A circuit of short activities designed to introduce students to key fieldwork equipment and techniques. These include random and systematic sampling approaches, biotic and abiotic data collection, plant and animal investigations, terrestrial and freshwater habitats.
A Case Study of Coastal Erosion
Experimental hard engineering strategies make the village of Overstrand a unique focus for this study. Students are introduced to the physical causes and the environmental and socio-economic consequences of coastal erosion. First hand observations and secondary data provide the background information for a public debate.
The North Norfolk coastline boasts a variety of erosional and depositional features. Students visit a number of sites and carry out wave surveys, beach profiles and pebble analysis to build a picture of the processes influencing this area. Management of the coast now and in the future gives an additional dimension to this study.
A Case Study of Coastal Flooding
The first nature reserve in Norfolk is under threat! The freshwater marshes are considered internationally important for bird life but the low-lying nature of the reserve makes it vulnerable to seawater flooding. How can this site be managed and what are the implications now and for the future?
Rivers and Management
Width, depth, velocity, wetted perimeter and bankfull measurements are taken to allow detailed analysis of river processes. In addition, students consider the impact of new fishing lakes, visit a site of extensive river restoration, learn about vital channel realignment and reflect on the flood management strategy for the future.
Succession and management are the background themes for this study. Students investigate plant diversity using a systematic sampling technique and analyse their results using Simpson’s Diversity Index. Abiotic data are collected providing a good introduction to a range of fieldwork equipment.
Students compare invertebrate populations from two terrestrial habitats. Sampling methodologies are discussed and hypotheses formed. Accurate identification is encouraged and time spent discussing taxonomy and practicing using dichotomous keys. Data are analysed using Simpson’s Diversity Index and/or a Chi-squared test.
Is human activity influencing water quality in the River Glaven? Freshwater invertebrates are sampled and a collection of abiotic data provide students with experience in a wide range of techniques including titration and use of digital sensors. Data collection and analysis mirrors the Environment Agency General Quality Assessment (GQA) system.
Systematic sampling of plant species and abiotic data collection are carried out to investigate succession. Management of the dunes and plant adaptations are considered and students are encouraged to consider the risks of carrying out fieldwork at the coast. Analyses include kite diagrams and dune profiles to build a detailed picture of a sand dune ecosystem.
This inspiring wilderness habitat provides a good introduction for students with no previous or limited experience of plant identification. Students are encouraged to suggest their own hypotheses and methodology to investigate plant zonation and succession.
An investigation into the effects of management techniques on ground flora. This is an excellent opportunity for students to take charge and design their own short investigation. Biotic and abiotic data are collected and students must also decide on a suitable method of analysis.
Zonation and adaptation are the key concepts for investigations at the Rocky Shore. Plant and animal species can be sampled along with abiotic measurements. Students are also encouraged to consider the risks of working on a rocky shoreline.
Energy Flow in an Ecosystem
Holt Hall Lake is used to investigate energy flow in a freshwater environment. Invertebrates are sampled and identified and secondary data are used to draw pyramids of number, biomass and energy.
Students estimate populations of mobile species using the Lincoln Index. Suitable species for this exercise include the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus, lesser water boatmen Corixidae and common rough woodlouse Porcellio scaber. The choice of species will depend on the weather and the time of year.