What first?

I’m lucky enough to have a very active, innovative and vibrant research group working with me, challenging my ideas and making sure that each day brings novelty.  In addition to research activity I teach Masters and BSc students about plant diversity, climate change and conservation.  This blog is to let others know what projects we are working on in research and teaching and perhaps picking up some new links with like-minded biologists.

I’m already involved with several projects that use blogs:

Whiteknights Biodiversity is a blog based project aiming to bring together and publish data on the biodiversity of our University campus.  Initial startup was funded with a small grant from the faculty of Life Sciences and then built up with a UROP grant this summer.  The blog is now the basis for undergraduate research projects and assessed work for MSc students.

Tropical Biodiversity reports on a project to upgrade our tropical greenhouse to broaden its value for research and teaching.  The project has support from the Annual Fund of Reading University who have paid for custom signage, landscaping materials and a new irrigation system.  These funds allowed us to leverage sponsorship from several suppliers including Seramis and Melcourt who provided high quality growing media for specialist plants.

Digitally Ready is a JISC funded project to develop digital competency amongst staff and students at Reading University with the aim to then spread good practice more widely among the UK academic community.  The project has led to greatly improved communication of good practice within the University and is already increasing the awareness of how digital technology can help in education.

My main single research project is currently coordination of the i4Life project funded by the european Framework7 e-infrastrutures programme.  The project is developing the Catalogue of Life, a single coordinated list of all living species.  I also have a great interest in tools for identification of biological diversity – It’s all very well know how many species there are but you also need to be able to tell one from another!

About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.
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