OSB archive
OSB archive

Wytham: 60 years of science

Pete Wilton

Ecologists and scientists will gather in Wytham Woods today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI].

Wytham was made an SSSI in 1950 and for the last 60 years has hosted an enormous variety of long-running ecological studies of mammal, bird and insect populations by Oxford University researchers including such important figures as Charles Elton, EB Ford, and Sir Richard Southwood.

The history of ecological science at Wytham is celebrated in a new OUP book, Wytham Woods: Oxford’s Ecological Laboratory, which is co-edited by Peter Savill of the Department of Plant Sciences and includes contributions from a large number of Oxford University researchers.

The book will be launched at today’s special meeting of the British Ecological Society [BES] at Wytham Village Hall and showcases the amazing variety of research from studies of the diet and lifestyle of foxes and badgers, to charting the impact of climate change on the nesting behaviour of birds such as great tits, and assessing how invertebrates, from spiders and earthworms to moths and caterpillars, interact with plants and provide food for other animals.