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Research Facilities

Sourhope - Site information

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> Stable Isotope Facility

Please note: This research Programme is no longer active


Site manager

The current Site Manager, Gordon Common, took over on the departure of Dr Graham Burt-Smith in August.  Gordon can be contacted as follows:

Sourhope Research Station

nr Kelso, Scotland

Telephone 01573 420229

Sourhope users please note:  sample hole backfilling at Sourhope:

The agreed protocol for backfilling sample holes in the subplots is to fill the hole with an equal size plug taken from the central guard area of the same mainplot, to ensure that the replacement soil has had the same treatment and minimizes discontinuity in the sample areas.  The holes in the guard area may then be filled with sand supplied by the site manager.

Plot design and treatments at Sourhope

Plot allocation: A new treatment design emerged from the York meeting, with 6 treatments, the outline of which can be found under the Research Facilities/Sourhope page on this WWW site.  The Rigg Foot subplot layout is shown separately.  Plot configuration has been agreed, but space allocation and proposed subplot treatments has been the subject of requests and feedback to ensure best use of space.  Note that not all subplots are taken up in each treatment.  It will be possible to inspect subplot allocation in each treatment mainplot as the plan builds up.  Requests for subplot space should be made to the Programme manager, who will co-ordinate the allocation of space with the Sourhope Field Site manager.

Mowing The site mowing schedule in 1999 is for the weeks 31/5-4/6, 28/6-2/7, 26-30/7, 23-27/8 and 20-24/9.  The Rigg Foot plots will not be available for sampling at those times.

N & L treatments Sarah Buckland applied the first nitrogen treatments, followed by  lime (as calcium carbonate) in the week of 9-14 May.  

Biocide Dursban (Chlorpyrifos) insecticide was applied on July 16th 1999 as the Biocide mainplot treatment.  A subplot of bactericide will be applied,  if required by usersSite users please give feedback to the Programme office if the 'total' biocide is still seen as essential.  No request  has yet been received.

Ryegrass re-seeding: The Murray/Grayston team have stripped turf from 3 x3m subplots in C1, NL and B treatments and resown with ryegrass, which is now growing rapidly.  This was a treatment about which there was considerable discussion at the York 98 meeting.  Are there any other potential users of samples from these subplots? 

Fallow: There has been no specific interest in the 'fallow' (ie bare surface) treatment.  Only if users come forward will this treatment be applied.   Plots are reserved for later use. e.g. for the second tranche projects.


Soils and vegetation baseline data from the 1998 survey of the Sourhope site, carried out by MLURI staff, are now available through these pages (see Data Management). Weather, soil temperature profile and soil moisture (theta probe) data from a single automatic weather station (AWS)  east of Block 3 supplied by CEH, are also available. A mobile theta probe is to be supplied by MLURI for spot measurements for plot and treatment comparisons to be carried out. Soil samples taken in March 1999 have been archived, but apart from wet pH, not analysed.  The site manager has done biomass sampling measurements from each mainplot, to coincide with mowing.  

No centralised faunal monitoring is being done, though research teams are now rapidly generating data.  Sharing of data on faunal and microbial distribution is going to be important for the integration of the Programme, in the absence of central funding. Clearly there must be safeguards over the prior use of data, but ready access is needed to as wide a range of data as possible.

The cost implications of the additional baseline data items requested at the York 98 meeting are now apparent.  Steering Committee has taken a firm line in saying that if data are essential, then the means of delivery should have been included in the original bids.  There are limits to what the site manager can be expected to do, and the Steering Committee are reluctant to provide data for which the need should have been anticipated.

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