After some delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak our project finally began officially in June. Just like for many people we have had to adjust to these new circumstances and try to work as best as we can within the restrictions.
France has already experienced the hottest start of the year on record, with higher temperatures particularly in the south, and the driest July since 1959, particularly in the north-east. Globally, the hottest temperature ever (54.4 °C) was recorded in the USA, and in my own country (Ireland), there was no real summer this year, with cool wet weather and little sunshine.
We will be using detailed weather data from 18 weather stations close to our sampling sites throughout the project to try to understand the impact of climate on ecosystems.
Thanks to the regional coordinators (E. Petit in Brittany, L. Arthur in Centre, S. Dool & S. Puechmaille in Occitanie/PACA) and the very motivated volunteers, the sampling has gone well so far (June, July, August), with just one sampling session left for this year (September).
After lots of reading and discussions with experts, we are ready to start testing several new protocols to get the best and most efficient results for both the metabarcoding and metagenomic analyses.