Biology field courses
An integral part of our biology pathway are field courses, which give you hands-on experience of field work in ecology.
1st year Ecology Field Course
The first is a 5-day locally based ecology course where you explore a number of different sites within the local area. There are 3 days of marine work, one day of freshwater and one of terrestrial. Each day's activity including various methods of sampling, and the analysis, interpretation and description of the material sampled.
- Rocky shore sampling and zonation (Lulworth Cove, Dorset)
- Soft sediment sampling and the effects of eutrophication (Langstone Harbour)
- Offshore sampling on the RV Thrift (Solent)
- Invertebrate sampling in rivers and assessment of pollution (Hampshire)
- Terrestrial ecosystems (Kingley Vale)
2nd Year Residential Field Course
7 days of intensive fieldwork at Slapton Ley Field Centre. You will spend the first 3 days in groups undertaking sampling rocky shore, estuary and the rest on a mini-project.
Day 1: Introduction to rocky shore sampling (Thurlestone Rocks)
The inter-tidal rocky shore is a common shore type around the UK. You produce a shore profile and assess the abundance and diversity of the biota of a rocky shore. To assess the biota on a shore the quadrat is the preferred method as it provides a quantitative assessment of abundance, species composition and can be modified to look at various scales.
Day 2: Exposed v. sheltered shores (Langerstone Point and Gorah Rocks)
Quadrats and a shore profile are used to assess differences in the abundance and diversity of the flora and fauna between two sites with different levels of wave exposure.
The effects of salinity on infauna of an estuary (River Avon). Soft sediment shores are some of the most productive areas of coastline with high levels of organic material/nutrients often leading to high biomass levels. The abundance and diversity of these soft sediments is related to a number of physical factors with the change in salinity a key factor. You sample the infaunal animals and correlate the effect of salinity on the diversity and abundance of this group.
Day 4, 5 and 6:
Group mini-projects. Each group is given a choice of mini-projects from the list below. Supervised by academic staff, and consulting the relevant literature you then produce the hypotheses, design the experiments and sampling strategy and then implement these at your chosen locations. Data are then collected, statistically analysed and conclusions drawn. Finally, each group present the project to the rest of the class and academics.
- The abundance and diversity of molluscs on sheltered v. exposed shores
- The abundance and diversity of crustaceans on sheltered v. exposed shores
- Abundance and diversity of brown and green algae on sheltered v. exposed shores
- Abundance and diversity of rock pools
- The abundance and diversity of invertebrates in kelp holdfasts
- The meiofauna and macrofauna of soft sediments
MSc students boat sampling in Southampton Water on RV Callista