One of the research groups I am connected too – Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS) has just come to the end of its first three years. To mark the occasion a one day symposium was held at the Natural History Museum with talks on overviews of what the project has achieved, the latest results, and a look ahead. I was invited to do a 15 minute talk on my PhD work researching human effects on soil biodiversity which use the PREDICTS framework. The Symposium was webcast live on YouTube and attended by many PREDICTS researchers past and present so I was rather anxious!
This Throwback Thursday is from my trip to Scotland with the Dipterists Forum in September 2013, a wonderful week in the highlands collecting flies which I wrote up as a guest post for the Natural History Museum Curator of Diptera’s Blog.
Between handing in my MSc thesis and my viva voce, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join Dipterists from the Natural History Museum on a collection trip to Scotland as part of the Dipterists Forum Autumn Field Meeting. Despite the daunting prospect of a long journey and sharing a cottage with people I barely knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an intensive week studying flies which was also my first trip across the border.
HELLO ALL!!!!!!!! Hope everyone’s having a fantastic summer 🙂
The blog’s been a bit quiet for the past couple of months (actually silent). So far the holidays haven’t been a chance to relax, but overall they’ve been pretty good fun.
The last two weeks of term after exams were finished were filled with plans with my friends for pure fun, but in reality were filled with evil estate agents and looking at house after house (if we didn’t find anywhere we planned to camp out in the basement of Charing Cross Hospital with the vampire who lives there – long story…) We eventually found a house – really close to Charing Cross campus, which is where a lot of our 2nd year teaching will be.
This week’s Throwback Thursday is about the cabbage white butterflies I had on my London balcony back in August 2013 while I was studying for my MSc. This also formed the basis of an article in the Amateur Entomologist’s Society Bug Club Magazine.
It is true you do not have to go far to see wildlife, even in the midst of a big city. Invertebrate scholars are particularly fortunate in this regard as insects, arachnids etc. really are everywhere, in your home and even on you. Here in my student room in Earls Court, London I have a little balcony which I have used to grow salad and tomatoes.
This week’s Throwback Thursday covers a course on hoverfly identification I attended in August 2013 as part of a qualification in Biological Recording and Species Identification.
Last week I went down to London with my mum and sister to continue searching for flats for next year. My other two housemates are in Japan and Southampton at the moment so the responsibility fell to me!
It’s hard to find a place around Imperial campus close enough to walk, which is what we really wanted, having lived further out in first year and not enjoyed the experience of getting the bus everyday through London traffic (especially early in the morning or on Friday night). Obviously most of the closest areas to Imperial (South Kensington and Chelsea for example) are far too expensive for us to find anywhere suitable, so we ended up looking around Earls Court, Fulham and West Kensington.
I enjoy music, but until now had never been to a music festival, all those crowds of people, loud noise and camping was not something I thought I could cope with. However I was aware from talking to my colleagues at the University of Reading last year that festivals are not just about music, and often have stands and science activities run by universities and other institutions. This felt like something I would enjoy so I put it on my mental list of ‘things to do while studying for a PhD’. I was very excited to see a call from the Royal Society of Biology and British Ecological Society for volunteers to help run ecology themed activities and bioblitz (an event where you try to identify as many species as possible) at Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging over the last few weeks as I have been busy writing and submitting my early stage assessment – a report of what I have done so far in my PhD and what I plan to do next. This will be followed up with a short viva from my panel – eek! So it was good to get a day out doing outreach at Imperial College Silwood Park a few days after submitting. Silwood Park is Imperial’s postgraduate campus near Ascot, Berkshire, with research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation. One of my supervisors is based there, so I occasionally visit for meetings and eventually will be going there to extract and analyse microbial DNA from my soil samples.
The scene is set: you’re stood in front of the entrance to a cave. Visibility is non-existent past the few metres in front of you. Suddenly, you hear footsteps. The footsteps slowly turn into a dishevelled figure and soon enough you’re met by this haggard stranger. He brushes his wild hair out of his face and as your eyes meet his, it strikes you that you know this person. But who is it?
Wait a second.
Yeah, that’s right. It’s-a me! It’s been so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if all of you thought my exams had completely annihilated me.
Since the end of term I have looked round at least half of London’s flats and houses. Things are a bit trickier this year as one of our housemates is an international student who doesn’t have a UK guarantor (someone who can sign a form to say they will pay her rent if she doesn’t). This is a real problem, especially with visas running out and houses in London costing all the money.
We did find one house that only required a guarantor for three out of the four of us, which sounded good until the estate agent lightly explained to us students, that we needed to show savings of £30000 each.