I have an exciting start to the Easter holidays to look forward to as I head of to Mallorca, for just under two weeks, on a field trip.
The field trip will make up to majority of teaching for the module ‘A field guide to evolution’ and the assessment for this module is a report and presentation about a group project we will do whilst we are in Mallorca, as well as an exam in May.
I’m very excited to go somewhere warmer than England, but what is even more exciting is the chance to learn in the field. This will be a different style of teaching and will hopefully be really interesting.
Organisms on an island are often subjected to different pressures than those on the mainland, which makes islands interesting the study for evolution of species. For our group project (working in a group of 3) we are studying ‘mollusc herbivory & cyanogenesis in legumes’. Which will look at the use of two chemicals produced in a plant, which when chewed come together to form hydrogen cyanide, as a defence mechanism against snails which eat the plants.
So in preparation for this trip I am reading scientific papers about this mechanism for defence in plants and their relationship with snails. It is such a clever mechanism to have evolved, particularly the way the chemicals are kept separate until the plant is eaten.
As well as preparing by learning about the subjects I will be studying in Mallorca, I also have some shopping to do for some field work clothes and of course a handlens. A handlens is essential for studying characteristics which can help identify a species!
So there are not many weeks to go and I will right another post once I get back to let you all know what the trip itself was like!