Impact of COVID-19 on placement – Aine Mallon

Impact of COVID-19 on placement – Aine Mallon

Impact of COVID-19 on placement

Guest Blog By Aine Mallon


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. It has been made aware that people cannot leave their homes unless it is essential, such as for food or medicine and if you are a key worker (NHS staff member). This has meant that for my placement with Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership, we are not allowed to be working together in the office and not out on site for the safety of protecting ourselves, own elderly family members and those who may care for a sick relative. This is a very new situation for myself which I’ve never experienced before although I am learning new ways to adapt to this and carry out my placement work daily.

Methodology for project work

My main goal is for bats project and carrying out as many surveys as I can during this current situation. I am very lucky to have completed my maps for my project work during our office hours before COVID-19 was introduced. What I want to do is continue editing my maps to highlight the main features that my chosen sites have to attract bats species to thrive here. I can continue this editing feature from home as the ARC GIS was used to produce the maps with a transect route I will follow when carrying out my surveys. My overall review of results and my conclusion can also be worked upon from my own home after I complete my survey work.

Survey work


For my project to be successful, my surveys are essential to gather as much data as I can about the different bat species I record. I would have been using the bat box griffin device, which was borrowed from the Belfast Hill’s Partnership team, to accurately listen and record the species I would hear on my surveys. I would have then used the computer software at Belfast Hill’s Partnership which would have gave me a visual display of the different range of frequencies from echolocation of the bats to read properly and record the species for my project and CEDaR.

However, the coronavirus has prevented me from gaining access to Belfast Hill’s office as social distancing is an important measure to be followed through seriously and many workplaces now remain closed. I have decided to not abandon my surveys because of this, I have taken the magenta bat detectors home and will carry out surveys with a family member who I am currently living this. Although this device wont record the bat species, it will test my ability to assess the sounds of each bat at different frequencies because bats use echolocation for communication and to find their way around in the dark, the sounds which they emit are ‘ultrasonic.’ The magenta detector will pick up these frequencies and I will continuously move the detector around from 55, 45, 25 to see when I gather a clearer sound from the bat to detect the species.

Magenta Bat 4
This is the magenta bat detector device I will be using for my survey work.











Although this is not related to my project work, I want to continue challenging what knowledge I have from bird calls and their distinctive features. Whilst the different bird species are still fresh in my memory from surveys done during placement, I can continue to practice this by going for walks during the day at Crumlin Glen and then during the late evenings for bat species. I can also carry out bird surveys from my own back garden and record what species I find for my own benefit and knowledge.

Garden Biodiversity

During this lock down period I have also asked that my mum and granda try to leave some of their garden longer and uncut to attract more wildlife diversity. I have also encouraged my grandparents to plant more colourful plants in their garden and then during springtime I can go witness any bumble bees and butterflies coming to their garden.

Research work

As I am now a member of the Northern Ireland Bat Group, I am getting continuous updates about detailed events that will happen during summertime (if they can go forward with them) but with each event they include a website. These websites include a range of background information regarding the protection of bats and videos explaining how they are misunderstood and need to be protected. Given that this COVID-19 has said to have came from a bat species, I want to continue researching valuable reports and help to get the public message across of how the transmission of a virus (or other vector of disease) from wild animals to humans is normally the result of human alterations to the environment.

I hope to continuously teach my close friends and family of why I am concerned for their protection and how bats shouldn’t be looked upon as just ‘carriers of diseases.’ I want to research new methods of what we can do in our day to day lives to help protect the bat species and limit the destruction of their natural habitats. As the news is focusing on the safety of NHS and COVID-19 number of patients, I am still currently researching how this is impacting the environment worldwide. I will be submitting a report at the end of April highlighting the positive environmental impacts which will require much research. I am also finding a lot of articles on Facebook and Instagram about these changes to how it is impacting air pollution levels and how the range of different animal species are responding to it.

Venice Canals
An example of the environmental impact; Venice Canals are thriving with fish now that tourists are gone.









It will be a challenge for myself to continue carrying out my project work without the necessary resources I can use but I will continue to try my best at producing a report which will reflect my ability for this research project of mine. Through technology I can remain in contact with my fellow peers from placement and I can contact my boss or set up a meeting through skype if I need any assistance or guidance areas of my report.

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