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Summer 2021 Fieldwork - Part 2

From the 7th to the 11th June we set out on the second of two fieldwork expeditions.

Our goal was to characterize the molecular and microbial composition of peat under differing land use regimes. On this trip we visited bogs in the Flow Country, a vast expanse of blanket bog in the north of Scotland.

Some of these bogs were drained with open ditches, others were drained and then restored through ditch blocking, and some had never been drained.

On site we measured the peat depth, took pH readings and performed a vegetation survey. Back in the lab we are performing targeted analysis of the microbial and molecular components of the peat using DNA and RNA sequencing and analytical techniques such as high resolution mass spectrometry. Our hope is that the work will add to the growing knowledge of how healthy bogs sequester carbon, and what effect drainage and restoration has on this process.

We had a really great time performing fieldwork and I was blown away by the beauty and other otherworldliness of the surroundings. We got to see a white tailed eagle in the air and encountered lizards, toads and frogs among the moss.

Thanks to the RSPB and the Langwell site land manager for facilitating access to the study sites.

Photos by D.U. Note the bog pools, a sign of ancient peat!


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