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Spring has arrived! For an ecologist, this brings about two emotions: excitement and fear! There is a lot of excitement at the prospect of switching staring at a computer screen and being stuck in the office for exploring the great outdoors and surveying. The thrill of the chance of discovering rare plant species, new populations of protected species or maybe even an entirely new species!
The fear is from knowing that there is about to be a loss of sleep, sanity and social life to allow all of the excitement to commence!
Whilst we are waiting for the weather to be consistently warm and dry enough to allow our Great Crested Newts surveys to start, we are getting all of our equipment ready to start the new season. Biosecurity is of great importance to us, and therefore between every site we ensure that all equipment is thoroughly cleaned, checked and dried prior to moving on. This is particularly relevant when surveying for Great Crested Newts and Crayfish as there is the risk of spreading chytrid fungus and/or crayfish plague and maybe even transferring non-native invasive plant species such as New Zealand Pygmyweed to a new site. For me, this has meant over the last two days, cleaning a total of 456 bottle traps prior to their deployment into new sites! The cuts and scratches on my hands are the proof of this far from loved job! Now on to today's job…. Cleaning all of our dormouse tubes and boxes!
The fun never ends for team ecology…