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 …

Soil microbes of the Kalahari and the Pennines

Soil is a non-renewable resource which sustains life and delivers countless beneficial ecosystem services that we need and take for granted. The microbial diversity of soil dwarfs above-ground plant diversity, but is intimately linked with it. Whilst macroscopic ecology is a well-developed discipline that supports our efforts to manage and …