Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
29 November - 02 December 2015
The Southern province of Ranong was heavily affected by the 2004 tsunami, but in the years since this natural disaster the mangrove, rocky shores and seagrass bed ecosystems have begun to recover. With Year 13s from Harrow International School in Bangkok we explored these fascinating ecosystems conducting student-led studies with the aid of staff from the Andaman Coastal Research Facility. These studies covered many different field work techniques including systematic and random sampling methods as well as the use of pit fall traps, citizen science and capture, mark, recapture. After data collection the students sat down each evening to analyse the information gathered that day in the field, completing statistical tests and estimating population sizes.
One highlight of the trip was the Bio Blitz on a degraded seagrass ecosystem. This seagrass had been severely damaged by human activities such as dredging over the past three years, but it still held a wonderful array of diversity. In a thirty-minute search we found sea cucumbers, starfish, pufferfish, marine worms, hermit crabs and many more. The students got stuck into hands-on fieldwork and we were able to produce a species accumulation curve and understand the pros and cons of using techniques such as a BioBlitz.
Another few messy days were spent in a mangrove swamp, a key environment with many ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and flood defence. After a few initial shoe- and mud-related issues and a bit of rain, we struck out deep into the mangrove forest. Using capture mark recapture, our aim was to calculate the population of Marsh crabs using Lincoln’s Index. By the end of the study all the students and staff were pretty dab hand at catching crabs, with over a hundred caught in fifteen minutes!
The barge staff had a wonderful time working with the Year 13s and we wish them all the best of luck for their final exams.