Fellowship experience - Mohd Irfan Naikoo

Fellowship report by Mohd Irfan Naikoo

First and foremost, I thank the Almighty, Allah who has always been merciful to me. I owe a sincere gratitude to Prof. Mark Sutton who offered me the fellowship to work on the topic "Interaction between N supply and ozone exposure". I am also grateful to the NEWS Fellowship panel who selected me to avail the NEWS India-UK fellowship.

Book “Atmospheric Ammonia” presented by my mentor, Prof. Mark Sutton

I was warmly welcomed by my hosts, Mrs. Jan and Mr. Alan Naylor, at Lowriesedge on the 19th of June, 2018 at Edinburgh airport. On the way to my accommodation from the airport, Alan drove to Penicuik through Bush Estate and showed me NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), my place of work at Edinburgh, and supermarkets. I was welcomed by the other tenants (Amita, Aniket, Dibyendu, and Nikoletta) at Lowriesedge and within no time we became friends and enjoyed our time together.

CEH Campus

The next morning, I went to CEH, Bush Estate and was cordially welcomed by Netty Van Dijk at the reception. After completing some official formalities, I got my workspace station in the CEH library and Netty introduced me to people at CEH. The people in the library (Amita, Aniket, Dibyendu, Nikoletta, Charu, Michael, Arthur, Nicole, Emily, Andrew, Sammy) and other CEH staff (Kate, Rozy, Emma, Cristina, Daniel) gave me a proper comfort and friendly space that left an unforgettable impression on me. We used to chat about our culture, history, research and many more during coffee breaks and lunch breaks.

With CEH colleagues

Work at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh

During the brief meeting with my mentors, Mark and Netty, we discussed the work to be done during my stay at CEH. Netty introduced me to Amy Stephens who gave me an introduction about the AMFIA lab where I did the indoor research work and took me to Whim Bog site, where I carried the field experimental work and Auchencorth site which is the CEH Environment Monitoring site.

My first day at Whim with Amy

In the lab, firstly, I was provided training by Netty van Dijk in preparation, standardization, and analysis of the ALPHA samplers for ammonia flux measurements. The analysis for ammonia concentration was done on the AMFIA flow injection analyzer. I learned how to use this instrument. I also learned how to use portable Horiba flat tip digital pH meter for the measurement of leaf surface pH.

Preparation of ALPHA Samplers

I worked at the CEH Whim bog experimental field site and carried out the work on a peatland ecosystem. Together with Netty, we did the vegetation survey at the Whim Fields and measured leaf surface pH of different species of Sphagnum moss and Calluna along the dry and wet deposition transects of NH3. I did the “Dip well Measurements” to check the soil water table and pH of the dip well. We fixed ALPHA samplers at different locations along the dry and wet deposition transects for ammonia flux measurements.

pH measurements at whim

Weekends in and around Edinburgh

During weekends, along with my friends, I visited various beautiful and picturesque places in Edinburgh. We climbed the small mountain peak and witnessed cool breeze and calmness at Author’s seat and had a glimpse of sunset and panoramic view of the city of Edinburgh. I also visited the Scottish Parliament, the Royal Botanic Garden, the Scottish National Museum, the Scottish National Gallery, the Edinburgh Castle, the beaches, Ocean terminal etc. Weekend trips to Glasgow and Loch Lomond were an ever enthralling experience. I went to Glintress Forests, Peebles along with my CEH friends and did mountain biking, which was great fun. I have fortunate enough to experience Edinburgh’s famous festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. I watched many art shows on the Royal Mile. On the last day of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I watched the mesmerizing and glittering fireworks.

Mountain biking at Glintress Forests (left) and speed boating at Loch lomond (right)

Visit to Istanbul, Turkey

On one of the weekends, I visited Istanbul, Turkey for a couple of days and was mesmerized by the Ottoman culture. The ancient monuments, museums, mosques and markets of Istanbul left long lasting impressions in my mind. It was simply awesome.

Bosphorus cruise, Istanbul, Turkey

Visit to London

On my last weekend, I visited London which was a dream of mine. Travelling the London tube and the Thames River Cruise were great experiences. The view of the iconic London Eye and the London Bridge were spellbinding, viewing the Royal Parade at the Buckingham Palace was a treat. I also visited various museums, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the University College London, and the Imperial College London. Besides visiting these places, I walked by foot almost the whole day to stride almost all the important places and streets of London. I felt so happy while walking through the streets of London.

The iconic London Eye

At last, I just want to express that this fellowship was one of the most memorable times and most wonderful experiences of my life. I gained a lot with this visit. Both my academic and personal lives got highly benefited. I feel very fortunate to get such a glorious opportunity to avail this fellowship and I wish I could visit this place again and meet all my friends there!

Mohd Irfan Naikoo

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