What does the work involve?
The student placement for the Environmental Change Network involves working with the ECN Moor House Scientific Officer. ECN carries out a variety of physical, chemical and biological measurements. The main part of routine sampling involves mostly physical measurements. This includes meteorological recording (both manual and automatic). In addition to this weekly water samples are collected. These are analysed for pH and conductivity by ECN and are then sent to the Chemistry section for analysis of a number of determinands including nutrients and metals. The majority of the biological monitoring takes place during the summer months and includes ground predators, rabbits, bats and butterflies.
The field site is visited at least one day each week, usually a Wednesday. Routine lab work is shared with the ECN Moor House Scientific Officer. This leaves whole days available for project work. Other tasks may include analysis of aerial photos, data input and project work using graphical and statistical computer packages.
In addition to this, fieldwork is also undertaken on Great Dun Fell (GDF). GDF is the second highest mountain in the Pennine chain and is covered by the National Nature Reserve. Fortunately there is a road to the radar station on the summit! Fieldwork at GDF includes collection of AWS (Automatic Weather Station) and Bat logger data.
During the summer the number of days in the field increases as the number of core measurements increases. At busy times, for example after working late monitoring bats, it may be necessary to stay at the pub in the village of Garrigill. Summer work includes vegetation plot marking.
In winter there is more time to input data collected onto computer as well as carry out a student report on an ECN related topic. Sometimes you may need to walk into the field site if snow is blocking the road!
Adapted from text originally written by Jo Robinson, Moor House placement student 1997/8.