On Wednesday 25th September the biologists set off to Slapton Ley. Taking a long journey from Tormead to Totnes station and then on to the field centre in Slapton. The first night consisted of an introduction into what we would be doing during our time there and then time to relax in our rooms. The next morning we woke up bright and early and after a scrumptious breakfast we headed to the lab to review our knowledge on ecology before setting out to the shingle ridge. We saw first hand how succession develops with time and through the rain and the wind we measured succession and monitored other factors. After walking back to the centre we started to specifically look at an environmental factor and the effect that it had on a given species that we had found on the shingle ridge. After many cups of tea, lots of laughter and work on our required we headed upstairs to go to bed- everyone was very tired!
Day two began with a tiring walk down a very steep hill and then later up it, however, lots of fun was had when we were at the rocky shore and we went rock-pooling to discover many different organisms. Everyone showed great resilience despite the downpours. There were many squeals of delight as people found crabs, fish and starfish!! Then we collected some samples of seaweed and took them back to the lab so that we could carry out chromatography, looking at the different pigments in different species of seaweed. We woke up on our final day and were glad that there was some sunshine. We headed out early to investigate the small mammal traps that we had set the previous evening, Megan and Abby had caught a bank vole to everyone’s excitement. We then headed of to the Ley in Slapton, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in southwest England- being 1.5 miles long! We caught some invertebrates and investigated which environmental conditions they preferred using choice chambers. Everyone really enjoyed the trip and we came back with a better understanding of ecology and lots of stories to tell everyone.