Marine Biology Part 2

Jumping in where we left off, I’ll get back to the rundown of the week and also explain how the module will be assessed this year!

@BiologyEHU marine bio module students out on the boat this morning @FSCMillport — anne oxbrough‏ (@aoxbrough) April 4, 2017

Day Four – April 4th

The agenda for the fourth day consisted of a trawling sample in The Firth of Clyde. We went out in two groups to sample from both a rocky- and muddy-bottomed area of the Firth, using a trawling net and a grab. Many crustaceans, brittle stars and starfish, as well as a few fish were caught and later released after identification. Also sampled were the zooplankton, who form a vital part of the marine food chain.

@BiologyEHU students carry out beach plastic survey at Kames Bay @FSCMillport — anne oxbrough‏ (@aoxbrough) April 5, 2017

Day Five – April 5th

Back at Kames Bay, we surveyed the plastics present on the beach. Many of it sits near the top of the beach, and once you start looking you realise it’s everywhere, and could have been washed up from anywhere – we saw a few shotgun shell casings. If you take a closer look, you can see vast amounts of nurdles: small plastic beads that make up the raw material of many many products. These, along with regular plastic items, have become a huge problem in aquatic ecosystems, and this surveying was a real hands-on eye opener to the dangers of unsustainable living.

@BiologyEHU Otter spotted off Farland Point #marinebio — Charlotte Pink‏ (@ehupink) April 6, 2017

Day Six – April 6th

Again, the weather challenged us with wind and rain, but we cycled anyway. Turning from sun to storm and back again every twenty minutes, we surveyed the shores from the coastal road, tallying the numbers of birds and aquatic mammals for ten minutes at each location. After a lap of the island, my group stopped off in town for some food and to get some typically touristy photos of ourselves with the Crocodile Rock, before an evening in the pub!

Crocodile Rock, Millport

Day Seven – April 7th

After the usual delicious early breakfast, the journey home began. Thankfully, there were far fewer mishaps than on the journey up. Personally, I really enjoyed the week. It was a lot of work, with sampling in the day and ID’ing into the evenings, but it was worthwhile. The experience was one I will never forget.

Assessments

What I didn’t mention above, is that on the final full day – after the surveying but before the pub – we had a mock ID test. This consisted of many specimens being presented to us and being tested on identifying it outright or being asked to match two species’ names to each individual. The actual ID test this year will require the identification of species from memory and others using a key. Alongside this, there will be an hour long data retrieval test, that will assess the “keeping of records of the extensive practical and field-based investigations, and the associated data collection and analyses.”

Marine Biology Part 1

An amazing module that was available to me in my second year was Marine Biology. This module was a week-long residential field trip to the island of Greater Cumbrae, Scotland, where we stayed at the Millport Field Centre, operated by the Field Studies Council (FSC). The Field Centre staff were fantastically accommodating, and the accommodation was fantastic – the Centre even has a biomass boiler for maximum sustainability.

Day Zero – 31st March

The journey up to the Millport Field Centre took around six hours and involved three trains, a ferry, and a bus. An exciting journey up from Ormskirk. Many of the students who took the module travelled up together in groups, and while there were a few mishaps on the way up North we all got there in the end. The highlight of the day was ‘The Bread and Butter Pudding Crisis’ – there was not enough to go around, and so our evening lecture was delayed 15 minutes whilst more was cooked up.

Ian Ashley and Heather looking for marine biology treasure at White Bay Cumbrae Island  — Biology (@BiologyEHU) April 1, 2017

Day One – April 1st

On the first full day, we sampled organisms from the sheltered shore of White Bay during the day – flexing our cycling muscles as we rode our rented bikes to the top of the island. For many of us, this was our first real and up-close look at marine life on the shore. We collected organisms from on top of rocks and from more hidden locations, such as under rocks in pools. We sampled three heights along the bay: lower shore, mid-shore, and upper shore. Later that day we also had our first try at identifying our samples under microscopes, using keys for marine life of the British Isles.

Day Two – April 2nd

The second day saw us sampling an exposed rocky shore, this time using quantifiable methods rather than just the presence-absence method used the previous day. Using quadrats, we sampled percentage cover and individual count data up the shore, this time at around ten vertical points, not just three general zones. The weather really treated us well that day, presenting us with lovely blue skies and cold that was only skin-deep and not bone-deep cold!

Shore sampling can be pretty when the weather’s nice 💙 — ash 🌱 (@tuffinash) April 2, 2017
The weather for the Sandy shore survey not so nice, slight breeze!! @BiologyEHU — UK Carrion Beetles (@SilphidaeUk) April 3, 2017

Day Three – April 3rd

The weather, of course, had to take a turn for the worse. The wind grew stronger and the rain fell. Taking samples from the exposed sandy shore of Kames Bay in this weather was challenging, but somehow ended up becoming quite enjoyable as my team and I settled into a rhythm: digging, sieving, and bagging up our sandy samples. With the help of the two post-grads joining us on this module we all successfully collected samples – but not without almost losing a plastic bag or two to the wind! We encountered many polychaetes when ID’ing the specimens collected from the sandy shore, many of which were also paddle worms, who sometimes have incredible dragon-like heads.

A polychaete worm

Next week, I’ll continue the overview of the week as well as the assessment methods for this module!

 

 

Faye’s Blog – Work Update & Preparation for Reading Week

So this week I began work on my Text to Screen assignment as I planned. I’ve started to read American Psycho and have found the corresponding chapter to the scene within the film that I am going to analyse for my 4000 word essay! And I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it because I think that it is going to be a really strong piece to look at. The scene of the film that I have chosen to analyse is one of the beginning scenes where we see Patrick Bateman preparing himself for the day with his beauty regime and he is discussing all of the various moisturisers and shower gels that he uses etc. This is the scene that officially introduces Patrick Bateman to the viewer.

Also today I have been packing ready to go back home for reading/independent study week. I have a suitcase full of clothes and I still need to fit in my laptop and some work books. Over the week I am hopefully going to finalise my Cult Cinema essay, begin writing my Text to Screen essay, continue reading The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers for Text to Screen too and write at least another 2000 words of my dissertation. I really need to keep focused and try and not get distracted at home! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep on track but I get distracted easily whilst I’m at uni too!

Faye’s Blog – A Very Productive Week

So this week has gone very well. I’m managing to get into a better work routine finally!

I have done even more research on my dissertation and managed to get up to 2000 words. Just 8000 more to go! I am also feeling a lot more confident about my dissertation now after I met up with one of my tutors Andrea. She thought that what I am doing is really strong and that the direction that my dissertation is heading is also really good. So, that has made me feel a lot less stressed because I was worrying about my idea. Andrea always helps boost your confidence too because she is really positive and enthusiastic when you are talking to her about your work which is always helpful!

This week I have also managed to write my first assignment that is due in on the 12th November for my Cult Cinema module! Next week is going to involve me re-drafting and re-drafting it! I chose to write my essay on A Clockwork Orangebecause it is one of my favourite cult films!

As well as doing that I have also started reading The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers for my Text to Screen module. I have given myself three weeks to read it because I know that it can be a pretty tough read but so far I am really enjoying it, a lot more that I originally thought I was going to.

I have also chosen a book and it’s film adaptation that I want to use for my Text to Screen module assignment one. I have chosen to do American Psycho again because it is one of my favourite films. I have also wanted to read the book for a while too and have just never gotten around to it, so this gives me a good excuse! I haven’t started reading it yet, I am going to check with my tutor that it is a good choice first!