Scientists from our UKCEH Edinburgh site recently welcomed a visit from Màiri McAllan, the Scottish Minister for Environment and Land Reform, alongside other Scottish Government staff. Karen Yeung, Field Technician and ICOS Station Manager for Auchencorth Moss, tells us more...

The visit, on 10 May 2022, highlighted a wide range of work undertaken by UKCEH researchers, with contributions from ecological, freshwater and atmospheric science. PhD researcher Lila Buckingham introduced her work on seabirds and offshore renewables, and Linda May (Group Leader – Freshwater Restoration and Sustainability) shared insights into climate change impacts on Scottish lochs. Fuelled by a magnificent spread of drinks and cakes kindly provided by Springfield Farm, the attendees then stepped out into the windy weather for a tour of Auchencorth Moss field site.

Person showing water sample to another person

Linda May illustrates the impact of climate change on Scottish Lochs, showing the Minister a sample of cyanobacteria, known as blue-green algae, recently sampled from Scottish lochs.

Person showing scientific equipment to another person

Marsailidh Twigg gives an insight into aerosol measurements at Auchencorth Moss

The Minister, already conversant in many related environmental issues, was introduced to this globally significant site for air quality, climate, and ecosystem research. The Auchencorth Moss site is an essential part of numerous national and international air quality networks, measuring a suite of >300 environmental parameters, the data from which feed into publicly available data centres.

To add to its other accolades, Auchencorth Moss was recently awarded full ICOS accreditation as a Class 1 Ecosystem station, the only one of its kind in the UK. The Minister was pleased to unveil a new plaque commemorating this great achievement. This was an excellent opportunity to discuss greenhouse gas measurements at the site, from soil, vegetation, air and water, and potential impacts of a changing climate on the ecosystem.

Showing group of people scientific equipment in a field

Matt Jones (Field Site Coordinator) shares a look into the inner workings of the instruments at Auchencorth Moss Atmospheric Observatory

Presenting a plaque with a group of people

Màiri McAllan, Scottish Minister for the Environment and Land Reform, braves windy weather at Auchencorth Moss field site to unveil official ICOS Class 1 Ecosystem station plaque. (Pictured, left to right): Doug Wilson, Eiko Nemitz, Duncan Harvey, Matt Jones, Karen Yeung, Lila Buckingham, Màiri McAllan, Christine Braban, Linda May, Marsailidh Twigg, Andrew Taylor, Mark Sutton

There was much to talk about! The wide and varied topics presented, and questions asked, pave the way for future discussions over ecology and freshwater science, air quality and pollution in relation to policy. We hope that the Minister enjoyed this flying visit and we look forward to many fruitful conversations and opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Karen Yeung

Photos by Stefan Reis.