Bacterial and fungal representation and interactions in a former degraded upland peatland vegetation mosaic undergoing restoration

Peatlands are under threat from land management, anthropogenic pollution and climate change. These factors are implicated in severe degradation of ombrotrophic peatlands in the Southern Pennines of northern England. Significant areas of unconsolidated bare peat are both highly vulnerable to peat erosion and resistant to natural re-vegetation. Restoration efforts during …

What shall we do today?

As a biologist, I regard teaching and learning as innate natural abilities, so I question the value of pedagogical tinkering. Should I engage deeply with the latest teaching and learning research, or should I reject it and rely on instincts, which have been through millions of years of evolutionary testing? Forget the rules, and learn from …

Off road driving

Royal Geographical Society Expedition Course delivered by Land Rover Experience at Eastnor over two days. Topics covered included: Off-road driving techniques using Land Rover products Introduction to four wheel drive vehicles Land Rover technology Vehicle and equipment preparation Risk assessment Care for the environment Handling obstacles Introductory off-road driving techniques including steep ascents, steep …

Bacterial and fungal communities in a degraded ombrotrophic peatland undergoing natural and managed re-vegetation

The UK hosts 15-19% of global upland ombrotrophic (rain fed) peatlands that are estimated to store 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon and represent a critical upland habitat with regard to biodiversity and ecosystem services provision. Net production is dependent on an imbalance between growth of peat-forming Sphagnum mosses and microbial …

Educational value of fieldwork

Some of my school peers selected Geography A-level at least in part because of the fieldwork opportunities, and they selected university courses on the same criteria, seeking courses with the best holiday opportunities. What can be done to ensure that fieldwork is highly educational for all participants, including those lacking motivation to learn? I …

Enough is enough

I recently gave three research presentations on a broadly similar topic, and to different audiences. As I reflected on each presentation I identified two main concerns that are intrinsically linked: How much to present Keeping to time I wanted to use my experience and the literature to improve these aspects of …

Organised reflection

Keeping a reflective record of teaching activities can help improve practice over time (e.g. Finlay 2008). I previously found this to be of marginal value partly because I have rarely gone back to read my old reflections. One reason for this is not knowing how and where to store the notes, and not remembering how …

Long-term effects of air pollution on microbial communities of moorland peat

Upland peatlands receive the majority of their ecosystem inputs through precipitation, which delivers not only moisture but also atmospheric gases and particulates. Pristine peatlands are characterised by nutrient limitation, leading to the establishment of oligotrophic organism communities both above- and below-ground. Sphagnum mosses in particular thrive, and their presence promotes …