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Biology Students Explore Plymouth University

Our Year 12 A-Level Biology students from across campus recently visited the University of Plymouth for a Biology Open Day. The students had the opportunity to attend two engaging lectures and chose two out of four hands-on workshops.

First, students listened to a lecture, delivered by Dr. Sarah Collins, on “What’s that noise? Measuring biodiversity through sound”, who discussed how we can use audio recordings in an efficient and often easier/cheaper manner to measure biodiversity within an area, to help us track ecosystem change and plan conservation accordingly.

Dr. Rob Puschendorf also presented a lecture on “Rediscovering and conserving missing species of tropical frogs” He described his childhood in Costa Rica and how the amphibians he grew up with "disappeared due to disease" by the time he was a teenager. He described how he has studied various amphibian species and the efforts he is making to conserve and improve outcomes for these species.

In the workshops, students handled cockroaches and observed their behaviour in choice chambers during the "Cockroach Conundrum." They explored how nature inspires new products, such as using bamboo, in "Tour de Plants." In a "Zoobones" workshop, they examined skulls to understand animal adaptation, and in the "Secret Life of Soil," workshop they used high-tech microscopes to explore microscopic soil life, including mites, pseudoscorpions, and springtails.

The students had a fantastic day, asking insightful questions about biology and university life, and engaging in hands-on practical activities. The lectures, delivered by engaging speakers, were both challenging and relevant to the A-Level biology syllabus. The students impressed everyone with their thoughtful questions and exemplary conduct.

One student remarked, "I really enjoyed the Secret Life of Soil workshop. I didn't realise the biodiversity of the soil, and it was really fun using the high-tech microscopes."

The day was a success, leaving students inspired and excited about their future studies in biology!