Posted by: henrymcghie | July 12, 2011

Back to work!

Hello- I’ve been away for the last couple of weeks, teaching 30 fantastic undergraduates from the Faculty of Life Sciences here at The University of Manchester. We stayed at a gite in the south of France, two hours drive west of Nice. Students worked on projects that they came up with themselves. The range was fantastic- effects of background colour of flowers on bee behaviour, cricket population size and habitat preferences in meadows, effects of light and shade on biodiversity in streams, tadpole grouping behaviour at different temperatures, ant behaviour in response to different colours- and that was just my group! We worked hard to minimise the effects of projects on the natural environment. The area is very beautiful, with pine forests on steep limestone valley sides. The fields and woods are alive with butterflies, birds including Ravens, Red-backed Shrikes, Crested Tits and many others. The most interesting thing to me is the ‘unusual’ combinations of species- on the top of mountains you find Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats (warblers that like scrubby areas) and Skylarks- which are found in fields here. In the forests are Woodlarks- confined to southern Britain- alongside Crested Tits- which are only found in Scottish pinewoods in Britain.

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