WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) is a conservation charity that aims to sustainably manage and protect wetlands and species associated with this particualar type of habitat, as well as educate people about the importance of wetland environment. The charity runs 9 nature reserves across the country and one of them is located in west London. What I like about LWC (London Wetland Centre) is the fact that there is such a nice nature reserve in this big city and also that WWT fantastically combines their scientific mission with being very open to the public.
First day of my internship at (LWC) started with a short induction. I have already been introduced to the main bits during my last visit here when I met my supervisor to discuss the Charity Insights application, so the induction was pretty straightforward and I could move on to the implementation of the plan of my internship. My project is basically an ecological research, which aims to determine the structure of ladybird community at LWC and investigate the competition between invasive harlequin ladybird and native ladybird species. It will help WWT with keeping record of the biodiversity at LWC.
I started with doing preliminary observation – I was walking around LWC and carefully examining the vegetation in terms of presence and absence of ladybirds. I was marking on the map sites where I spotted ladybirds and I will return to these sits later on to do the quantitative sampling for my project. Spending the whole day in the wetland area gave me the feeling of the atmosphere at LWC. It is quite a busy place, there are a lot of school trips, families with small kids and older people – everyone coming there to enjoy the wildlife.
After completing preliminary observation, which gave me a good idea of the habitat that I will be studying, I was sat in the office to design the methods for my research. It is an interesting experience, as I have never worked in the office before, so it is a completely new working environment for me.
I think the beginning is the most difficult stage of my project – deciding on the right procedure to collect the precise, accurate and useful data that will allow me to answer the research question and then first day of sampling, when I have to implement the procedure that I wrote down and discussed with the supervisor into practice. But I am really looking forward to collecting the data. I want to see if my hypotheses are true and I am going to spend the next week outside in this beautiful place. I hope the weather will be good!