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Opal air survey – Natural History Museum

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

(Physcia thrives in polluted areas and is common in big cities)

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) networks are looking for people, schools and organisations to join in and assist with their air survey in England. Good air quality is essential for our health and for the wellbeing of our environment.

The lichen is a community of two or more organisms living together. The lichen has a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an alga. The fungus protects the alga, which in turn provides food for the fungus through photosynthesis.

Glen, based at the northern office in Manchester will be carrying out the air survey at the Chorlton Meadows nature reserve. The survey involves studying lichens on trees and looking for tar spot fungus on sycamore leaves.

Once your survey is complete the results can be recorded online and the results can be viewed across England in the form of maps. Further information and helpful guidance can be found on the OPAL website (


About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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