It has been some time since my last post, as I have been busy in the lab back at Aberystwyth working through and processing the samples collected from May. But now a short break is due as I join fellow researchers Dr Dylan Gwynn-Jones and Dr Alan Jones in the field for our summer visit to Abisko Naturvetenskapliga. The station here is busy now, with many people coming and going during the height of the summer growing season. The vegetation is looking green and fresh. Despite another bad outbreak of Epirrata autumnata (Autumn moth) larvae, which destroyed much of the Vaccinnium myrtillus and Empetrum, it is recovering well. I will be repeating sampling of the spatial variation of the microbial community in the heathland, and have spent much of my first week here measuring vegetation cover and damage and soil respiration.
Also, I shall be investigating the effects of anti-phage treatments on microbial biomass and activity and carbon substrate addition, to see which may have the greater controlling effect on microbial numbers.
And when weather permits we shall be continuing the gas flux measurements of the elevated CO2 plots. It may not quite be the 30 degree heatwave that some parts of the UK are enjoying, but at least the wind and rain will keep the mosquitoes at bay!