NEWS IN DETAIL...
Intrepid explorers survive Scillies rain
Marine Science degree students from Falmouth Marine School have spent a week on the Isles of Scilly surveying the marine benthic environment as part of a research project.
The trip, which involved both first and second year students on the course, was organised for the first years, by the second years and included management of finance, booking, itinerary, logistics and completion of risk assessments.
The students made their way to Penzance to board the Scillonian to the Scillies and set up camp on St Mary’s island. Despite three days of constant heavy rain the students remained in high spirits and fully embraced the experience.
First year student Jonathan Teague said: “The trip was well organised and provided a valuable opportunity to gain an insight into the pitfalls of scientific research. The highlight for me was when the rain stopped on day three. It was difficult to conduct some of the surveys in the down poor but we all kept going and smiling throughout.”
Across their six days on the Isles of Scilly, the students conducted a range of benthic surveys including intertidal biodiversity comparisons and timed searches for climate change indicator species. The high point of the trip for many of the participants was the snorkelling. Led by lecturer Trudy Russell, snorkel trips enabled the students to sample the variety of spectacular underwater life off the coast of the island.
Students and staff were granted access to the local community centre where several evenings were spent collating and analysing the survey data. The intensive survey days were followed by day trips to Tresco and Bryher where, once a rocky shore survey was conducted, the students spent several hours exploring.
Second year student, Steve Downing, said: “I’m not a natural organiser so I found this task extremely difficult, especially all the risk assessments and paperwork that was involved during the initial planning stages. Having said that, it was a good experience and developed my skills. If I need to organise such a trip once I graduate and am working I now have experience to draw from.”
Dr Claire Eatock, Programme Manager said: “It was a great success. The second years did a tremendous job organising the trip and research projects in a professional manner. The importance of researching current issues and developing employability skills is a vital developmental element of the degree-level programme. The event provided students with the opportunity to demonstrate their own research specialities and to organise a scientific trip within a real business context in preparation for their next steps in education or employment.”
David Stedman, Head of Falmouth Marine School said: “Studying at Falmouth Marine School gives students a great deal more learning time in the ‘outdoor classroom’. It is visits such as these that greatly enhance their studies as well as giving them a real insight into the marine industry.”