The cowslips in the new header bar are part of my usual habit of reflecting the seasonal changes. The uncut grasslands of the Open Space is now full of them, from the Burnbush Valley right round to the dipping pond meadow and up to the Coots.
A 3-year study of them also reflects the way climate change is likely to impact on all species. There's close monitoring of the temperature and other environmental variants affecting particular samples across the Open Space, along with a study of the genetic variations that occur in close populations, how they're pollinated and by what insects, etc. The bottom line is about how the species can adapt to a changing environment, or migrate to more hospitable sites as the climate changes, and ecosystems change with it. Can't help thinking that's what our species will have to do, too, unless we act quickly.
It's a Ph.D research project, and there's a request for local people to take part by keeping their eyes open and sending in relevant observations. Photos of pollinators will be especially welcome. Send details to charlotte.bickler (at) bristol.ac.uk