On the 3rd October, Genoveva Esteban and Katie Thompson from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Interreg EU-funded project SAMARCH (http://theceesresearchgroups.org/samarch) took part in the first ever Weymouth Family Science Festival. They ran three interactive activities at the spectacular location: The Nothe Fort. These included learning about insects, the wonderful life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon as well as the microbial world. They were delighted with the turnout and look forward to more face-to-face events. If you have any questions, please email Katie on firstname.lastname@example.org or Genoveva on email@example.com
- African elephants eat both trees and grasses.
- I cover myself in mud and dust to keep my skin protected from the sun – the mud asks like a sunscreen!
- A matriarch
- I am endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Africa
- I grow to about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall
- I am a herbivore, and I feed on tree leaves, buds, grasses, ferns, fruit and fungi
- I vary in length, from 200 to 390 cm depending on my sex
- I can be found across different countries in Asia
- I am a solitary animal which means I like living on my own. However, tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years before becoming independent
- My diet consists of mainly fruit and sometimes leaves
- I can now only be found in parts of Borneo and Sumatra
- I can grow up about 75 kg
- I can be found in Asia and Africa
- I am insectivorous which means I eat ants and termites
- I am a nocturnal animal
- Small salmon (juveniles) eat tiny invertebrates, but as I mature, I occasionally eat other small fish
- My journey to the sea and back is very dangerous, as there are lots of predators who like to eat me
- I can grow up to 1.5 m (6 ft) long!
- I have a huge range due to the migrations that I take part it. You can find me all over the world in the oceans!
- My diet consists almost exclusively of krill
- I can reach a massive 30 metres in length!
- I can be found in the North Pacific Ocean
- I can weigh up to 45 kg, which makes me the heaviest member of the weasel family
- I love living in groups
- I am an opportunist omnivore, which means I eat what I can find. Because I am a bit slow and clumsy, I mainly feed on plant material
- I can be found across in the oceans within the southern hemisphere
- There are lots of different species of my, which can grow from 10 cm in length to a huge 2.7 m!
- I am herbivore, and I eat over 60 different freshwater and saltwater plants
- I inhabit shallow, marshy coastal rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon basin, and West Africa
- I can grow up to 4 metres in length!
Genoveva Esteban and Katie Thompson are excited to announce the launch of a new website, Snapshot Science. They developed this website to virtually showcase the fantastic work of staff and students within the Life and Environmental Science Department (LES) in SciTech. They are will also use this platform as part of a public engagement and outreach event on 9th March 2021 during the British Science Week 2021 along with the WildlifeCraftClub. You can follow The Wessex Portal to keep updated on this new project…and give us a like on Facebook!
Thank you to LES staff and students that contributed to the website.
On Sunday 17th March, academics and students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) took part in Dorchester’s family science festival, inviting members of the public to learn about all aspects of science and research in the department for life and environmental sciences, from African elephant conservation to microbes living in the local environment. Many other local organisations also came along to take part, including Biotrack, the Jurassic Coast Trust, the Institute of Physics and many more.
The event was sponsored by EU-Interreg project SAMARCH (through Genoveva Esteban), the Royal Society of Biology (grant to G. Esteban and D. Franklin), Dorchester Town Council and BU. We are also grateful to the Science IRL Project developed by the Indian River Lagoon Science Festival SAMA (Florida, USA) for sharing the “This is what a scientist looks like.” T-shirt idea with us.
Bournemouth University staff and students were involved in several different activities:
- The world of microbes – Prof. Genoveva Esteban (professor of microbial aquatic ecology), Dr Daniel Franklin (lecturer in microbial ecology and biological oceanography) and Hai Luu (PhD student) – visitors were able to observe a variety of live single celled microbes using microscopes, and learn about the importance of these tiny organisms in the natural environment.
- Fish conservation and the Samarch project – Ossi Turunen (Undergraduate student) and Oskari Heimonen (Undergraduate student) – visitors were able to colour in their own salmon, and learn to tell the age of a fish using their bones! Oskari and Ossi are both heavily affiliated with the Samarch project and visitors could learn more about the project too.
- Insects to elephants: African biodiversity and wildlife conservation – Katie Thompson (Research associate and PhD student) and Jack Dazley (Research assistant and MRes student) – visitors were able to look at preserved insect specimens and learn about their diversity, and also play a game matching 10 African insect species to their habitat. Also Katie and Jack showed people how elephant populations have declined, what threats they face and how conservation biologists are tackling these problems, with a map of African elephant distribution in the past vs today.
The event was a huge success and attracted many visitors of all ages from the local area, engaging them with research and hopefully inspiring new young scientists! We are very thankful to everybody who came on the day!
For more information please contact Genoveva Esteban (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jack Dazley (email@example.com) or Katie Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A PhD student has amassed over 55,000 followers and millions of views on Instagram after sharing incredible images and videos of microscopic creatures magnified 40 to 1000 times.
Image of a tardigrade on @microbialecology
Hunter N. Hines posts photos and footage of the organisms he studies during his PhD research under his microscope, including single-celled organisms like ciliates and micro-animals like worms and tardigrades (known as water bears).
He was also first author on a piece recently published in Nature, highlighting the importance of using social media in science outreach.
Hunter said: “The videos and photos on my Instagram show these awesome creatures in their natural state as they are behave and move, rather than just drawings from a textbook.”
Hunter is currently studying for his PhD at Bournemouth University, conducting research in Florida on single-celled organisms called ciliates, looking at their biodiversity and biogeography in freshwater ecosystems.
Alongside ciliates, his Instagram account @microbialecology shows microscopic creatures including worms, larvae and micro crustaceans doing everything from laying eggs to eating each other.
At one point the account received over 1.4 million views in a single week.
Hunter said: “These are organisms at the foundation of foodwebs and important for ecosystem health. I collect them from freshwater habitats, such as ponds, in Florida, and some are from soil.
“For many viewers this is the first time they are seeing these creatures from the micro world as living things.
“I hope that my posts can reach a global audience, and show microbiology in a positive light, while inspiring interest in science to anyone with internet access.”
For more, visit the @microbialecology Instagram account.
Author: Genoveva Esteban
Wessex Portal Public Engagement
The Wessex portal team have been involved with an array of public engagement events. These were led by Professor Genoveva Esteban and two research assistants Katie Thompson and Jack Dazley.
As our site features a variety of interests, from local to global environmental sciences, we showcased different themes around these events.
Our first two events incorporated two areas of research, one on Microbiology and the other showcased the Dorset Coast Digital Archive:
Poole Maritime Festival: Microbiology and DCDA: 19th – 21st May
Festival of Learning: Microbiology and DCDA: 8th – 12th July
Bournemouth Air Festival: Wildlife Conservation: 1st – 3rd September
The first two events allowed members of the public to learn about the types of microscopic life which can be found in aquatic environments, and enabled people to earn more about the Dorset coast digital archive (DCDA), an archive of historical photos dating back to the 1740s. As well as educating and engaging the public with this work, staff and students from other departments were also able to learn about the research the Wessex portal team is involved in.
The most recent event took place in August 2017, where we incorporated a variety of different themes. We wanted to look at a range of species, showcasing biodiversity in a range of different research themes. These included the following themes:
- Microbiology: Included samples from the first forms of life taken from freshwater ecosystems at the FBA site.
2. Invertebrates: Examples of freshwater invertebrates taken from kick samples at the FBA site. Damien Evans, a demonstrator at Bournemouth University provided samples from a collection of invertebrates.
3. Shells and fossils: The stand incorporated samples of fossils and information for people to learn about extinct species and more about fauna that lives in shells.
4. Endangered species: We used this area to showcase research within the life and environmental sciences department at BU, with materials from senior lecturer Roger Herbert. We also held a raffle to raise money for African elephant research.
5. Conservation craft corner: We used this area as make your own ‘pom pom’ animal, where the public made creatures of the past, present and of their own imagination from what they saw on the stand.
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