Friday, July 3, 2015

University of Southampton Voices

University of Southampton students hard at work
University of Southampton is a leading research university in the UK, and ranks in the top 1 percent of universities worldwide.   For the past 6 years, Southampton professors have been bringing students to BIOS to take an environmental studies field course held during the month of June.  

Cathy Lucas, one of four Southampton professors on the trip, expressed her appreciation for BIOS: “they [BIOS] look after us and give us what we need in terms of the coral reefs and labs, and it’s convenient to be able to stay on the site. Our experiences have always been really good which is why we keep coming back.”  Cathy specializes in jellyfish and fondly recalled the time that the group dived the reefs and were surrounded by ctenophores [comb jellies]. 

Cathy Lucas
I spoke with Henry and David, two Southampton 4th year students working towards their MSc in Marine Biology, an integrated undergraduate and masters program offered by Southampton. 

1.     How has your trip been?
Henry: We’ve had a great time out sampling every day.  I’ve never been snorkeling like this before.

David:  I’ve had a great time as well. 

David and Henry
2.     What did you hope to learn?
David: I hoped to learn more about sampling and doing experiments, and I have learned it’s quite a long process and a lot of work organizing people to do it.

Henry: I’ve now had first hand experience with coral reefs and identifying them.  Just doing science.  I haven’t had a chance to do this prior to this experience.

3.     What are your career plans?
David: I am a dive instructor and want to do something like that and after these weeks at BIOS I am now thinking about marine archaeology.

Henry: I was always considering teaching—as a surf instructor or tutoring, or open an oyster farm.  I think being here, hearing the education outreach speech by JP… it’s something I want to do.  Another girl in the group is interested in educational outreach and that’s something I’m also interested in. 

I also spoke with students Pippa, Annie, and Joe about their BIOS experiences:
1.     How has BIOS been?
Pippa: We’ve done a lot of sampling.

Joe: This is different from things we have done before, just looking at the ecology of the place. 

Pippa: It’s our first time designing our own sampling.  The highlight of the trip was yesterday on the boat.  We went out with Tim Noyes and did coral sampling.  We went to a coral reef where the cruise ship had crashed and compared the reef to a normal reef.  It was quite harrowing to see thousands of years just destroyed in one day… it happened so recently. 

Annie, Joe, and Pippa
2.     What have you gained from this experience?
Joe: I learned a lot about reef systems here.

Annie: The main thing that I have gotten from this experience is how to design experiments and work well with others.

3.     What have you liked most about BIOS?
Annie: The R/V Atlantic Explorer was awesome.

Joe: The invasive species lecture by Tim was fascinating.

Pippa: This trip made me realize that I want to go abroad and work.

Annie: This trip really inspired me to travel and work outside the UK and get involved in science in these types of places and it’s worth working hard for. 

4.     What do you want to do in the future?
Pippa: I want to go into media documentation in science.  Science is usually dumbed down, but there are not really documentaries for scientists. 

Annie: Initially I was looking at biotechnology and biofuels but this trip has inspired me to do more research. Maybe slightly less academic.  I am going to do sampling on the R/V AE which will be quite fun.  I’ve realized that there are lots of options for marine biologists, and not just one thing.

It was great speaking with the students, and we are so looking forward to hosting more Southampton students and professors soon!

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