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L6th Form Biology trip to Manorbier, Wales

On Thursday 20 June, L6th Form Biologists travelled to Manorbier to complete the assessed fieldwork aspects of their A-level course experiments. 

Students spent long days assessing biodiversity, investigating how abiotic and biotic factors can affect the distribution of living organisms, planning investigations and collecting data for statistical analysis. While there was certainly lots of work to do, students found time to sharpen their singing skills and entertain Dr Brown and Mr Todd with their varied renditions, and to catch (and release) a wide variety of organisms from the common blenny to some very large pincered common beach crabs, and from a snappy Langoustine to a brown lipped snail from the sand dunes. It was a very successful trip, enjoyed by all, even students who may now be “afraid” of the words “Marram grass” and “quadrat”! One of the L6th Form students has written the following report:

“Last week the L6th Form Biology students went on a field trip to Tenby, Pembrokeshire to study biodiversity and sampling. We stayed in the YHA youth hostel in Manorbier which was nice and comfortable, and the food was excellent; we especially enjoyed being able to have seconds (and sometimes thirds!). After leaving school at around 8:30am on Thursday we drove to Swansea where we went to a field to practice the sampling techniques that we would need over the next few days for our required practical work. In the evening, after dinner, we drove to Manorbier castle and went bat-spotting using bat detectors that lower the frequency of bat noises to a level humans can hear, which was very interesting.

On Friday, we headed to West Angle Bay, where we looked at barnacles on a wave-cut platform. We then went to the beach café for lunch, where the portions were ridiculous, and the ice creams were delicious. The afternoon saw us travelling to a second beach, past Dobby’s grave, where Harry Potter was filmed and went to look at the diversity in different plant species on the sand dunes. After dinner we spent time back in the classroom at the hostel planning our independent research projects for the following day. The day was ended with a very intense game of ‘Uno’ before we returned to our rooms.

On Saturday morning, after wrestling our way through hedges and brambles, we arrived at another new beach to find and identify different species of top shell gastropods in the seaweed. A couple of hours spent searching, identifying (not so easy at first!), counting and measuring on different parts of the shore and then it was time to carry out our independent research projects. Most groups chose to return to the exposed rocky shore and wave-cut platform of West Angle Bay, and it had nothing to do with the café! The other group meandered through the sand dune once more. Our research projects looked into a variety of factors affecting distribution, from soil pH to tide levels. This was followed by a “bit” of rock pooling before watching the tide quickly rise and a final trip to the café for another ice cream (it was hot!). We went back to the hostel to pack up and have dinner, and then that evening we drove to Freshwater East for a chilled final evening with a campfire and marshmallows to make s’mores, we played ball games and listened to music, or rather were quizzed by Mr Todd on our musical knowledge. It was a great ending to the jam-packed few days we had.”

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