Highly qualified team plays major role in Countryside Survey soil processing

October 2007

The Countryside Survey soil processing team, based at CEH Lancaster, are currently hard at work processing over 11,000 soil samples from the 2007 field survey.

Work in the soils lab involves logging and processing the hundreds of cores that arrive every day. This includes performing invertebrate extractions; measuring, weighing, photographing, homogenising and analysing soil cores for pH; bashing cores to enable sieving; ascertaining stone volume; drying to give ‘loss on ignition’ (LOI) value; data inputting; re-analysing archive samples; and freezing some cores to provide an archival record.

The highly qualified team responsible for this work includes newcomers such as Annabel Rice, who joined the soils team this year after gaining first class honours in Ecology from Lancaster University (Annabel is pictured left alongside fellow first class honours graduate and former soil processor, Jenny Clapham).

Says Annabel: “I’m very happy to be working on such an important, world-leading project. It’s exciting knowing that this work is unique and also invaluable in answering key questions about environmental change. Countryside Survey has really widened my scientific experience, which will greatly benefit my future career”.