air survey

When we went down to the woods that day...

By Matt Keyse
OPAL Community Scientist, FSC Scotland

Scotland is blessed with a variety of natural assets and resources. Many large companies and organisations are involved with rural industries like forestry, farming and conservation but are struggling to find a supply of knowledgeable, skilled and experienced staff.


Air Survey results - lichen distribution


Where have nitrogen-sensitive lichens been found? How does this compare to nitrogen-tolerant species?

The map below shows which types of lichens have been found in Air Surveys submitted up to December 2014.

(Our live results maps are temporarily unavailable while our technical wizards work on improvements to this feature. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.)


Your Air Survey results – what have we discovered?

Where in the UK are nitrogen-loving lichens more common? Can the public identify lichens? What have you helped us learn about air quality?

These questions and more have been tackled by OPAL scientists studying results submitted for the OPAL Air Survey.


Lichen spotting and tree maths with Fairview Primary School

By Anna Lavery and Gretta McCarron
OPAL Community Scientists, Northern Ireland

We were delighted to welcome Fairview Primary School to Queen's University in Belfast this month as part of the university’s ESRC Festival of Social Science.


Ashfield Girls get to grips with lichens

By Anna Lavery and Gretta McCarron
OPAL Community Scientists, Northern Ireland

On 6 November, the School of Education at Queens University and the Field Studies Council were delighted to welcome Ashfield Girls School to participate in the Economic and Social Research Council Festival at Queens.


Durling's designs on science

By Dr Poppy Lakeman Fraser
OPAL Coordinator

Ever wondered what air pollution looks like? Well, normally it’s rather difficult to see, but a talented OPAL participant, Jack Durling, embarked on a challenging project: to raise awareness about the (not-so-visible) environment, through the medium of design.


Look out for Tar Spots!


Tar spotKeep an eye out for Tar Spot in the coming weeks and learn more about local air quality. Late summer and autumn is the time of year that Tar Spot appears on the leaves of Sycamore and other trees.

OPAL scientists would like to know where and when you see the Tar Spot fungus.

Just complete the Tar Spot activity separately, or as part of the OPAL air survey.


School investigates lichen diversity with help from OPAL

La Sainte Union Catholic School was awarded a Partnership Grant by the Royal Society in 2011 to investigate the relationship between air quality and lichen distribution.

To carry out this research, students made use of OPAL materials and the OPAL pollution index (a pollution score developed by scientists for the OPAL air survey).



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