Biologists at West Wittering

On 16th June, Headington’s L6 biologists went on a field trip to the West Wittering Beach to learn about succession, which is one of the topics in the A Level Biology specification.

Sally (L6) wrote: “The trip started with a brief introduction to the West Wittering Beach, mostly focusing on the Halosere and the Saltmarsh. The girls got to analyse the amazing sand dunes and were given a precise and clear explanation of primary succession by our lovely and entertaining guides, Tim and Suzanna.

We then got to experience sampling by the use of quadrats and interesting equipment which allowed us to measure wind speed, air, soil temperature and so on.

The general measurements our fellow biologists obtained showed evidence of succession as marram grass (a pioneer plant) decreased, while biodiversity increased as we moved further from the sand.

At the end of the day, we did even more sampling in the Saltmarsh, comparing different numbers and types of species between the middle Saltmarsh and higher Saltmarsh. Seeing unfamiliar species like Sea Lavender and glasswort was very intriguing and it was interesting to see numerous crab carapaces which these animals shed in order to grow.

Besides the bright sun and heat, our fellow biologists seemed to have enjoyed the trip overall as we not only got to experience sampling and see the beach but we also had the pleasure of learning about succession and seeing the stages of succession close up.

It was interesting to have a chance to be hands on with the sampling and tackle the challenges of carrying out a fair investigation.

After we got on the bus, we headed back to Headington with lots of knowledge and plenty of sand in our shoes.”