After what feels like ages (actually, 5 months is quite a long time!) I have finished my fieldwork, hurrah! I sampled soil and leaf-litter invertebrates, and microbes, in total of 38 sites in 6 different land-use types (deciduous forest, coniferous forest, heathland, pasture, cropland and urban areas) with the aim to compare how species differ between them.
The majority of invertebrates hibernate during the winter, since they do not produce their own body heat like mammals and birds it is too cold for them to be active. However, 10cm under the ground the soil is often a few degrees warmer than the air and many soil animals are still active, including earthworm, so I am still busy out in the cold and rain digging them up for my PhD research – I recently found 16 earthworms from a 20 cm x 20 cm soil pit at a farm where the soil temperature was 4°C!Frosty but sunny day for earthworm sampling
When temperatures fall below 0°C and water in the soil freezes many earthworms simply burrow into deeper layers where they can survive but earthworms which live on the surface instead rely on chemical defences to tolerate cold temperatures.
If a scientist does research and doesn’t tell anyone about it, have they done research at all?
Communicating results of our research to other scientists is essential, it allows others to critique it and make recommendations, build on our work and make decisions about how to manage issues based on the results.
For the last couple of months I have been doing fieldwork in the New Forest – a National Park in my home county of Hampshire. The New Forest was previously sampled by the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group during the New Forest Qualitative Inventory in 2010 and I have been revisiting some of the sites and also new ones. The aim of my sampling is to collect soil and leaf litter invertebrates, and soil cores for microbial analysis in six different land uses which correspond to those used in the PREDICTS project: mature secondary vegetation, immature secondary vegetation (heathland), plantation forest, grassland, cropland and urban areas.
This final #throwbackthursday looks back to the interview and application process for my PhD, I can hardly believe that is was two years ago and I am now a third year! #gulp
Science Uncovered is part of European Researchers’ Night, and is a free annual festival of science held at various institutions across the UK giving the public the opportunity to discover rare items from the Museum collections, meet experts and take part in interactive science stations, debates and behind-the-scenes tours.
Today I look back at my volunteer work sorting leaf litter samples with the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group.
This week’s #throwbackthursday looks back at fieldwork as part of the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group NVC project.