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Phuket International Academy, A-Level Biology, Ranong

08 - 10 December 2015

Waking up bright and early, the Barge staff flew into Phuket Airport to meet biology students from Phuket International Academy. Shortly after greeting the students, we headed north towards the Andaman Coastal Research Station for an action-packed program of muddy and wet field studies at locations including the mangrove forest, rocky shore and seagrass bed. It is hard to say at that point if the students really knew what they had let themselves in for!

One of the highlights of the trip was searching for and capturing insects and arthropods in the mangrove and grassland habitats for our biodiversity study. The mangrove research team returned looking rather disheveled after wading knee-deep in sticky and smelly mangrove mud. After a thorough wash, they headed to the lab with their specimens to find the dirt-free grasslands team looking rather smug at managing to stay clean. The teams worked to sort the organisms into their respective biological orders for the diversity analysis using microscopes to examine their defining features. Little did the grasslands team know that early the next day they too would experience the boggy and murky (but fascinating!) mangrove swamps for themselves…

Another highlight of the trip included setting up pitfall traps on the beach and baiting them to entice hungry critters for a spot of seafood paste supper. We caught several species of crabs including Ghost Crabs and Hermit Crabs and released them into their natural habitats before discussing the practical applications of this field technique.

All in all the students had a really enjoyable time working together to collect their own data and left with some great stories of their adventures in the field!


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