Wytham Woods: Oxfords Ecological Laboratory

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This iconic location has been the subject of a series of continuous ecological research p For the first time, this book tells the Wytham story in a way that is accessible to both scientist and general reader alike. This iconic location has been the subject of a series of continuous ecological research programs dating back to the s, a level of continuity of research effort that is extremely rare. Hence there is a strong emphasis on the significance of the scientific research that has been done there and how this has contributed to ecological thinking elsewhere.

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Oxford’s outdoor laboratory infected with ash dieback

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. It is very famous among ecologists for the vast amount of ground breaking research that has been conducted at the Woods, and especially for several long-term studies that have been conducted here, some of which are still underway and represent the longest continuously running ecological research projects in the world.

I was interested in this book "Wytham Woods" provides an overview of the history of this property that has been owned and operated by Oxford University since its donation in I was interested in this book because so many important concepts in ecology, evolution, animal behavior, and ornithology that are discussed in classes I have taught or taken reference work done in this area. It was very interesting to learn more about the nature of the woods themselves habitat types, size, etc.

I also really enjoyed learning about other research that had been done on the property that I wasn't familiar with especially in fields like entomology and plant ecology , even though some of it was also quite foundational to aspects of ecology for example, research on moths that showed the critical importance of density dependent factors in population regulation.

All that being said, I was hoping there would be more effort made at synthesizing findings of studies over time and more explanation of their importance in the broader context of ecology and evolutionary biology especially for work like the long-term studies of Great and Blue Tits. I think that many readers who may be less versed in how important some of these studies are not sure someone like that would pick up the book but you never know may not come away with a full understanding of their significance.

Likewise, the book describes a lot of work that, while good solid field research, is less well known outside of specialist circles. The findings of a lot of these projects are described in a somewhat perfunctory way, and it's not always clear what the results really were.

The lessons of nature an Oxford woodlands is teaching us

Other research efforts are really just mentioned in passing, as if for completeness sake "Oh yeah, we have to say something about so-and-so's work on hedgehogs". I also would have liked to learn more about the management of the property itself. While this is described to some extent in terms of balancing competing objectives of research and conservation and the major land management activities, they don't really lay out how the decisions are made, by who, how priorities are set, etc.

The Laboratory With Leaves (Part 1): Wytham Through the Ages

A final comment, it was kind of odd that in a very technical book written by professional ecologists, the use of Latin species names was not consistently applied. Generally one would want to mention them at least once for each species in a book like this or include them in an appendix table or something.

In this book it seems to have been done by chapters if the authors so chose, but a number of them didn't.

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Most egregiously, I don't think they ever provided these names for the dominant tree species, which as you might imagine are discussed a lot. There is an "oak" tree, which I guess maybe means there is only one species in Britain since they didn't seem to feel the need to distinguish it any more than that most states I've lived in have dozens of oak species.

From next year, however, the project appears in the generall Earthwatch programme, so everybody can join the fun, jug the trees and weigh the voles: Full details of the Earthwatch project. Posted by Michael at AM. Labels: climatechange , earthwatch , environment , oxford , oxfordtoday. No comments:.

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