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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Students seize opportunities for practical experience

Published: 9 May 2012

Representatives from ecological, conservation and wildlife charities and organisations came together at the University of Southampton for a research symposium organised by the Centre for Biological Studies. They included Southampton City Council, Marwell Wildlife, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and Butterfly Conservation.

Teaching Fellow Dr Judith Lock organised the event to highlight the wide range of projects and placements undertaken by students. "We are very grateful to the many organisations which offer placements and volunteering opportunities for our students. They appreciate the opportunity to gain practical experience and contribute a great deal of enthusiasm and expertise," she says.

At Marwell Wildlife, first year Tegan Sutton volunteers once a week in the animal nutrition department at Marwell Wildlife She is enjoying her work and hopes to continue her links with the charity after the formal placement ends. "This is giving me plenty of experience and will be good for my CV. I'm thinking about continuing at university and taking a PhD in future and this will help with that as well."

Third year BSc Biology student Nick Evens volunteers weekly with the Hampshire Museums Service, helping catalogue its collection of insects. Another project involved the collection of data for the Forestry Commission; student Louise Sutton worked there as a volunteer last summer.

Conservation Officer Caroline Kelly from Butterfly Conservation is delighted at our students' contribution. "Last year, Matthew Higgins collected data on the ecology of the Argent and Sable moth. This piece of research has confirmed that the species has habitat preferences in relation to age structure and position of its host plant.
"At Butterfly Conservation we have a number of research priorities of which some can be investigated by students increasing our knowledge of the species giving us the necessary information to prescribe conservation management. Similarly, studying for a degree is invaluable as a challenge through research and practical work experience for the student, which we hope will help them in the employment market. We hope that our links and relationship with the University will continue and we can offer exciting research opportunities that are of benefit to us all." 

Placements

Biological Sciences students have plenty of opportunities to volunteer for placements during their time at Southampton. They start in the first year with basic volunteering, and progress to data collection in their second and third years. After graduation, some paid research internships are available.

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