction in the types of tagging available. Tags are either specific to an individual or specific to a group of individuals. In most cases it is more useful to be able to identify a specific individual rather than a group but due to the types of tags available, tags which identify an individual as part of a group, such as the ISBN number, are very common.

For small animals, the tags have to be so small it can be nearly impossible to produce tags that will identify a particular individual as the organisms are very small and it is hard to make tags detectably different at this size level. Therefore the group tags are more popular.

To see the research of the different kind of small animal tags available alongside an initial assessment of how effective they are, open the following document:

Small Animal Tags and Markers

To see a list of some of the tags on the market appropriate for small animals see the document below:

Small Animal Tag Products



Another aspect of tagging is the actual information they provide about animal behaviour and populations. This information can be used to help conservation efforts succeed and provide information on biodiversity of the surrounding areas. Identifying these areas which are home to a wide variety of species is important so they can be protected from development and pollution. This is because many animals and plants have the potential to produce many medicines and cosmetic products. The extinction of some of these species may mean these opportunities are being lost and may affect our descendents.

Our Researcher, George Mayes, has recently carried out a biodiversity study on an area of marshland (Freeman's Marsh, Hungerford, Berks) that is home to both a wide variety of plants and animals. The study involves an investigation into plant biodiversity and distribution as a result of human impact. As the area is a real haven for a huge variety of insects and other invertebrates, which are dependent on certain plants for their survival, this project provides information which may be useful for tagging projects in the future.

It should be noted that whilst insects were not directly studied in this project, it was observed that insects are much more varied and numerous in areas of thick vegetation which tend to be areas with medium to high levels of biodiversity. Therefore it is likely that insect biodiversity and plant biodiversity are linked in the area although this is only a hypothesis and would need to be proven by another study.

To view the project report click on the link below:

Biodiversity Study of Freeman's Marsh Hungerford

Our Researcher in action!