For many British Dragonflies, we still do not fully understand several aspects of their ecology and habitat requirements. The BDS encourages investigations that will address some of these unanswered questions and the results could help to guide conservation and management of dragonfly sites. Members of the BDS have identified possible project ideas that might be of interest to those intending to study dragonflies and which will provide useful information for conservation. These projects will need to be developed by individual students or researchers and are given only as a guide to the kind of projects that might be undertaken. We are also happy for people to design their own projects.
Whilst the BDS is happy to answer individual questions, Society members are not in a position to supervise projects or give detailed advice. Further information about dragonflies is available through our list of dragonfly books and the Journal of the BDS index of scientific papers. All BDS dragonfly distribution data can be viewed on the NBN Gateway website. If you have a particular question about any of these projects please contact the Conservation Officer.
A detailed study of the behaviour of Aeshna isosceles in Stratiotes aloides
An examination of activity throughout the year could help to explain how its larvae and the adults use the plant and to illustrate which of its features (large surface area, vertical seasonal movement etc) are most significant.
Water quality Studies
Although we know that dragonflies require unpolluted, well oxygenated water, little is known accurately about their definite requirements. A literature review is also required to help identify the work that has already taken place.
Species Habitat Requirements
Currently habitat requirements are mostly defined at the qualitative level. Consequently some more objective parameters for particular species would be valuable and help to guide conservation.
Causes of Mortality at Emergence
We know that many dragonflies do not survive emergence and causes of mortality would provide an interesting insight. The use of artificial emergence sites could make the project easier.
An Investigation of the larval habitats of Lestes dryas
This would help to determine the special requirements of this species and whether its choice of often slightly saline sites and sites with wooded cover in the British Isles is a means of avoiding competition with other Odonate species.
Survey of the breeding areas of Gomphus vulgatissimus in silts and gravels of the River Thames
This would help to determine which ones are the most important for the species and so require special treatment by the water authorities.
We know little about how damselflies colonise water bodies and studies would help to provide an insight. It would need to be linked to a mark-release-recapture study.