The second day of our fieldwork saw us; transfer from Accra to Fumesua where FORIG is located (approximately 20 km south of Kumasi); meet up with FORIGs deputy director Dr Stephen Adu-Bredu to discuss fieldwork and outreach plans; and settle in to FORIG for the next two weeks.
The next two days will involve building pollen traps ready for deployment next and finalising the detailed day-to-day plan of work.
The latest round of fieldwork in Ghana is underway. Adele and myself are travelling out to collect pollen traps deployed last year as part of Adeles PhD research. We will be revisiting the sites in Ankasa, Bobiri and Kogyae that Adele and Phil visited last year. This time we are also accompanied by Lottie who will be delivering workshops on outreach activity engagement and the palaeoecology represented in the sediment record of Lake Bosumtwi.
Flying into land at Accra in the twilight we passed over a storm cell, with some fantastic convective clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning within. Once out of the airport, we were taken through the hustle and bustle of Accra streets, alive with evening activity. Finally reaching our destination for the night, the FORIG guesthouse. All three members of our party readily made for bed to get a good nights sleep before tomorrows journey to Kumasi.
We’ve got a bumper crop of palaeoecological film making for you today, with three videos uploaded to our very own ‘Ecology of the Past’ Youtube channel. We’ve got an interview with Will Gosling, talking about the Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project and his own background and career (it’s a timely and somewhat poignant addition to the channel, because this is Will’s last day at The Open University before heading off to Amsterdam). Also posted are research presentations by Frazer Bird and Hayley Keen, which were filmed during the PhD student conference on 21st May. For the first time at the Open University these presentations were carried out in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) format.
Our next video to be uploaded to the ‘Ecology of the past’ Youtube channel is a short interview with Wes Fraser, Co-Investigator on the Bosumtwi project and developer of the pollen chemistry ultraviolet-B proxy. Wes talks about his role on the project, his background, and what excites him most about this current research. Similar ‘talking heads’ style interviews will follow over the coming weeks for each of the key researchers on the project.
My first fieldwork from the OU, in 2005, was pollen trapping on the Galapagos. Here I am looking beardy on Bainbridge.
February was an exciting month for me principally because of the finalization of my move to the University of Amsterdam (UvA) where I will become head of Paleo and Landscape Ecology in September. The decision to leave The Open University (OU) has been a difficult one. When I joined the OU as a RCUK Research Fellow in Ecosystem Science in 2005 I would not have believed that I would be in a position to take on a job such as the one in Amsterdam only nine years later. Building the group here during the last nine years has been a lot of fun and I have got to work with some great people. Stand out moments include:
Obtaining my first grant as Principle Investigator (c. US$20,000 from the National Geographic for field work in Bolivia),
Recruiting, and graduating, my first PhD research students (Joe Williams and Macarena Cardenas),
Being invited to participate in large international research efforts (notably the Lake Bosumtwi project),
Co-editing my first book (Bush et al., 2011), having my first student to publish a paper getting it in Science (Cardenas et al., 2011), and helping to write a popular science text co-published by the Natural History Museum (Silvertown et al., 2011)
There have been many more amazing things here but I don’t want to swamp this post with a retrospective of my OU career…
Ongoing excitement within the PCRG is happening on a number of fronts: