This course, unique in the UK, has developed a reputation for excellence over the last few years. It introduces the fascinating and complex world of soil biodiversity and identification of soil mesofauna, in particular the identification of springtails and soil mites. The course is led by leading UK experts in these groups.
Tutor: Matthew ShepherdDr Matthew Shepherd is a Senior Environmental Specialist in Soil Biodiversity with Natural England, providing advice and training on soils, soil biology and biodiversity to support Natural England's work. His responsibilities include advising Defra on soils issues and developing and managing soils research and monitoring.
Tutor: Peter ShawDr Peter Shaw is a Reader in Zoology at the University of Roehampton specialist in the ecology and genetic diversity of UK collembola (springtails) and the colonisation patterns and conservation management of industrial wastes.
Tutor: Felicity CrottyDr Felicity Crotty ia Lecturer of Soil Science at the Royal Agricultural University (Cirencester, UK). She aims to promote soil health and sustainability through increasing our understanding of soil biology, particularly soil fauna. Dr Peter Shaw is a Reader in Zoology at the University of Roehampton specialist in the ecology and genetic diversity of UK collembola (springtails) and the colonisation patterns and conservation management of industrial wastes.
Please arrive at the Centre between 11:30am and 12:30pm on the first day of your course in good time for a welcome introduction and the course commences in the afternoon. Please note lunch is not provided on the day of arrival. Course content may be rearranged subject to tutor availability, resources, etc.
Introduction to soil biology, field collecting, extraction methods, microscopy. Evening session on impacts of management on soil life.
Springtails day – collembola ecology, anatomy, taxonomy and identification, including field and lab sessions. Evening session nematodes (identifying functional feeding groups), and observing other soil water organisms.
Soil Mites day – Felicity Crotty, mite ecology, anatomy, taxonomy, identification. Evening session on monitoring soil biology, barcoding and metagenetic approaches.
Soil Meso-fauna bioblitz – attempt to identify/classify and record all the mesofauna from samples collected on day 1, putting all new skills into practice. Plenary on conservation of soil biology, and how to get further help and support for exploring soil biology.
Before You Attend
What to Bring
- Note-taking equipment (pen and paper is fine!).
- outdoor clothing suitable for fieldwork around field centre (some steep or muddy areas)
- If you have one, you are welcome to bring your own microscope if they like, although these are provided on the course.
- You may also wish to bring laptops, cameras or phones to take pictures of specimens – some microscopes provided have built-in cameras than can connect to laptops.