Time flies

Hello everyone,

it has been already three weeks since I moved to the Czech Republic for my PhD. I directly had to start working. So there was not a lot of time to settle down. The fact that I still do not have my own place yet does not help with that. However, I am very grateful for my supervisor and his girlfriend for letting me stay with them.

Just make a quick leap to the apartment search. I have only visited one place yet and am planning on visiting others this week and the coming week. The last weeks I have been gone quite often. First for field work in the Zelezne Hory mountains. A nice area with a lot of fragmented wet meadows where we will participate in research on the influence of fragmenten on plant-pollinator interactions. The field work is quite similar to what we will be doing in Cameroon. Being:

20160607_124023
Sylvain (other PhD) setting up the camera ©Y. Klomberg

We are using cameras to follow the plant for 24 hours. Afterwards we then can record which pollinators visited the plants. During the night somebody has to stay in the meadow to make sure that other people do not steal the cameras. So during last trip the three guys who were present had this great task. Sitting on boxes outside playing cards and testing local beers whilst keeping an eye on the cameras is a really hard job :).

In the coming July field trip (2.5 week) we will be measuring a lot more, but during these smaller trips the camera recording is the main important thing. So the last trip robbed me of the majority of my second week in the Czech Republic (or Czechia as we are allowed to say now). Last week we had our team building/ team meeting in the same region as the Zelezne Hory field work. In total four days were planned for this team meeting (travel on Wednesday, work Wednesday night, work Thursday/Friday and travel back on saturday. For me the most important part of this meeting was to discuss my PhD plans with my supervisors, so I can start with planning.
Luckily we found the time to discuss this. As was already known I will be responsible for the botanical aspects of our work in Cameroon. Which besides the camera research includes the creation of transects where we will be measuring plant species and flower traits along the altitude. Now I have already started analyzing the camera data from the first trip (when I still was not part of the team), but besides that I will start to write a review about my subject. In this way I can get directly dive head deep into the research topic. So enough work to fill my workweek with.

During this meeting we also tested some methodology for our July field trip, which was really nice and also a good way to get to know other people in our team. To bond even better the nights were spend “testing” the local beer…
And of course we needed a new group-picture for our website: http://www.insect-communities.cz/team/

Now I am back in Prague searching apartments and watching the UEFA European Championship. I am quite often reminded by the Czech people that even though they are a shitty team they are present…
The coming weeks will be busy, but hopefully I find the time to get an apartment! If I do find an apartment my parents can come at the end of July to visit me and bring my other stuff from the Netherlands. But do not worry I am also already planning on coming back for a short visit. From 17 till 28 august I will be in the Netherlands, however, the majority of the time I will be working. If people want to meet please let me know and we can arrange something during the evening!

greetings from Prague,

Yannick

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