Most Ph.D. students are part of a ‘lab’ – a group of people who work on similar things and help each other out. In our lab group there are honours students (honours is a one year research project you do before a Ph.D.), Ph.D. students, post-docs (these scientists have done a Ph.D. and are now employed as researchers) and our supervisors (scientists who have a full time job at the University teaching, researching and supervising students).
Today we are settling in and working hard. We’re all just doing what we would normally be doing in our separate offices, but are sitting around a big table and having the chance to chat, share what we’re doing and have some more formal meetings.
Mustard and I are working on our literature review. We’re still reading scientific journal articles and writing our summary of what we've learnt. Mustard is keen to go look for wasps, but unfortunately being so cold, we are unlikely to find many.
Insects are ‘cold blooded’. This doesn't mean their blood is always cold, but that they can’t regulate (change or keep the same) their blood temperature. Mammals, like humans, can regulate their internal temperature to keep our bodies functioning in the cold. Insects are not able to do this, and if it is too cold they will not have the energy to move around, and therefore won’t be found by scientists and their dinosaur sidekicks. The best time to look for insects is on a warm, sunny day when the insects will have lots of energy and be moving around a lot!