F (Femke) van Beersum MSc

F (Femke) van Beersum MSc

Onderwijs-/Onderzoeksmedewerker

’Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’
- Helen Keller

Finding answers to scientific questions often involves conducting experiments. In environmental sciences, sampling sizes are seldom small and the practical work to be done in the field, greenhouses or laboratory is usually time consuming and demanding. As a research assistant, I support PhD students and postdocs in setting up and carrying out scientific experiments and arrange (part of the) logistics behind fieldwork. In practice this means I help placing and sampling (pyramid) insect traps, do vegetation surveys, take soil samples, assist in nutrient analysis in the lab, walk transects catching bees and bumble bees, plant tiny plants in trays, interview people about agricultural practices, place orderings for consumables and many more things... Moreover I am involved in teaching and help BSc- and MSc-students to become familiar with processing and analysing data in Excel and SPSS, learn them how to do vegetation surveys, take soil samples and how they can ‘read’ the environment by simply observing what’s around them.

Background
Before I came to Wageningen University, I worked as research assistant at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), maintaining a collection of methane-oxidizing bacteria and studying the microbiome of zoo- and phytoplankton as part of the MicroZoo-project. Later, I specialized on the chemical analysis of soil, sediment and plant material using the auto-analyser, element analyser, ICP-OES and TOC-analyser and on ocassion I helped colleagues from the NIOO-Animal Ecology department with their fieldwork on the long term population study on Great tits (Parus major).