The Cyril Diver Project and Studland

Cyril Diver (second from left) and friends at Studland in the 1930s © National Trust

Cyril Diver (second from left) and friends at Studland in the 1930s

Eighty years after Captain Cyril Diver’s ground-breaking ecological surveys, we are building a team of volunteers and experts to make a new record of the Studland ecosystem. The Cyril Diver Project is inspired by this great unsung pioneer of science and gives ordinary people the chance to take part in a nationally important ecology project.

As a young soldier in the First World War, Captain Cyril Diver found relief from the horror by examining patterns on the shells of snails that shared his trench. So began a lifelong passion.

After the war he joined the Civil Service but spent summers surveying the plants and animals of Dorset’s Studland Peninsula in unprecedented detail.

In doing so he helped change the way we understand nature by revealing the complex web of relationships between species that make up the ecosystem of Studland.

Rich ecology

Diver was also responsible for alerting the scientific community to Studland’s ecological riches, and today much of the peninsula is looked after by the National Trust as a nature reserve.

His status was recognised in 1949 when Diver became the first Director-General of Nature Conservancy, the predecessor of Natural England. He died in 1969.

The project

Now it’s your turn. We're building a team of volunteers and experts to make a new record of the Studland ecosystem. By comparing the new data with Diver’s records we can ensure the peninsula is properly cared for.

The project will also conserve the notes and specimen collections Diver left behind, and make them available for future generations.

For more information and details on how you can get involved, visit the Cyril Diver Project page on Facebook.