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Senior Sixth Form Biology Trip to Pembrokeshire

Thursday, 05 October 2017

Recently, the entire Biology cohort from Senior Sixth Form met outside the school in the early hours of the morning, awaiting a long coach journey to the Orielton Field Centre in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. The purpose of this three-day trip was to cover the ecology section of the Pre-U Biology syllabus and to apply this knowledge on a practical level. After various administrative tasks upon our arrival, our first practical element came when we had to catch and mark as many pond snails as possible in a specified time – the reason for doing this would become clear on the final day. Aside from this, our first day included learning about the principles of fieldwork, before putting this into practice on the following days.

Monday and Tuesday were both spent out in the field, looking at the diversity of organisms in different environments, first in the sand dunes, and then on the rocky shores. This involved the random sampling of different areas using quadrats, during which the boys learned how the species diversity differs as you move away from the sea. The time on the rocky shores was particularly interesting, as they found many live crabs, starfish, and limpets to look at, as well as a dead shark.

The last day was spent closer to the centre, as they left just after midday. Nevertheless, the day still proved to be eventful – particularly so when one boy fell through the boardwalk while walking above the local marshes! Following a quick tour of the woodland surrounding the centre, they returned to the pond from the first day, aiming to collect a sample of snails in the same way as had been done previously. This time, using the marked snails, they were able to estimate the population size of the pond. 

Many thanks to the people at Orielton Field Centre for running the trip, and to Mr Zivanic and Mr Browne for organising and supervising the trip.

This 3-day trip was to cover the ecology section of the Pre-U biology syllabus.
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