Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Azores Field Course Day 1

Some of us are currently on the Azorean island of São Miguel with the second year BSc Biological Sciences and Environmental Biology students. The field course concentrates on various aspects of island biology with particular emphasis on anthropogenic effects as well as on the unique micobiological fauna of the area.

We will try to post some brief updates daily to show readers what kinds of things we are up to.

One of the activities on the first day is to set up a suitable sampling strategy for monitoring the caterpillars of the moth Pseudaletia unipuncta. These can be a pest on the island eating valuable pasture land. As much of the local farming economy relies on dairy cattle, grass losses to the caterpillars can influence yields.

Monitoring of Pseudaletia unipuncta caterpillars

The second activity of the day is also related (partly) to dairy farming and consists of taking water samples from the caldeira lakes Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul at Sete Cidades. Run off from dairy pastures can increase the possibility of eutrophication of these lakes and can contribute to cyanobacterial blooms. Water samples will be analysed later in the week for cyanobacteria and the presence of faecal bacteria.

Measuring lake pH in Lagoa Azul, Sete Cidades

Team Photo overlooking Mosteiros

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