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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Eleanor Johnston MSci Marine Biology, 2017

Eleanor Johnston's Photo

The part of my course I found the most enjoyable and definitely the most rewarding was my MSci thesis. I studied the impact of light pollution on the sea-finding ability of hatchling Loggerhead sea turtles. I collected data on the Greek island of Kefalonia, returning to Southampton to analyse it. I found this experience rewarding because I successfully planned and implemented a project and produced a report that will aid in the protection of sea turtles in Kefalonia.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

I chose to come to the University of Southampton because it was the best place in the UK to study Marine Biology. After looking around the University, I was really impressed by the facilities, particularly the National Oceanography Centre. The course appealed to me because of the practical emphasis as well as the wide subject range covered.

What is it like studying here?

Studying at the National Oceanography Centre meant that I was part of a large community made up of both staff and students. This allowed me to seek advice from very knowledgeable people when needed. Particular lecturers were very motivating and furthered my interest in topics I had never come across before. I found that lecturers were very passionate about their subject matter and prepared to provide you with more information if desired. I always felt safe around campus and experienced a friendly atmosphere.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?

The National Oceanographic Library is a very good study facility which I used regularly throughout my degree for course specific journals and books. University computers had the relevant software needed for work which I found very accessible. I used the Jubilee Sports Centre regularly as well as the facilities at Wide Lane and Southampton Sports Centre. These facilities were good with a wide range of sports on offer.

What have been your Southampton highlights?

In my third year I spent a semester abroad at the University of Bergen in Norway on the ERASMUS scheme. This was a highlight of my degree as I had the opportunity to experience different ways of learning and explore an incredible part of the world. The practical side of my course has also been a particular highlight, with field trips to places such as Falmouth and Bermuda.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The part of my course I found the most enjoyable and definitely the most rewarding was my MSci thesis. I studied the impact of light pollution on the sea-finding ability of hatchling Loggerhead sea turtles. I collected data on the Greek island of Kefalonia, returning to Southampton to analyse it. I found this experience rewarding because I successfully planned and implemented a project and produced a report that will aid in the protection of sea turtles in Kefalonia.

Did you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area?

There were some opportunities to study modules outside Marine Biology if interested. Whilst on the ERASMUS scheme at the University of Bergen I was able to select modules that were outside my core subject such as paleoecology.

Did you stay in University accommodation?

In my first year I enjoyed staying in Glen Eyre Halls due to regular events and sociable atmosphere. Despite finding the first few months challenging due to the complete change in lifestyle starting University, I made some good friends and became settled. I was part of the University athletics club and found that this was a good way to get to know people.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Despite being a city, I found Southampton easy to navigate and get used to. Being part of sports teams meant that I had AU socials, which were at a range of places in the city, whether it was a night club or bowling. The Common is a good place to meet up with friends and there are further afield places to visit such as the New Forest.

What one word sums up how you feel about your experiences at Southampton?

Life-changing.

What are your aspirations for the future? How will your degree assist with your ambitions?

I hope to work in marine conservation. My degree in Marine Biology will aid in achieving my ambitions as the University of Southampton is a highly regarded university, particularly for this course. The course has covered a wide range of topics from oceanography to ecology. Students graduating with this degree have a large knowledge base and many experiences which are relevant to the working world.

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