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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

First Steps to becoming a Marine Biologist

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I am currently a student at the University of Hull, just got accepted, and I just went on to do my first year of Marine and Freshwater biology. I recommend going into this subject because there are so many various routes of which can be taken, career wise, from this course. I, for instance, am going to go on to doing freelance Marine Biology and specialize in Marine Mega-fauna e.g. whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles etc. Basically, any large marine creatures of interest.

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The course consists of three years. This is how it is broken down:

First year:

You will learn:

 

-Diversity of life

-Get an introduction into genetics

-Learn molecular and cell biology

-Are provided field and laboratory skills for those Aquatic Biologist out there

-Ecology and Evolution

Then you get to choose one free elective e.g. chemistry of life, biology book club, Dive training etc…

 

I personally have chosen my free elective to be dive training as it will be beneficial towards my course.

 

Second year:

You will learn:

 

-Professional and research skills for MFW Biologists

-Marine Biology and Biotechnology

-Evolutionary Ecology and the Physiology of Animals

-Molecular Biology of the cell

-Freshwater Biology

-Behavioural Ecology

-Fish Ecology

-Conservation

-Evolution

and obviously one free elective

 

Third year:

This is the year when you get the chance to do your own research project or biology work placement.

You will cover all of the following before you choose what research project you wish to do and how you’re going to do it:

-The sensory physiology of animals

-Marine structure and functioning

-Behavioural ecology and functioning

-Fisheries resource management

-Current biology

-Reviews within biological sciences

-Concepts within ecology

-Freshwater ecology/management

-Marine ecomechanics

-Topics in Biodiversity and evolution

-Field studies

-Environment and society

and your one free elective

 

This course is brilliant for those interested in going into something Marine based.

 

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Also, don’t get me started on all the places you will get to travel to. You can take field trips with your course group to places such as:

-Portugal

-Millport

-Tobago

-Brazil

-Cuba

-Mallorca

-Indonesia

-Arran

 

Just remember your passport, inoculations before you go and lots and lots of bug spray.

So if anyone is interested in Marine Biology or anything similar to that; Hull University is the place to go. It is a beautiful place and you feel so at home when you are there, that you will never want to leave.

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I recommend going there, it’s a brilliant place to get a brilliant degree!

Katherine is currently a student at the university of Hull in her first year of studying Marine and Freshwater Biology. She hopes to become a Freelance Marine Biologist specializing in the cetaceans of the sea.

Marine Life & Conservation

Review: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

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Regular contributors, CJ & Mike from Bimble in the Blue, review the Netlix documentary: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough’s latest and arguably most important documentary to date is now showing on Netflix.  It is, in his own words, his “witness statement” of a unique life exploring and documenting the wonders of the natural world.

Attenborough looks back and realizes that the previously gradual changes he witnessed (animal species becoming harder to find and fewer wild spaces) have now become vastly more widespread and noticeable. As the human population increased, so has the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, while the amount of wilderness has decreased.  His conclusion: human activity and man-made climate change have accelerated the pace of biodiversity loss.  This not only imperils the majority of natural habitats and creatures on Earth, but also the very future of humankind.

From images of lush green landscapes we journey with him over time to revisit these places, now wastelands. One of the most haunting is the contrast between early footage of orangutans swinging through the rainforest, to recent images of an orangutan clinging onto a lone tree devoid of all but one branch in the wreckage of a deforested site. Attenborough then makes a statement that has stuck with me since watching “A Life On This Planet”: that though we undoubtably have an obligation to care for the natural world, it’s not just about saving other species.  It is about saving ourselves.  His drive and determination to advocate and spread this message as much as possible at the age of 94 is both impressive and humbling, yet Attenborough manages to make this serious subject an unexpectedly positive learning experience.

In the final chapter of the movie Attenborough turns from the bleak reality of the destruction of Earth’s biodiversity, and offers a lifeline of hope and positivity. We can, he tells us, reverse the damage we have caused, we can save our species and the wonders of the natural world, and it can be done with just a few conceptually simple actions.  It’s enough to enthuse even the most jaded and pessimistic of conservationists!  Attenborough has an amazing ability to awaken our love of the natural world and now he shows us our future is in our hands. It’s time to act.  But we must start now and it must be a united effort.

You don’t have to be a scuba diver to be impressed with the eloquence of David Attenborough’s words, or his powerful yet simple message. We are self-confessed Attenborough super fans, but I don’t think anyone could contest that this is a stunning 1 hour and 20 minutes of hard hitting brilliance. The film closes with the comment, “Who else needs to see it?” The answer is all of us.  We highly recommend this documentary to everyone. Put simply if you watch no other documentary this year, watch this one.

For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Review: My Octopus Teacher

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Regular contributors, CJ & Mike from Bimble in the Blue, review the Netflix documentary: My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher is the story of how filmmaker Craig Foster befriends a common octopus in the kelp forests off of the Cape Town coast.  Mike and I love to watch all things underwater and nature-based and so eagerly sat down to this documentary film, a new September arrival on Netflix.

Watch the trailer here:

After burning out at work Foster finds fascination and a deep connection with nature when spending time freediving at his favourite local spot.  In a sequence familiar to those who watched the “Green Seas” episode of Blue Planet 2, he comes across an octopus camouflaging itself with shells.  With his curiosity piqued, he begins to seek out the octopus on all of his dives, finding delight in its seemingly strange behaviours, learning what he can from the scientific literature and slowing working to gain the mollusc’s trust on his daily visits to her world.

My Octopus Teacher portrays a very anthropomorphised view of our subject and Foster’s relationship with her.  His conclusions tend to be more emotional than scientific and his eagerness to find similarities between himself and the octopus shows a great sentimentality.  However, you cannot help but be captivated by the incredible mutual curiosity and bond developing before you.  This relationship, and the stunning scenes of the kelp forest with its diverse inhabitants make for a deeply absorbing viewing experience.  There is some fantastic cephalopod behaviour, from the octopus adapting her hunting tactics for different prey, to strategies for outwitting predators and incredible colour and shape morphology.  Foster is also keen to point out how little we know about octopuses and that there is a great opportunity to learn something with every dive.

One of my favourite observations made by Foster at the end of the film is that by going into the water for liberation from daily life’s concerns and dramas, he realised how precious these wild places are.  As he starts to care about all the animals there, even the most minuscule, he comes to find that each one is both important and vulnerable.  Foster finds that his relationship with the octopus changes him and he feels a part of the kelp forest rather than just a visitor, an experience he then shares with his son.  To me Foster’s insight that we must connect with an environment in order to be truly motivated to protect it resonated very strongly.  For those fortunate enough to fall in love with our wilder environments and connect with them, seeing it mirrored in this documentary is quite moving.

Overall we very much enjoyed the film, especially the weird and wonderful behaviours caught on screen and the story as it unfolds.  Though our first reaction was one of pure jealousy (that Foster has such a stunning local dive spot and coastal property!) we soon moved past the envy and found My Octopus Teacher to be a very relaxing and enjoyable evening’s entertainment, which we highly recommend.

For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

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