Students visit Animal Inside Out exhibition in Newcastle

University of Lincoln Life Sciences students see the world’s most amazing creatures like they’d never seen them before.

The Animal Inside Out: A Body Worlds Production is an unforgettable exhibit featuring real-life animals from gorillas to giraffes, elephants to dogs, all preserved through plastination. This is a process used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts, first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977.

Our Bioveterinary students were given first priority to sign up for the trip due to the knowledge and information learned in the classroom being mirrored in the anatomical tour.

Over 60 students took a coach up to Newcastle as part of Activities Week, which the School of Life Sciences puts on every year, to see the real-life application of their classroom-learned skills and knowledge.

With over 100 real animal specimens, students got the opportunity to see the nervous, muscular, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and reproductive system structure within the animals, showcasing what really lies beneath nature’s skin.

The exhibit that runs till January 3rd, 2017 aims to show the complexity of animal physiology, looking at the inner workings of the animal systems that enable them to live, thrive and survive.

No animals were hurt or killed for this exhibit.

Dr Colin Butter took some amazing photos of the exhibit which he has shared below

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To find out more about the exhibit visit: http://www.life.org.uk/whats-on/animal-inside-out

BioBlitz: which creatures call Lincoln home?

Chris Packham in the BioBlitzWater shrews, bats, invertebrates and reed warblers are just some of the creatures found during the University of Lincoln’s first ever ‘BioBlitz’ led by naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham.

Chris and students carried out pond dipping, mud and water sampling, bird calling and spotting, and insect and moth trapping to uncover what fauna can be found in the natural habitats around campus.

The BioBlitz – an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area – has demonstrated the varied wildlife and vegetation around the Brayford Pool campus. Such surveys are regularly carried out by scientists, naturalists and volunteers to help build an understanding of different species and their preferred environments.

Chris Packham led the exploration of the many different habitats hidden away on campus as part of his role as Visiting Professor at the University’s School of Life Sciences.

With a broadcasting career spanning almost 30 years, Chris is one of Britain’s best-known conservationists and is renowned as a presenter on the BBC’s popular Springwatch and Autumn watch series.

He said: “We’ve been out sweeping the grass, collecting fungi, pond dipping, spotting birds, and yet there is no end to what we could do to get a snapshot of all things living on campus. I’m delighted to give these young students the chance to really investigate the different natural habitats and microcosms which exist on campus.

“We’ve been very excited to find a water shrew, as well as a reed warbler, which should have migrated some time ago.

“Activities like pond dipping or grass sweeping can be done by anyone – you just need an alarm clock to get up early and catch these different creatures in their natural environments. What I love is the variety and new things which you can discover every time you venture out. We have dipped the pond here today, but tomorrow we could find something entirely different. I hope to enthuse more people to get out there and have a go for themselves.”

The information gathered will feed into a major national database which brings together details from similar events across the UK.

An amazing placement opportunity for one life sciences student

Scottish Lowland Research have one placement on offer at their Trust in Scotland and it could be yours!

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The sandwich placement on offer is for a student to undertake research in Scotland relating to lowland game and wildlife and the habitats they share, in particular woodlands and farmland. The research is applied and based on a fieldwork data-collection programme.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity. Its 60 scientists carry out research into game, associated species and habitats, from its HQ at Fordingbridge, Hampshire and at outstations throughout the country. The Trust’s main areas of interest encompass farmland, moorland, woodland and river management for game and other wildlife.

If interested please send your CV to Dave Parish as soon as possible: dparish@gwct.org.uk 

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Ryan Burrel said: “We have found sandwich students to be an extremely valuable addition to our teams and we have enjoyed working with them and you (University of Lincoln). We as an organisation feel the students get invaluable experience in wildlife conservation research from these opportunities, which is a great asset when they enter the field, be it related or not.”

 

Placement information

“We have one opening at our new Cromar Farming With Nature (CFWN) project in Aberdeenshire. This comprises the Game and Wildlife Scottish Demonstration Farm and the MacRobert Trust land nearby. These two areas combine to provide a huge study site supporting a wide diversity of habitats and wildlife. On both areas we are working to collect baseline data ahead of devising a new management plan for both sites. This offers a rare opportunity to collect valuable data on a host of taxa, from bumblebees and bugs, to pine marten and squirrels, and raptors and waders.

The CFWN team consists of two permanent staff plus several students and volunteer staff. The placements would be based at GWSDF where we have an office and accommodation, plus a truck for use if necessary. We could pay a stipend of £89 per week of the placement and all accommodation bills would be covered.

We could accommodate placements for up to a year if required, or shorter periods as necessary. The successful candidate would be involved mostly with field work but also some data handling and analysis. Overall you should be able to get and hence expand your experience in ecological experimental design, database construction and data analysis, field work techniques including wildlife surveys, maybe using GPS and GIS. We would endeavour to match your interests to the project as far as possible. There may be the opportunity to work on more than one project within the Scottish Lowland Research department, or between departments within The GWCT as a whole.

We require confident and able students with an interest in ecology and in working outdoors for a placement in 2016/17. Some data handling and analysis skills might be useful as would bird ID or other field skills.

Send your CV as soon as possible to be considered – Good Luck!

Read more about the placement here: GWCT_UndergraduatePlacement_2016_ScottishLowlandResearch

Life Sciences Undergraduate Showcase

From Life Sciences to Chemistry and Engineering, the University of Lincoln’s College of Science hosts another remarkable showcase of our undergraduate students.

Good luck to everyone on getting back their marks over the next few days.

Here is a little look into a few of our students we spoke to over the two days.

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Zoology student Alexandra Briggs looked at the affect of visitor numbers on the seals at popular viewing site, Donna Nook.

Alex said: “We’ve found that a lot of factors are affecting the seals at Donna Nook and it’s confirming what a lot of people were thinking. The advice to to Donna Nook would be that more and more people are going to come it might be best to put in changes now.

“If the changes work, they can be put in place at other beaches where visitor numbers are a big issue, as some sites have no limitations between us and the seal. People will go up to the seals and pet them, and they run away and leave their pups and they then starve to death, so it can be a huge issue in some places.

“I didn’t just want my research to just be inside, I wanted to be out in the field and doing something I wanted to do.”

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Bioveterinary Science student,Charlotte Carr took up some great work experience at Gatwick Airport with the security dogs. With this interest in mind, she took on the research of looking at dog behaviour levels in the home compared to in a kennel facility.

“Dogs when they were at home and in kennels to see if there’s a difference with their activity, I also compared this to behaviour scores which their owners gave them on their impulsivity, behaviour regulation, aggression and responsiveness.

“I found that as the dog gets older, they get more activity and their impulsivity increases. I also found that females were more impulsive than males and the activity in the kennels increased depending on the breed type, and the impulsivity as well.

“The toy and utility breed type were the most active and the non-working was the least active. The older the dog, the more active. It was strange. We think it was because they’d spent so much time with their owners that they didn’t mind being on their own or in the kennels.”

Charlotte’s findings will help to make improvements on the kennel facilities within Gatwick Airport.

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Jorge Sobral studied the effect of photoperiods on the genitalia of the bruchid beetle.

“I grew them in different light regimes – no light, 12 hours with light and 12 hours in darkness, and I’ve found that photoperiods do affect the size and shape of the genital organs of the beetle.

“I found that beetles grown in half darkness and half-light seem to have the longest parameres, which are in the genitals, for their size. This implies that genetalia may not be a viable way to classify species, so my work kind of contradicts that and says that it might be best to back up with something else too.”

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Looking at a future in wildlife conservation, Chardè Anderson looked at tissue samples of Bottlenose Dolphin species and the possibility of hybrid species.

She said: ‘The university received some tissue samples of Bottlenose Dolphins, and we were looking to see if they belonged to the bottlenose or a hybrid with another species.

“Through a lot of studies, we found there to be a possible one hybrid out of the 24 samples between two different species. Although there did look to be other individuals in the samples to be the same species, but from different regions.”

An amazing array of projects were on show across Life Sciences and we are proud of every one of you. Take a look at our photo album of the two days on Facebook here:

Field trip to Boggle Hole

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Students will visit Boggle Hole for a field trip in May

In May, 120 Second Year Life Sciences students will embark upon a residential field trip to Boggle Hole as part of their ecology unit.

The trip allows students to consolidate the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the first two years of their degree and apply these to answering questions relevant to ecology.

Students will assess how biodiversity relates to the physical environment and how competition for resources can limit population growth. A key feature of the trip is that students are given the opportunity to design their own studies in order to test hypotheses about the distribution, abundance and behaviour of organisms.

Previous student projects have examined the effect of shell size on hermit crab manoeuvrability, circadian rhythms and barnacle activity, predator-prey relationships and the habitat preferences of bats.

Project leader Paul Eady says: “Getting students away from their normal place of study and into a beautiful, biologically rich environment is a great way to inspire and engage students. They really enjoy developing their own ideas.

“The sequence of developing a hypothesis, designing and performing experiments and collecting data to evaluate the hypothesis lies at the heart of the Life Sciences. Thus, in completing their projects and reflecting on the process, students will learn a great deal about the scientific method that can be applied to their honours projects when they return after the summer break.”

Boggle Hole is a great place to undertake ecology projects
Boggle Hole is a great place to undertake ecology projects