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Field course

Long Vacation Field Course

Organiser:   Professor Bill Amos 

Dates:  20th to 31st August 2016

The aim of the course at Holt is to introduce students to field research in animal behaviour and ecology, including the collection of quantitative observational data, the design of field and laboratory experiments, and data analysis using statistics and computers.  The north Norfolk coast provides us with an excellent variety of animals and habitats in a beautiful setting, including foreshore, coastal dunes, saltmarshes, freshwater, heaths and woodland.  Holt Hall itself is set in wonderful grounds with mixed woodland, open pastures, meadows and two lakes.

For the bulk of the course, students will do projects (usually in pairs).  These cover a variety of topics such as foraging in wading birds (oystercatchers, redshank, turnstones), gulls and terns, web building and fighting in spiders, habitat segregation in dune grasshoppers, biodiversity in salt marsh pools, tidal rhythms in saltmarsh invertebrates, foraging and recruitment in wood ants, and social behaviour in fallow deer.  There will be lectures on experimental design and data analysis, and instruction in the use of statistical packages, so that students are able to analyse the data they collect during the projects.  Demonstrators are on hand throughout to assist and advise on all aspects of the project work.  The results obtained are expected to be used as a part of the requirement for the assessed projects.