I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging over the last few weeks as I have been busy writing and submitting my early stage assessment – a report of what I have done so far in my PhD and what I plan to do next. This will be followed up with a short viva from my panel – eek! So it was good to get a day out doing outreach at Imperial College Silwood Park a few days after submitting. Silwood Park is Imperial’s postgraduate campus near Ascot, Berkshire, with research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation. One of my supervisors is based there, so I occasionally visit for meetings and eventually will be going there to extract and analyse microbial DNA from my soil samples.
This time I was visiting for the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment (GCEE) Bugs! event which brought together Imperial College researchers and local wildlife groups for a day off engaging visitors in research, bug hunts and pond dipping. I was exhibiting some of the invertebrates that can be found in leaf litter, encouraging people to sieve them from the leaves and examine them under the microscope.
Other stands had activities to extract DNA from strawberries, examine aphids and their predators and parasites and fossil insects. I had a really enjoyable day finished off with a BBQ. More information and photographs from the day can be found on the Bugs! website.