Saturday, 22 February 2014


So I've made a Flickr account!

Its got all my photos that you have seen on here and all the ones I haven't put on here! Including some of my photos from my Kenya trip! There's lots of pictures of cute baby elephants! (and me kissing a giraffe). So take a look!

 Thank you :) 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Ecological Characteristics of Streams.

Today we went to Brecon (near Pen y Fan) to collect some invertebrate specimens from a stream; as well as looking at the physical and biological characteristics of the stream.

Typical Welsh weather; it was raining and even hailing for almost the entire duration of our time there. It was bitterly cold, made worse by the fact that we needed to get our hands wet (and for me, my feet). 

We took measurements of the stream:  width of the stream, bank heights, water heights and stone composition at different intervals across the stream. we also measured the speed of the current by using a leaf and a metre ruler. 

As well as the measurements we had to look at potential sources of pollution and how the area was managed. A lot of trees had been cut down near the stream and water ran through that area into the stream we were on.
Spaghum moss which is on the hill to the right of the stream is acidic and so this can wash down to the river. The red sandstone (mudstone) which is in the river, is also acidic (and contains silica). This all means that the stream will be slightly acidic. 

The area around the stream was sued for grazing of sheep, this means that along the hillside was a field. If the sheep did not graze her it would most likely be an oak forest. If it were than the stream may be different (for example what lives in it).

We looked for signs of flooding, for example plants had been pushed over. It seemed as though the stream had not flooded for a while, although some of the embankment had fallen in, but this could be due to general erosion.

We used nets to gather some invertebrates which we then put into a pot, ready to take back to the lab. 
These included web spinning caddis, cased caddis and large stoneflies.

 By this point the hail had really started to pick up and was starting to hurt as it hit and I knew that my wellies were definitely leaking now due to the lack of feeling in my toes. (The photos really don't show just how miserable the weather really was).

When we got back to the lab we had to pickle the specimens ready for our lab session next week. The water in the jar was emptied as much as possible (without loosing anything) and then methanol was added a 20% water to 80% methanol ratio.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

UPDATE: South Africa

We booked our hostel  for the first week of our trip to South Africa, so now everything is booked! Our hostel looks amazing, especially for the price. We were told about this hostel from a couple of people who went to South Africa last year.  I also ordered The Safari Companion - Richard D, Estes. I wanted a book about animal behaviour of African mammals and this was recommended by my course leader. As well as The Safari Companion, I bought a pocket guide to South African mammals for reference. (Mammals of Southern Africa - Chris & Mathilde Stuart). 

Only 108 days to go!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dissecting Squid

Its always nice to start of your almost non-stop ten hour day with a squid dissection at 9am on a Monday morning.

 The same as previous dissections, I drew the external anatomy before i started the dissection. I drew it laterally as it gave a better view of the head and tentacles.There was only enough time for one diagram I thought this was the best.

(above: diagram of the external anatomy of the squid. I took it before id finished my sentence at the bottom, whoops!)

Then we dissected the squid (this dissection was done in pairs). First we had to work out if we had a male or female. There are not ovary's which is the obvious sign. Ours had a penis and a spermatophore sac which has a different texture to what's around it for example the digestive caecum. 

(above: the dissection of the squid.)

After we had decided which gender it was, we then got to locating where certain things were: ink sac, heart, vena cava, rectum etc. We filled it with water so that we could see things better and found the heart (with a little help as its small and hard to spot). With all things located I then drew the internal anatomy of the squid.

(above: Internal anatomy of the squid. I did correct the spelling on this after I took it.)

We then had to do the rest of the write up, explaining functions of some of its anatomy (eg. fins/ink sac). 

This was one of the smellier ones,  even though I was wearing gloves, I still had to wash my hands a good few times to get the squid smell out.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dissecting Lug Worms

This ones a bit late, a fortnight ago my dissection for Diversity of Life 2 was lug worms. lug worms feed on Plankton and Detritus from water that is washed into their burrows. They live in the sand in coastal areas.

I drew its external anatomy before the dissection. I got marked on the actual presentation of my dissection of which I did well. 

Once I finished the dissection I drew the internal anatomy. After the dissection I looked at the differences between earthworms and lug worm (this was mainly based on the external anatomy). I then had a live earthworm and had to describe the way in which the worm moves. 
the latter part of this was harder than imagined.