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Exploring garden wildlife

August 2010
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3 days of sampling later.....

Posted by Sriya Aug 18, 2010

Hi again everybody!

 

So I have done 3 days of sampling, and already found so much! I'm spending 40 minutes in each garden (The Butterfly Explorers garden and The NHM Garden) - within this time I do an invertebrate count for 10 minutes (which is proving to be quite tricky when the flies are flying about!) . The remaining 30 minutes are spent sampling any bees, wasps, hoverflys and other flys that I see using a big sweep net! I then collect them in little glass specimin jars. I have a highly organised separation system for my finds in both gardens - the specimins from the BE garden go in a BHS bag and ones from the NHM garden go in a Clintons Card bag - well they do say that the simple experiments are always the best!

 

I then make the journey back the the AMCUKB (Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity) to identify my finds - the first thing to do is separate the specimens into bees, wasps and hoverflys, and then go on to identify the species in each group. We did a module on taxonomy and identifying species in biology, but I had no idea how tricky it is to identify insects at species level! The tiniest difference between two insects, which at first glance look identical- is the distinguishing factor that makes them two seperate species. It took me and my supervisor, Lucy, almost 1 and a half hours to identify one hoverfly! The plus side to this is, if I catch that hoverfly again on a different day of sampling I'll be able to identify it within 5 minutes because I know exactly what too look for.

 

Just to give you an idea of what kind of things we've found so far - some common hoverflys were Syrphus vitripennis, Episyrphus balteatus and Scaeva pyrastri - which were observed in both gardens!

 

Thanks for reading, and I'll be uploading some pictures, in the next couple of days so please keep checking my blog!

 

=)

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As i've mentioned previously my project is focusing on investigating the relationships between invertebrates and different approaches to managing wildlife gardens. I will be specifically focusing on bees, wasps and flies - but using them as a representative of a host of invertebrates.

 

The hypothesis is that the diversity and abundance of bees, wasps and flies would be greater in a garden intensively planted with nectar rich flowers (The Bufferfly Explorers wildlife garden) than in a garden left to colonise naturally with wild flowers (The Natural History Museum wildlife garden).

 

The sucess of my project will be judged on the reliabililty of the data I gather, so during my field work I must make sure that I contol as many variables as possible such as the time of day I collect species, the weather I collect species in, the types of areas that I will sample from in both gardens etc - by doing so, I can increase the chances of gathering reliable data.

 

Today I met with Tate, an interpretation developer at NHM who designed the 'Butterfly Explorer's' wildlife garden and discussed with her how she developed the design of the exhibition, focusing on her ideas when creating the UK wildlife garden. She said that my research may be valuable in informing the design for next year's exhibition, as well as showing the positive impact that the UK wildlife garden is having in increasing biodiversity - which we especially want the public to be aware of, as 2010 has been appointed by the UN as the international year of biodiversity!

 

Find out what's on in the Museum's Wildlife Garden

 

Visit the Butterfly Explorers exhibition

 

Find out more about the International Year of Biodiversity

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Hi all!

Posted by Sriya Aug 11, 2010

My name is Sriya Gokaraju, and I will be working in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity (AMCUKB) for the next month, where I will be looking at the relationships between invertebrates and different approaches to the management of wildlife gardens! I am an A-level student, who was awarded this project through Nuffield Science Bursaries.

 

I will be conducting my research, by surveying the invertebrates in the Natural History Museum's own wildlife garden and comparing it with the new wildlife garden which is part of the 'Butterfly explorers' exhibition (running 8 April - 26 September 2010 - make sure you check it out!) which is located on the Museum's East lawn.

 

I will be busy over the next couple of days, planning out my investigation and will commence my data collection, starting next week (weather permitting!).

 

Please check this space if you want to know my project is going, as I plan to keep a daily blog of all my activities!