Work and assessment
The aim of this field trip is to introduce students to the methods of field ethology and to the theoretical framework of behavioural ecology. Students are not expected to have had any experience of these methods, nor any knowledge of theory. Instead this will be built up as a consequence of naturally arising questions in the field. All that is required is an interest in behaviour and why it happens. By the end of the course students will be able to design and carry out a study in the field, and embed it within an appropriate theoretical discussion. A key advantage of coming is that students will be able to collect all of their data for their final year project before the start of the final academic year.
The first full day on Lundy will be spent on a guided walk around the island. At various points we will stop and observe the animals we come across, taking general notes about the behaviours we see and the environment within which we see them. Over the next two days students will go out in small groups to more carefully observe a species of their choice. In the evenings, during the regular dinner time seminar, we will discuss these observations and questions arising from them. By the end of the third day each student will have a focused set of questions. During the next two days of Week One more observations will be made but in a planned and systematic manner in order to pilot study methods. This will vary from student to student and staff will advise about this both in the field and during the evening seminars.
By the end of the first week a project plan will have been finessed and students will have a free day. Students may wish to sign up for one of the trips or talks organized by the Warden, or simply rest.
During the second week students will execute their projects and collect data. As usual staff will be on hand to advise during the day and evening.
Finally, a paper published in the Journal of the Lundy Field Society, can be found at this link. This was the result of an MSc project I supervised on the island and gives an idea of the kind of work we can do.