First there were rocks…

I am a botanist. I studied taxonomy, I learned all about plant ecology, I spent days looking at pollen grains under a microscope, I became a master of identification keys. Life made me deviate into horticulture, or shall I say, the art of understanding how to keep plants alive in cultivation. There is however one…

When plants glow

A fascinating and relatively unknown topic that I chose to study for my BSc, iridescence is, in its simplest definition, an “optical phenomenon in which hue changes according to the viewing angle”. The most obvious example is a soap bubble, but it is also a very common feature in the animal world (such as for this Morpho butterfly). What about…

Pond thrills with Froglife

Last week, I had the chance to take part in a (free – how amazing is that!) GCN Course organized by the amphibian conservation charity Froglife as part of their brand new Dragon Finder project (all info here : http://www1.froglife.org/dragonfinder.aspx). GCN, for the uninitiated, refers to the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), a beautiful European amphibian….

The fascinating world of butterflies on display

This month at Wisley, the RHS has organized an event called “Butterflies in the Glasshouse“. If you have the courage to brave the queues and noisy children (or if you have the chance to visit it on weekdays!), this is a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at tropical butterflies (but I so wish people would…

How do bats cross a motorway? – the results!

I hope the plant enthusiasts among you won’t be too disappointed – in this article I’m talking animals, and more precisely bats! Some of you might remember an article I posted in June last year, about a specific bat survey taking place in Brussels to reveal the impact of large motorways on bat behviour. If…

Dormouse discovery

Last week, I took a brilliant course on Dormouse Ecology and Surveying, organized by Sussex Wildlife Trust. I was particularly excited because the hazel dormouse is extinct in Brussels (and very rare in the rest of Belgium), so I had never had the chance to see one, let alone learn more about this charming creature….

Big trees are dying

While browsing the morning news, I stumbled on this pretty disturbing article by William Laurance, a researcher from James Cook University, Australia. Link here : http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328491.800-big-trees-in-trouble-how-the-mighty-are-falling.html?page=2 Called “Big trees in trouble: How the mighty are falling”, it raises interesting facts and questions about big trees and forests in general. So… The obvious : Big trees are 1)…

The Cathedral forest

Today it is grey in Brussels, very grey….the perfect weather for a tour in the Forêt de Soignes. I know what you’re all thinking : a walk in the forest in winter? Cold, wet and nothing to see! I agree for the first and second comment, not for the latter! Although it’s not as colourful and…