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Field courses and project work

A highlight of IB Ecology are the field courses, which take place in the summer preceding the lecture course.

These courses are led by experienced staff from the Plant Sciences, Zoology and Genetics Departments, providing a unique learning environment for students.

 

Ecology Field Course at Juniper Hall

JH FieldMonday 23rd June – Thursday 3rd July 2014

This course introduces students to many key techniques in field ecology, and integrates botanical, genetic and zoological studies. A major objective of the field course will be practical work.

"The field course has made me excited to do ecology next year when before I was unsure of whether to even take it."

"It was great to work with experts from the field and find out in depth about some of the cool organisms out there."

"It was a super two weeks. It helps you to get to grips with concepts from lectures or reading when you see them out in the field!"

Seminars: Students are expected to give brief talks on their project to the rest of the class during the field course

Costs: Funding for students who participate is provided by the university, administered through Plant Sciences (not the Colleges). Students have to pay £100 towards the cost of the course. Students have to pay for their own transport to and from Juniper Hall, Surrey. In the past some Colleges have made grants to students to cover part or all of their contribution and transport to and from the course; you should consult your College Director of Studies to find out if you are eligible for such funding.

Further information can be obtained from the field course administrator,  (please read the FAQs below before emailing).

To book your place, please fill in the online application form by Friday 2 May 2014.

 

Molecular Ecology and Evolution summer course in Madingley

Students on the Madingley field course in 2013Friday 26th September — Monday 6th October 2014

The course introduces practical techniques in molecular ecology and evolution, including field work and laboratory and computational analyses in genetics and genomics.

Seminars: Students are expected to give brief talks on their project to the rest of the class during the  course.

Costs: Students do not have to pay towards the cost of the course, however they do have to arrange accommodation with their College, and to pay up to £100 of any charges made by the College for accommodation outside the normal period of residence. Excess costs up to a further £120 can be reclaimed. Students also have to arrange their own daily transport to and from Madingley (4.5 miles outside Cambridge).

Further information can be obtained from the field course organiser,  (please read the FAQs below before emailing).

To book your place, please fill in the online application form by Friday 2 May 2014.

Frequently asked questions

JH Field2

How long are the field trips?
There are two field trips both of which lasts for 12 days and are divided into a first introductory part with practical exercises and a second project based part during which students work on their own projects.

I can't attend for the whole time; can I take Ecology anyway?

If you are only going to miss a few days it may still be possible for you to attend the field course (please contact ). In any case you will be able to take IB Ecology, as you also have the option to do a project during term instead of a project on the field course.

I haven't been on the field trip. Can I still take Ecology in IB?
Yes, as an alternative to a project conducted on the field trip students can do a project during term. So even if the field trip has already taken place you can still sign up for IB Ecology.

 

JUNIPER HALL

I can only attend for 7 days; do I still need to pay £100?
Yes. The field trip is heavily subsidized by the University (true cost is about £500).

Where is Juniper Hall?
The Juniper Hall Field Studies Centre is in a quiet wooded valley in an unspoilt area of the chalk North Downs, Juniper Hall, leased from the National Trust, is a superb country house dating from the 17th century. It is about 1km from Box Hill and only 40km from central London. The surrounding area provides a variety of exciting habitats ideal offering a broad range of ecological questions to study.

At what time should we be there on the first day?
Students should arrive between 3 and 4 pm on the first day, but certainly before 6pm. If you are going to arrive very late (after 7pm) please let David Coomes know, so that dinner can be saved for you.

What time can we leave on the last day?
All students will give a short presentation about their project on the morning of the last day. Finishing time is therefore a little difficult to predict, as it depends on the number of projects, but should not be later than 3pm.

What do we need to bring along?
You will get more detailed information about the field trip nearer the time. However, the most important things to bring are: sun hat, good shoes, raingear, sandwich box and drinks bottle. It can be beneficial to bring your own laptop (at your own risk) or at least a USB stick.

How does the field trip work?
The field trip is divided into two parts: during the first introductory part you will be introduced to the subject of Ecology and how to do ecological research by doing exercises and data collection in the field. During the second part you can develop your own ecological question and perform the necessary scientific data collection to answer it. This second part will finish with short presentations about each project. The daily routine will start with preparing your lunch before breakfast. After breakfast we will either work all together or everyone on their individual or group project. You will have your prepared lunch at a time suitable to your schedule. After dinner there will initially be lectures and later possibly talks.


MADINGLEY

Where is the course located?
The course is based at the field station in Madingley, which houses the Zoology Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour

At what time should we be there on the first day?
Students should arrive by 12.30pm on the first day.

What time can we leave on the last day?
All students will give a short presentation about their project on the last day. The day will finish by 6pm.

What do we need to bring along?
Things to bring are: lab coat; laptop if you have one (we can supply laptops to those who do not); suitable shoes and coats in case it is wet (some projects may involve collecting animals in the field).  There will be more detailed information nearer the time.

How does the course work?
The first two days will comprise an introduction to methods in molecular ecology and evolution, including field, laboratory, computational and statistical methods. Students will then select and plan their projects, and will present and discuss these plans in a short talk. The rest of the course will be devoted to working on the projects, and the composition of field, lab and computational work will likely vary between projects. The final day is devoted to presenting results and analysis. In addition, on some days there will be guest talks on topics of interest.