Cohort 1 kicked off 2017 by embarking on their first international field trip, to Tenerife this January. The 8 day trip was led by Davey Jones and Dave Chadwick from Bangor University who were enthusiastically accompanied by Phil Haygarth and Emma Sayer from Lancaster University. The week aimed to broaden the cohort’s knowledge of soils and their formation processes, not normally seen in the UK, such as Vertisols, Andisols, Oxisols and Ultisols. Being a volcanic island Tenerife proved to be a unique setting to undertake some interesting field work. A range of World Heritage sites were visited and soil characteristics were determined with sampling ranging from moisture content, temperature, texture, structure, infiltration rate to pH, Ca content, P status, soil respiration and allophane presence. The data collected helped the group to understand how the presence of moisture in the environment had effected the erosion status of the volcanic landscape, and how this had subsequently lead to the increase or decrease in soil formation and successive vegetation presence on the current day landscapes. The sampling sites ranged from Pine forest to Desert scrub and the group saw lava ranging from 2,000- 170,000 yrs of age. The data collected provides the first of three sets which will be collected by the entire STARS PhD programme in the coming years. Cohort 1 also selected six sites for the determination of long term litter decomposition rates employing the TeaBag index we look forward to seeing the results of this experiment.
For more information and to see images from the trip search #StarsTNR on twitter!
By Jasmine Burr-Hersey