Marine Biology Course enhanced

Issued: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 16:46:00 GMT

Students gathering Plankton samples for Chlorophyll analysis aboard the boat Actinia

A whole new dimension has been added to the School of Life Sciences marine biology course at FSC Millport thanks to state of the art 3D phytoplankton models.

Our plankton diversity lab, which takes place in October, sees students collect phytoplankton samples aboard the Actinia research vessel before viewing them under a fine microscope the following day.

However, an added resource literally added an extra dimension to those examinations and greatly enhanced the experience according to Animal Biology lecturer Dr Sofie Spatharis.

Marine Biology image

Dr Spatharis said: "Observing under the microscope means that you only get to see the organisms in two dimensions, especially because they tend to always land on the slide on their longer axis.

"This limitation restricts the ability of students to understand the morphology of these organisms, which can be quite complex and exciting.

"So, this year, together with colleague Dr Jo Clarke, we decided to develop an extra resource for the biodiversity lab using 3D phytoplankton models printed by the MVLS Bioelectronics Unit and painted by PhD student Eleni Christoforou.

"This meant that the students were able to both see them in the microscope and also touch them and understand their full geometric shape.

"Going by the reaction of the students in the lab, this seems to have made a huge difference in the way they perceive these microscopic organisms."

Learn more about the course here: Marine and Freshwater Biology degree course