So, why blog… why now?
Well, during one wet lunchtime, we realised just how much goes on around Pwllperian, despite the often tricky weather. At the same time, the nature of an upland research centre (i.e a little bit in the middle of nowhere) makes it difficult for folks to keep an eye on what we’re up to.
If you’re an outdoors(y) science/ hill dwelling variety of person, you may already have had the thought ‘hey, I wonder what goes on at an upland research platform on a day-to-day basis?’. Well, if you’re part of that small but thoroughly cool percentile of the population – or even if you’re not – the answers lies here! You may imagine a researcher in wellies and waterproofs bent double walking up a wet and windy hill side in the hope of securing a measurement as all that happens (and to be honest we do do that a fair bit!), but that’s only part of the story.
To give just a flavour of the variety of topics we’re currently tackling, we have: i) a pharmaceutical project testing whether daffodils can be used to produce a chemical used to treat Alzheimers Disease; ii) a project evaluating the establishment and persistency of new lines of forage legumes in low fertility conditions, potentially allowing farmers to reduce chemical nitrogen fertiliser that they apply to fields by up to 100 kg per hectare and so reduce the environmental impact of livestock production; iii) experiments testing the performance of different varieties of miscanthus (elephant grass) when grown in the uplands as an alternative bedding source for livestock; and iv) an experimental Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICW) which can be used to treat different types of contaminated water. We also have our long-term extensification plots – the Brignant plots – which are being used to quantify ecosystem delivery service from upland permanent pasture under alternative management regimes.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the authors’ own, and are not representative of those of Aberystwyth University