Sixty-one AP Biology and Environmental Science students embarked on an immersive educational experience at the beautiful Field Studies Council center in Snowdonia National Park, Wales.
The activities involved monitoring the behavior of freshwater shrimp (Ganmarus) through its substrate choice using choice chambers. Students then analyzed the data using Chi-squared goodness of fit. The trip provided a fantastic in situ opportunity to analyze real data statistically.
Day 2 was fabulous, and the weather was as stunning as the sand dune site at Aberffraw Beach. In this SSI-pristine dune ecosystem, the students used point frames to monitor species distribution across the dunes. Abiotic factors such as wind speed, light, humidity, and soil temperature were linked to species distribution. Adaptations to the harsh dune front environment were also compared to the more organically rich environment of the mature dunes.
On Day 3, the students were given the opportunity to collect data on a rocky shore. Here the abiotic factors of salinity, desiccation, and wave action accounted for zonation on the shore. The distribution of algae and snails on the shore was indicative of adaptation to these factors. The students were again in a fabulous environment, and a local seal popped by to check all was going well! To finish, the students carried out an analysis of the effect of substrate or seaweed on the width of limpets. Once again, this was analyzed using the Chi-squared test.
On the final day, the students investigated an unpolluted freshwater stream to find as many species as they could. The results would indicate the health of the ecosystem. Many minnows, caddis fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and beetles were found. In addition, Mr. Hughes was incredibly lucky to scoop up a rare endangered European eel. It was a juvenile, and everyone was incredibly lucky to observe the eel swimming and breathing. Its general health was good, and it was safely released.
The students' level of engagement and collaboration was high throughout. But it wasn't all work and no play! In addition to overseeing the explorations of the natural world, the trip leaders were able to schedule ice cream stops, coffee stops, and a visit to the beautiful town of Betws y Coed.