Birnie Burn - United Kingdom
Parent Site Name
UK ECN site. This ECN freshwater sampling site is a small stream co-located with the James Hutton Institute's terrestrial site at Glensaugh. Glensaugh Research station is located 35 miles south west of Aberdeen, NE Scotland. (NGR NO 671783) on the edge of the Grampian hills and covers over 1100 hectares. There is a small amount of woodland (5ha) and some short term and permanent grassland (150ha) but the dominant cover is semi-natural vegetation which accounts for the remaining area. The Birnie Burn drains a small upland catchment of 0.8 km2 located toward the northern boundary of the research station. The highest hills in the catchment are to the North where they reach an altitude of around 450m. The ECN sampling point and gauging station are located less than 1km south of the stream source at an altitude of 240m a.s.l. The soils and the vegetation within the catchment area can be broadly classified into three zones. The upper zone (>400m a.s.l.) is characterised by hill peats developed on gentle slopes and covered by peat mosses (Sphagnum sp) and cotton grass (Eriophurum vaginatum). The middle zone (350-400m a.s.l.) features freely drained podzols that have developed in thin glacial till on the steeper slopes. The dominant vegetation types in this zone are heather (Calluna vulgaris), blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and wavy hair grass (Deschampsia flexuosa). The lower zone (220-350m a.s.l.) has freely draining iron podzols developed on thin glacial tills on steep heather and blaeberry covered slopes. The hydrology of the Birnie Burn is typical of upland headwaters in general, in that a combination of steep slopes and thin soils allows precipitation to be delivered rapidly to the stream, resulting in quite a flashy run-off regime. The stream channel is narrow (generally less than 1m) during base-flow conditions and depths vary from 10-20cm along some shallow riffled sections reaches to deeper pools of up to 80cm. Note: this site is a single point sampling location on a river. The shape file indicates the Glensaugh site.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Water quality monitoring
Freshwater monitoring of Birnie Burn began in October 2004, but the parent Glensaugh site has been monitored using ECN terrestrial protocols since 1992. Some protocols ceased in 2014, however water quality is still measured. A paired catchment study site, similarly instrumented was established in 2004 and data is available from this site which may be used for experimental manipulations.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information