Ah the Christmas and New Year break – the season for writing guilt…
After two poster presentations last week, this week’s #throwbackthursday is a timely look back at the first event I presented at, back in November 2013.
I’ve attended two conferences this week, with different audiences and it’s been tiring! On Tuesday I was the Wildlife Gardening Forum Conference held at the Natural History Museum where I presented a poster on my forthcoming Citizen Science project Earthworm Watch. This conference was a celebration of 10 years of the Wildlife Gardening Forum, a charity for people and organisations interested in wildlife gardening. The next day I was off to Reading University presenting the same poster at the Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life event held by the Soil Research Centre. This event consisted of talks, networking and workshops on the theme of healthy soils – including how we define healthy soils and what indicators we can use.
The day after the PREDICTS Symposium it was the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) DTP Conference 2015, in the same venue at the Natural History Museum! I got up early to help set up at the Museum and welcome delegates. This Conference was for members of the DTP and showcased our work with talks, a three minute thesis competition and poster session. The three minute thesis competition was a challenge to explain our theses to the audience in just three minutes using one static slide with a prize for the audience and judges’ favourite.
Check the Grantham Institute’s Storify for more Tweets from the event: SSCP DTP Conference
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!
Another conference, another poster! This time I was presenting at the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS, or affectionately ‘B cubed’) held at the University of York on the 7th and 8th April. BSSS holds a conference biannually for aimed at students and early post-docs studying soil sciences. In addition to poster sessions and talks there were sessions on tailoring your CV to a career outside of academia, applying for fellowships and publishing. It was also a really good opportunity to meet other students and network. Check out my Storify collating tweets from the conference below.View the story “British Society of Soil Science Early Careers Researcher Conference 2015” on Storify
Having a PhD funded by NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) means that I have priority booking on advanced training courses related to their remit of environmental research. I was fortunate enough to find a place on Dirt Science: An Introduction to Soil System Science held at Cranfield University collaboration the British Society of Soil Science and the James Hutton Institute.
My background is in soil biodiversity rather than soil itself so I was pleased to be able to attend the course to learn more about soil functions and how to excavate a soil profile and describe the different layers.
The Natural History Museum organises a field trip in Dorset for its postgraduates each year, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out of London and spend a weekend in the countryside. A group of PhD students and post-docs from a variety of disciplines set of to the Old Malthouse on the Isle of Purbeck (which is not a proper island but a sticky out bit of the southern coastline of Britain).
After settling in at our accommodation and being fed a good lunch we set off to Hartland Moor National Nature Reserve with Museum botanist Fred Rumsey. We were introduced to the plants that inhabit the Moor, and I was particularly excited to meet Dorset Heath Erica ciliaris, a type of heather, which I had not seen before.
This comic from Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD Comics) about sums up my last two days!
I’ve been writing emails following up contacts made at the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative Conference I attended back in December. Additionally I will soon start to customise the standard email that my research group (PREDICTS) uses to request data from researchers.
I find writing emails really stressful, worrying over every word, and whether I will be misunderstood, which I know is silly because the recipient is unlikely to read it in such detail. It’s good to know I’m not alone, thanks PhD Comics!
A perk of having a NERC funded studentship is priority attendance on the NERC Advanced training courses, and I was fortunate to gain a place on the Systematic review and meta-analysis for environmental sciences held at Royal Holloway University. Meta-analysis is a statistical technique used to combine results from different studies to identify patterns among studies, the strength of this is a higher statistical power is achieved than that of a single study. It was originally developed in medicine to gauge the effectiveness of treatments but is increasingly being applied to ecology.
We started off with lectures on the different types of reviews and an introduction to meta-analysis.