The snails are out!

Snails - 3

Belgium is experiencing some hot and humid, almost tropical weather the last days/weeks. Perfect weather to find snails, I found out (and even better weather to meet up with mosquitos, I learned the hard way).

Snails - 1

Great weather for plants to grow as well. But not so great weather to have a drought experiment to give plants some stress, as I had last year. I feel lucky I had a successful experiment last summer, as trying the same this year would be fairly pointless. With this weather it is virtually impossible to get the soil sufficiently dry to measure the differences I am looking for in the plants.

Snails - 2Last year, I was lucky with a dry hot summer with just the occasional thunderstorm, so patterns were as clear as they could be. But let that be a lesson for field ecologists: you will have to deal with the weather out there. Sometimes it is not what you would expect, and more often than not it differs from the average, and that can easily obscure the patterns.

That is exactly the reason why we always aim to measure the relevant variables in the field, so that whatever happens out there, we can link our results to the real events.

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