The Rule Of Thirds

Any budding photographer will be familiar with the rule of thirds; this is a guideline for composition of well-balanced and interesting projects. And speaking of thirds, Hydroscape’s third progress meeting was held at the University of Stirling last week and we are now a third of the way through the project.

A picture is divided into 9 equal parts (e.g. the picture below of Stirling University’s Airthrey Loch in November 2017) by two horizontal and two vertical lines. This rule can be related to large, multi-institutional grants; identify the scientific interesting question (the picture) and maximise the impact and interest through sound structure (the lines) and intersections between the supporting lines (collaborations between researchers).

Airthrey Loch Drone
Our rule of thirds attempt with the drone over Airthrey Loch @ Stirling Uni

Meeting often to present preliminary results, share future research plans and create collaborations is therefore a great way to keep the picture in perspective… and also, simply, to have good time talking freshwater science.

The first day was dedicated to talks by early career researchers about the progress made by the different work packages. This research is extremely diverse from genetic studies of fish parasites, the distribution of microbes such as E.coli in lakes, landscape scale biodiversity dispersal, the movement of nutrient pollution, to the legacy of 19th Century heavy metals pollution in lakes.

The freshwater talks continued over dinner and drinks (not thirds though!)

The second day was spent reviewing plans and timing of deliverables. As some work packages rely on datasets of others to be completed, it was a unique but essential chance to make sure everything runs smoothly and to coordinate our efforts. The meeting even reached a climax with a video conference with collaborators based at Michigan University, discussing new and novel methods of connectivity.

Throughout there was a big focus on highlighting potential connections between work packages and research groups, whilst keeping the main scientific question in focus;  understanding of the importance freshwater connectivity for biodiversity and ecosystem services. And if we were to state this in a picture, the first image above captures our interests; a freshwater habitat, filled with non-native Azolla, riparian zones that have been human-modified, swans that may consume plants but also act as vectors of connectivity across the landscape and the aesthetic beauty of a fantastic Autumn day that can improve our well-being.

Alan, Ambroise, Simon & Zarah




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