Casey Brimble: working on the DRY project

My name is Casey Brimble and I have been working on the Dry Project for the last 4 weeks with the supervision of Sarah Ayling. I got this opportunity through Nuffield Research placement. My investigation was focused on the effect of drought on the colonisation of grass roots by mycorrhizal fungi.


In order to do this, I first collected samples of Yorkshire fog from a field site called Simms Hill which is close to the UWE campus. To establish the effects of drought, I collected samples from a drought plot (shown in the left picture) and a control plot (shown in the right picture). I collected from 4 plots and from each plot I collected 5 samples.

Once I collected the samples I cleaned them and stained them so the fungi and root would be visible under the microscope. I placed a small amount of the sample on a petri dish which had a grid underneath it. I evenly distributed the sample over the surface of the petri dish then counted how many times the root and fungi touched the horizontal and vertical line of the grid. I did this three times for each sample.


From this, I was able to calculate the percentage mycorrhizal colonisation. As well as this, I used the data from the equipment in the plots to establish if there was a difference between the rainfall and soil moisture tension in the drought and control plot. I found that the control plot received more water than the drought plot and the drought plot had higher soil moisture tension than the control plot this was because it received less water. I was able to conclude that there was no notable difference between the percent colonisation of the drought plot and the percent colonisation of the control plot.


I would like to thank Dr Sarah Ayling for supervising me during the project.

By Casey Brimble




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