🦋 Field techniques for biologists

The art and science of field work


Health and safety in carrying out field work is key. While hazards in the lab might extend to toxic chemicals and disposing of GM microorganisms, hazards in the field can be even more diverse. Terrain, weather conditions and isolation can all play into this, depending on location. It only takes a brief look at wild animal documentaries to see how venturing out into nature can pose many hazards.


On one hand, it is important to think about the safety of those who are carrying out the work, while on the other hand the integrity and health of the habitat being investigated must also be kept in mind. Human intervention and equipment can be disruptive to some species. This is doubly critical when dealing with legally protected areas that may house rare or vulnerable species.


The method of investigating species is also dependent on how that species lives. For example, point counting might work for trees but not insects. Other methods include transects that asses the length of a given section of land in set increments (e.g. every 10 metres), and even remote detection via signals given by…