MRes Ecology and Conservation student Sarah George, really enjoyed the day spent on the Sussex IFCA boat (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority), as part of the Ecotoxicology module.
“The boat trip with the IFCA was a real education and I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I have not previously experienced aquatic sampling and just being able to be part of the process and see how things were done was fantastic – even down to the clear sequential labelling of samples and being able to visualise how large a sample actually was (much smaller than I’d thought).
Simple things like rinsing the filter with clean water rather than seawater make so much more sense when you’re there as you can visualise how this would alter the sample you’d just collected. Setting up and operating the sediment grab is something you can only really appreciate by doing it, the idea is simple but actually getting it to work needs hands on experience. Again, being able to see how the sediment varied from site to site and even from one side of the boat to the other, told a really strong story.
Having to work out what to do when things didn’t quite go to plan with this, taught us as far more than just looking at the data. Being able to meet the crew and hear how they worked, the knowledge and skills that they needed to do their job was really interesting. Working in the port canal gave me a much deeper understanding of the industries that take place here and really got me thinking about how they impact the seabed there and also further out to sea. Thank you so much for a wonderful trip, I learnt so much on so many levels!!”