A Common Blue butterfly perched on a coastal grass stem, taken on our University field course to Orielton.
It is impossible to not be impressed by the visual results we uncovered during one day of our University field course in Orielton. We spent a short period of the day using a leaf blower (on its reversed setting) and a muslin sack to sample metre-squared grids of grass of different heights. At the time, it seemed like a pointless exercise, seemingly retrieving nothing but dead grass, dust and soil. However, after hours of carefully tweezing apart the contents of the sacks, an absolutely incredible array of invertebrate life was revealed under the microscope. An array of springtails, flies and beetles were discovered of many different sizes and colours. The visual diversity displayed in the photos (shot with an iPhone looking down a microscope) is a simple but striking way of indicating the biological diversity present in our meadows: a reminder of the beauty of the invertebrate natural world that is often overlooked.
A portfolio of five short tutorial essays (1300-2200 words) I wrote in my first year as an undergraduate studying Biological Sciences at Jesus College, Oxford. Across the year, I was assigned 1o essays and 5 presentations, each of which were based on a specialist topic where I had a week to research, prepare and complete my work. These five essays were the ones that I enjoyed learning about and reporting on the most:
1. With reference to invertebrate examples, what is life like at very small scales?
2. What is an adaptation?
3. The advantages and consequences of holometabolous development in insects
4. What is inbreeding, what factors influence it and why is it such a problem in rare or threatened species in in-situ and ex-situ conservation programmes?
5. Adaptations of vertebrates to extreme polar environments
A blog of my ideas, photography and research of the natural world.