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The University of Southampton
Biological SciencesUndergraduate study

Learning to catalogue mayflies

Third year Biology student Nick Evens is combining his academic studies with voluntary work with the Hampshire Museums Service. He is helping to catalogue part of the mayfly collection donated by the Hampshire naturalist KG Blair, which includes more than 800 specimens from 42 species. They were all found in the early years of the 20th century.

Fieldwork in Spain

"Each individual insect has been tagged with details of where it was found, in Mr Blair's own handwriting," explains Nick. "I'm one of several volunteers working on the collections at Winchester and the only student. It's great to pick up new skills by doing this work; we also get to meet entomological experts who drop in to see the staff. I wish I had started volunteering earlier in my time at university, when I had more time."

In his second year, Nick went to southern Spain as a student demonstrator during the Biological Sciences first year field trip at Easter. He had enjoyed his time there so much, he wanted to return to support the staff. "It was one of the highlights of my time at university," he says. "We were taught field techniques and how to identify plants and then took part in a three day group project, ours involved researching the activities of stag beetles. You learn such a lot on the trip, I was pleased to help the first years make the most of the visit."

Nick is planning to continue in education and apply for a PhD in Biology when he graduates from Southampton.


I'm one of several volunteers working on the collections at Winchester - it's a great way to pick up new skills.

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