You’re Kidney Me?

There is literally nothing nature related in this post at all. Bit weird.

Today is my birthday. How do I feel about it? Bit depressed to be honest. I’m not being ungrateful – I’ve got the best group of friends around me and my parents phoned me up and all, but…

This is my first birthday I’ve spent mostly on my own and in London (*violins play). Birthday’s just aren’t as exciting when you get older, are they. Does not getting excited about my birthday mean that I’m getting old? Have I officially got to start cooing at babies, wearing trousers that come up to my neck (with a belt) and drive with my car seat so far forward that my knees are driven into my chin? Furthermore; make jam and actually enjoy an episode of Gardeners World?…

Maybe.

It hasn’t been a brilliant build-up to my birthday either. Over the past month I’ve been in and out of hospital. Not fun at all. Turns out you cant just ignore symptoms of a UTI because if you do, they swiftly turn into a kidney infection and here I am… Yes it does hurt. Nothing some strong antibiotics and some (bloody great) pain killers won’t sort out though. Whilst sat waiting in A&E last night (after I keeled over whilst carrying out fish surveys in the river Thames – cue fish puns), I got asked to be in the new series of Channel 4’s 24 hours in A&E. So not only was I crippled over in pain, clutching my right kidney, I was also microphoned-up and filmed for peoples entertainment… Weeeell, someone may as well get some enjoyment out of my pain, aye?

So all in all… Life has truly gone off the scale at the moment. Privileged pain, oh I’m aware of that.. But fucking weird nonetheless.

Cheers to potpourri, Homes Under the Hammer and kidneys. I’m officially 23… (And we laaaaughed and laaaaughed)

Bloody well get on with it, Tooby.

 

Well That SuDS…

This is a bold move. Writing a blog post on a topic that (no doubt) most people would rather cut off their private parts and boil them for dinner, than read about. But hold on. Sheees-ah turning this around. There’s even a drop of romance in here for you… Cheeky.

SuDS, although you may have never of heard of them, are important. Just trust me please. SuDS, or sustainable urban drainage systems, refers to the green land (or lack of!) that is able to soak up surface water. Surface water is becoming an increasing problem. We have concreted over so much natural land that would normally soak up rainfall and excess water (through natural permeable surfaces, a process called infiltration) and now we’ve now got an influx of the volume of surface water.

To put it plainly, we’ve fucked it. But don’t fear, this isn’t necessarily a gloomy topic and I will prove this to you later on. Strap in.

Natural infiltration is limited in our urban areas, where many (once natural) surfaces are now smothered by buildings and paving. Instead, drainage networks divert surface water to local watercourses (rivers, estuaries etc). This can cause adverse effects such as downstream flooding and a decline in river water quality that is caused when sewers are overwhelmed by surface water, resulting in an over spill of raw sewage water into rivers.

Sustainable drainage systems aim to alleviate these problems by storing or re-using surface water at source, by decreasing flow rates to watercourses and by improving water quality – pretty cool stuff huh?

Now to slip in a cheeky bit of romance into the mix. This steamy stuff will get your attention… (Oop, naaaughty).

I’m referring back to when I was talking about sewers being overwhelmed and spilling untreated sewage into our rivers, messing up the water quality. A good example of where this issue is currently being solved is good old London. The Tideway Tunnel (also known as the super sewer) is a new 25 km tunnel being built underneath the Thames which will collect the excess water and prevent the tens of millions of tonnes of pollution that currently pollute London’s river every year. I am proud to say that I am currently dating a young man who works for this company (on the sustainability team) and although I would never admit it to his face (duh?), I think what he does is pretty darn cool. In fact I think he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Period. Yes, you read that right. I’m dating someone. SuD me sideways…

Steering away from my emotions and back to SuDS.

So how do these bad boy drainage systems work then? Allow me to enlighten you. SuDS use a sequence of measures that work together and form a management train. They control flow velocity (attenuate) and remove pollutants as the surface water flows through the system. They also provide natural contours to store water and can be used to allow water to soak (infiltrate) into the ground or evaporated from surface water and lost or transpired from vegetation (evapo-transpiration).

In conclusion; SuDS are often regarded as a sequence of management practices, control structures and strategies. They are designed to efficiently and sustainably drain surface water, while minimising pollution and managing the impact on water quality of local water bodies. This is becoming increasingly important in areas where infrastructure is shooting up all over the place. We need more green infrastructure such as SuDS to be implemented into policy in order for built up areas to cope with surface water and to protect our TraC (transitional and coastal) waters and tributaries.

Some example of SuDS:

Close your mouth, dear.

References:

https://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/engineeringGeology/urbanGeoscience/suds/what.html

Farewell Species #1…. :(

The Morrison government in Australia has formally recognised the extinction of a small island rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys. The first known demise of a mammal because of human-induced climate change. Disgusting news.

It’s not a big, iconic or ‘sexy’ species and therefore it won’t get much coverage in the media. But hold on to your hats, because guys this is seriously important.

The extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys is understood to be the first mammal killed off by human-led climate change.

Image credit: Queensland Government

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three meters high, left it vulnerable to climate change. However, its 2008 so called “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the imminent and eventual risks.

“The likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

And we laaaaughed and laughed (OR NOT!!!)…..

The federal policy director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013 – but why the hell not?!

“The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

Call me a pessimist, but my gut tells me this will be the first of many species to go extinct due to our undiscriminating behavior. We seriously need to buckle up and push our conservation efforts forward, with a more COLLABORATIVE approach. Easier said then done with little government backing, I’m aware…

 

Information taken from: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/our-little-brown-rat-first-climate-change-caused-mammal-extinction-20190219-p50yry.html

Oh Shucks Guyths….

Repost from: Explore Marine Life With The University of Plymouth

What do our undergraduates go on to do after they complete their degrees? Meet Eve Angelina Sanders who left the SW for the bright lights of London to work for the Thames Estuary Partnership earlier this year!

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From September 2015 to June 2018 I studied at University of Plymouth on the BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography degree course. Although I graduated just over five months ago, I am now employed as the ‘Thames Citizen Fish Officer’ working for the Thames Estuary Partnership based at the UCL in London. My job requires me to develop methods for citizen scientists, helping them with things like monitoring fish nursery grounds, safeguarding the natural habitat for plants and invertebrates at different sites around the Thames Estuary and raising awareness of the wildlife in general. I love it!

Studying at the University of Plymouth did so much more than just give me the invaluable skills that I need for my new job. Alongside the engaging lectures, the teaching staff across the whole of the University of Plymouth’s marine biology sector were incredibly supportive and always willing to help where they could. This meant any questions I had (regarding not only the course content but also academia in general) were quickly answered. The practical side of the degree (field trip to a Swedish fjord in Kristineberg and the numerous research vessel trips in Plymouth Sound to study the physical, chemical and ecological aspects of the water) were a lot of fun and gave me the hands-on experience that employers in this field are often eager to see on a CV. Together I feel both of these course aspects (practical experience and the lectures) gave me well-rounded skills and a knowledge base which were crucial to me getting the job I’m in today.

I Thought he Was a Fun-gi…

100% unapologetic about the title. A beautiful rendition of a classic four-year-old’s joke… Masterful. What do you mean “no”?… I was proud of that one!

London Wildlife Challenge day: We all lost count weeks ago, Tooby…

I spotted these lads on my daily commute to Turnham Green tube station. I believe them to be ‘Honey Fungus’ Armillaria mellea… Although they’re rather beautiful, these guys are a real pest, attacking the roots of woody plants, often leading to the death of the innocent host plant (such as the tree pictured here)… Bloody nightmare if you ask me…