I am in the middle of my internship at London Wetland Centre. I have finished sampling in the field and now I am moving on to data analysis and writing my report for WWT about ladybirds at LWC. Fieldwork was quite intense, it took 9 consecutive days of sampling, interrupted by the moody weather. Still, on most of the days I managed to sample throughout the whole day, but sometimes I had to stop after 2h due to rain. I must admit that I really enjoyed fieldwork – I was outside all the time and in the very pleasant surroundings, which fully compensated the repetitiveness of the actions that I had to undertake to collect enough data. Also, the working environment at London Wetland Centre is very good. Everyone is really nice and engaged in their work.
The choice of the right method that would enable me to achieve my aim, was occupying me for the first week of my internship. I eventually decided that for this habitat the best method would be so-called tree beating. This means that in order to sample I was holding a beating tray underneath a tree branch while hitting the same branch with a stick for a certain number of times and then examining what species of ladybirds, if any, were captured on the tray. I was also looking at ants and spiders that are natural enemies of ladybirds and at aphids that are ladybirds’ food. As sampling was going along, I noticed some limitations to my method, which I will now have to consider in my report. For the last part of my internship I will focus on analysing collected data. I will look at the proportional abundance of different species in ladybirds community at London Wetland Centre and the effect of the presence of aphids and natural enemies on the abundance and species richness of ladybirds.
While I was doing my fieldwork I got a chance to see how many visitors LWC has every day and what a wide range of activities is offered to them. I understood how important role LWC plays in educating people about wetlands and natural environment in general. They offer plenty of interactive educational tools for kids to learn about the most interesting species inhabiting wetlands, but also to learn about sustainable ways of living and the consequences of people’s irresponsible actions to the environment. My work also generated quite a lot of interest. Many visitors, especially children were intrigued by what I was doing and I had to answer loads of questions.
However, London Wetland Centre is important not only for its educational role, but also for improving the quality of Londoners’ lives. This peaceful area with thriving wildlife provides a great place to rest from the noise of the city. There are many bird watching points and a lot of benches all over the place where you can sit if you are tired of walking and simply enjoy the nature. LWC truly is a wonderful place!