Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Reading team

The weather has not really been in our favour so far and the start into a new field season of pollinator sampling had to be postponed. But as we are waiting for spring to arrive we thought we could introduce the Reading field team in the meantime which consists of Nadine Mitschunas, Peter Harris and Ellen Moss. 

Nadine having a rest during sampling
Nadine is our expert botanist. She hails from the Thuringian Forest in eastern Germany and has been working in research on ecology of native and ornamental plants for many years now. Nadine is also a keen gardener and holds her own allotment which is not only a place for fruit and vegetables but for flowers and wildlife as well. Nadine also has an interest in photography and especially likes to photograph pollinators and flowers.

Peter is an entomologist; his interests are in the community ecology and biodiversity of invertebrate assemblages. Indeed, his PhD examined the invertebrate communities (Spiders, Beetles and Shieldbugs) associated with juniper (Juniperus communis) on Salisbury Plain and the effect which habitat management had on these. As a result of the Urban Pollinator Project, Peter has a growing interest in botany and the way insects utilise plants for food and shelter. 

Peter inspects the net for pollinators

Ellen is our pollinator ecologist. She has spent the last four years working and specialising in pollinator identification, taxonomy and ecology. Ellen`s background is more broad, she studied birds and mammals as a student and worked for a Wildlife Trust and as an entomology curator. This autumn Ellen will be starting a PhD at Hull University investigating the impacts of climate change on how pollinators and plants interact with each other.
Ellen on field work

The Urban Pollinators team is based in the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research in the Agriculture Building, University of Reading.  The three of us will be surveying the gardens, cemeteries, allotments, parks, road verges and other green (and not-so-green) spaces in Reading as soon as the weather picks up. Later in the year we will start surveying the experimental flower meadows in Reading. Do look out for us if you are in Reading on a sunny day.  We're the ones walking in line staring at the ground with a measuring wheel, a fold-up ruler and net, probably laughing loudly at one of Peter's jokes!

The yellow measuring wheel ..

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