Marine science students from Falmouth Marine School have been conducting a week of surveys on the shore line around Cornwall.
The groups of students have been looking at the ‘benthic environment’, described as the bottom of the sea floor, and the marine life present in their samples.
Throughout the week the students collected data and worked on their taxonomy and ecological assessment skills whilst using a range of technical scientific approaches at beaches in Marazion and Falmouth.
Marine Science Course Manager, Craig Baldwin explained that Survey week is in its sixth year with the field work taking place in some of the best locations in Cornwall.
“This year they have discovered blue rayed limpets, gem anemone and rag worms to name a few,” he added.
The annual research event involves all the marine biologists at Falmouth Marine School, mixing degree and further education students together on a variety of tasks.
From measuring the morphology and characteristics of the beaches and cliffs, to assessing the diversity of organisms in the rock pools, as well as looking at changes in the distribution of species along the rocky shore before conducting a series of related experiments in the laboratories back at the Marine School.
Degree level student, Michael Edlin, said it was a “fantastic opportunity to gain field and laboratory experience”.
“These are all critical skills in a good marine science degree,” he continued.
“It’s also a good insight into what I might be doing in the future”
At the laboratories the students found themselves studying in detail organisms that they had never heard of or seen before.
Degree level student, Mia Crawford said it was always fun to get out of the classroom and get “hands on with our studies”.
“I always find myself learning so many new things, and seeing things I haven’t seen before,” she continued.
“For example, we saw a Gem Anemone, in a rock pool at Gyllyngvase beach, which was pretty awesome.”
The Benthic Survey Week is one of two of these types of events the students at Falmouth Marine School carry out.
The second, ‘Pelagic Survey Week’, is focused on the open water where again the students will be out along the coast and on the water collecting samples and data to profile open water species and oceanographic features.
Marine Biology & Ecology Program Manager, Luke Marsh, said it’s a “perfect learning experience”.
When you are using the outside classroom that hosts a huge range of ecosystems, there really is no better place to study marine Science in the UK,” he added.
If you would like to study at Falmouth Marine School please visit www.falmouthmarineschool.ac.uk or call 01326310310.