Ecology field trip to Malham
Life Sciences students taking the Evolution and Ecology module took a beautiful field trip to Malham, in Yorkshire to study field ecology, landscape and conservation.
Around 100 first year students spent 3 days on site studying the habitats and nature and saw some wonderful sights.
They looked at different groups of organisms in different habitats including ferns living in cracks in the limestone pavement, aquatic invertebrates in streams, and terrestrial invertebrates inhabiting forests and meadows.
One activity consisted of investigating the ferns found in the limestone pavement. The limestone pavement is an unusual geological formation found in few places around England.
After a relatively short walk from the Youth Hostel where the group stayed, they arrived in front of Malham Cove, a former waterfall with an impressive view, house of a pair of peregrine falcons with their two chicks.
The group were able to observe the birds thanks to some volunteers with telescopes, very eager to share they knowledge about these fantastic creatures with visitors.
Climbing the stairway to the top of the Cove, where the limestone pavement is found, students had to find and identify three different fern species (Wall rue, Hart’s tongue, and Maidenhair) and take several measurements to determine the environment they grow in.
Another activity was to sample aquatic invertebrates found in streams and compare their diversity levels in different parts of the river. Students had to wear wellingtons and get into the stream to collect samples that later on they identified.
The third activity consisted of collecting terrestrial invertebrates from a forest and a meadow using sweep nets, identified them, and compared the diversity levels found in both environments.
On the last day, the students presented their findings with wonderful presentations.