I’ve been neglecting my blog again, tsh! There has been lots of exciting news in my life lately, but this has also accompanied by stress, and with so much on my mind I have not had the will to write.
Firstly I had the fantastic news that I was offered a place on the PhD I was interviewed for as the first choice candidate declined in favour of another offer. I accepted with little hesitation! The project title is Statistical modelling of how soil biodiversity and ecosystem function respond to human impacts in UK ecosystems, hosted at the Imperial College London Grantham Institute for Climate Change and working with the research groups PREDICTS and Soil Biodiversity Group at the Natural History Museum. This will use the huge unpublished datasets from the SBG to model how soil invertebrates respond to human impacts including climate change but there will be also be opportunities to collect new data – which will hopefully include some soil diptera larvae studies!
Secondly I accepted a job offer at Reading University which I began nearly a month ago. This is working as a field assistant at CAER with PhD student Chloe Hardman. She is researching biodiversity on farms using different agro-environment schemes, were farmers are paid for various activities which are supposed to increase biodiversity. Specifically I am helping with research on pollen and nectar sources on farms (i.e. flowers!) and pollinators. This involves fieldwork walking transects in different habitats across 12 farms in Southern England, recording bees, hoverflies and plants. It is wonderful to be making a living doing fieldwork identification skills after years of working inside an office! Together with my PhD offer I still can’t quite believe how well my academic life is going at the moment, and keep thinking I will wake up from a dream!
My working conditions have improved greatly!
This Wednesday was my MSc graduation ceremony, I felt a little decadent going to another after my BSc one but the venue was the Royal Albert Hall in London so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go there. My parents attended too so we decided to make a day of it, using the complimentary tickets I receive from volunteering at the Natural History Museum to visit the butterfly exhibition. It was fortuitous that the same day Paul was giving a Nature Live talk on the NERC BESS earthworm project which I have been volunteering on, which I dragged my parents along to see. Today I finished ‘my’ half of the samples and just in time as I will soon be returning to my MSc study site on the Isle of Wight to carry out more research there.
It’s going to be busy summer (indeed a busy four years are ahead!)