Course introduction

Both of our field studies centres are at coastal locations and also have easy access to rivers, allowing you to study aspects of marine, coastal and fluvial environments with ease.

Not only that, but our experienced team are well placed to run the biology residential course you need for your advanced level students. Our high 1:6 staff to student ratio enables us to provide better individual support as your students go about their investigations.

Tablet devices are available for your students to collect data, and they can use our IT facilities to analyse their results and prepare reports.

They can also use online case studies and secondary evidence to make comparisons with their own findings.

We will always strive to ensure we meet your group’s learning needs – as directed by you. Before you arrive, we’ll design a programme that best meets your requirements, and we’ll be there to support you throughout your course.

And as a responsible provider, you can rely on us to take care of all aspects of the health and safety of your group during your residential – you’re in safe hands with us.

Study modules

Biology

Ecological Succession
By performing accurate and detailed line transects students observe the changes in succession in relation to biotic and abiotic factors. They also begin to appreciate the importance of conservation and management of fragile ecosystems. This unit is ideal for students undertaking projects with an emphasis on experimental design, accurate and consistent data collection, hypothesis testing and statistical analysis.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Farming and Biodiversity
A short walk through the countryside is taken to gain an understanding of man’s uses of land. This unit addresses man’s influence in terms of historical change, sustainability and biodiversity. Farming methods are reviewed in the context of nutrient cycling, the water cycle and geology. The concepts attached to the use of pesticides, herbicides and other pest control methods are discussed, along with the attendant issues of non-native and alien species. In addition, there is an opportunity to examine concepts such as countryside access and wildlife corridors.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Haloseral Succession
This is a study of the colonization in a salt marsh environment. By carrying out random sampling and performing accurate and detailed line transects, students observe the changes in succession and begin to appreciate the importance of conservation and management of fragile ecosystems. Students can also test their hypotheses using Spearman’s Rank Coefficient calculation to determine if there is a relationship between different environmental factors, e.g. between the pH of the soil and species number. Remaining time can be spent writing up the methodology and discussing the day’s findings.
Available at: Little Canada

Heathland Ecology and Management
An investigation of open heathland is undertaken. Line transects are made and measurements taken including pH, light levels and soil type. Quadrats are used to examine plant species along the transect. Expected changes in diversity within physical parameters are discussed, along with the role of heathland in the nitrogen and carbon cycles. In addition, the management and land uses of the area are discussed. Data analysis and statistical tests can be used to complete a report on the investigation.
Available at: Osmington Bay

Investigations and Sampling Techniques
This unit provides students with an introduction to a variety of different data collection techniques, both in theory and practically as part of an investigation. Techniques covered include belt transects, line transects, random sampling, quadrats and ‘mark, release and recapture’. Students' work will have an emphasis on experimental design, accurate and consistent data collection, hypothesis testing and statistical analysis.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Lithoseral Succession
This is a study of the colonization of a bare rock substrate. By performing accurate and detailed line transects students observe the changes in succession. They also begin to appreciate the importance of conservation and management of fragile ecosystems. Students test their hypotheses using Spearman’s Rank Coefficient calculation to determine if there is a relationship between different environmental factors, e.g. between the pH of the soil and species number. Remaining time can be spent writing up the methodology and discussing the day’s findings.
Available at: Osmington Bay

Marine Zonation
Horizontal succession is studied using line transects across the littoral zone to measure the percentage and/or frequency cover of the organisms. Vertical zonation studies can also be carried out, using a 10cm quadrat - vertically on the rocks - to examine changes in species number and diversity on a small scale. Both methods are ideal for students undertaking projects with an emphasis on experimental design, accurate and consistent data collection, hypothesis testing and statistical analysis alongside concepts such as Ballantine’s scale of exposure.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Psammoseral Succession
A Nature Reserve system is an ideal location for studying the abiotic and biotic factors of succession over sand and the factors that affect this process. Opportunities are provided to study different approaches to sustainable development and how humans impact upon succession. Data analysis and statistical tests can be used to complete a report on the investigation.
Available at: Osmington Bay

Stream Ecology
Students investigate how a river changes along its course from source to mouth, focusing on the change in invertebrate communities. Kick and sweep sampling is employed alongside identification keys, and students record their findings on pocket computers. Digital photographs help to identify sample sites, and the reasons for changes along the river, pollution levels, land use and management are examined fully.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Woodland Ecology
Students conduct a comparative investigation of coniferous and deciduous woodland. Line transects are made and measurements taken, including pH, light levels and soil type. Students use quadrats to examine plant species in different layers of woodland. Expected changes in diversity within physical parameters are discussed, along with the role of woodland in the nitrogen and carbon cycles.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay

Environmental Science

Freshwater Pollution
Students investigate pollution levels in a freshwater system, using biotic and abiotic factors. Moving between sample sites, they focus primarily on the change in invertebrate communities. In addition, factors such as nitrate levels are measured. Students use sweep sampling and identification keys, recording their findings on pocket computers. Digital photographs help to identify sample sites and the reasons for changes between the sample sites are examined fully, including pollution levels and land use and management.
Available at: Little Canada, Osmington Bay


If you're looking to combine your studies with other subject areas you can take a look at our modules in Human and Physical Geography and Geology.

Activities

The PGL Adventure Bonus
Choose from our popular on-site adventure activities, such as zip wire, giant swing, trapeze, climbing and abseiling, to complement your study sessions and tailor-make your course to your requirements.

Select an activity for a full description

A typical itinerary for this course

Sample programme for a 5 day Biology and Environmental Science Field Studies course
  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
07.30-09.00   Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
09.00-12.00   Half day: Introduction to Ecology and Sampling Techniques Full day: Freshwater Ecology of a Mountain Stream - morning session Full day: Marine Zonation of a Rocky Shore - morning session Half day: Ecological Succession on a Hydrosere
12.00-14.00   Lunch at centre Packed lunch Packed lunch Lunch at centre
14.00-17.00 15.30 onwards - arrive on centre, unpack and orientation Half day: Introduction to Marine Biology Full day: Freshwater Ecology of a Mountain Stream - afternoon session Full day: Marine Zonation of a Rocky Shore - afternoon session Depart centre after lunch
17.00-19.00 Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner  
19.00-21.00 Evening Entertainment
Splash
Follow-up session Follow-up session Follow-up session  

Learning outcomes

Your syllabus. Their needs. Our expertise.
You know what you want to get out of your biology course, so we’ll plan it accordingly.
Our expertise makes sure you get the best out of it.

Use us to introduce a new topic; let us reinforce work done in school, revise a range of topics in preparation for exams for AS, A level or Highers – whatever you feel would make best use of your time and our location.

The data your students collect during their fieldwork and research will form the basis of solid case studies for future examinations.

We can offer support for your students’ individual investigations.

Our experience with field study groups at this level means we can help with recommending appropriate topics and project work.

Our biology and environmental science courses help consolidate and make sense of their studies, giving your students more confidence when it comes to sitting their exams.

Barton Hall

Barton Hall

A great location near Torquay and popular with groups of all ages. There are many blue flag beaches close by and Dartmoor is also within easy reach.

Beam House

Beam House

Near Bideford in north Devon, the surf school at Westward Ho! is close by and there are plenty of land-based activities in the centre grounds.

Boreatton Park

Boreatton Park

There are over 250 acres for you and your students to enjoy, as well as some great accommodation options and excellent facilities.

Caythorpe Court

Caythorpe Court

A fantastic countryside setting boasting 65 acres of grounds, packed full of adventure activities for your students to try out.

Dalguise

Dalguise

Located just five miles north of Dunkeld, there’s plenty to explore in and around this stunning centre, set in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

Hillcrest

Hillcrest

A cosy welcome awaits you at this former fishing lodge near the River Wye. The small size and homely atmosphere is perfect for younger students.

Liddington

Liddington

Minutes from the M4, near Swindon, the convenient location makes it one of our most popular centres. There are some great facilities too.

Little Canada

Little Canada

A fantastic choice for watersports lovers. Set on the banks of the beautiful Wootton Creek, we have private access to the water.

Llwyn Filly

Llwyn Filly

Close to the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye and situated on the edge of the stunning Brecon Beacons, giving immediate access to the mountains.

Marchants Hill

Marchants Hill

Conveniently close to London but in a countryside setting, there’s plenty of adventure in the wooded grounds and beyond for your students to discover.

Osmington Bay

Osmington Bay

There’s direct access to the beach, thrilling watersports on the sea at the nearby Portland Bay, as well as a range of exhilarating adventure activities.

Tregoyd House

Tregoyd House

Enjoy canoeing the picturesque River Wye at this beautiful centre in the heart of the Black Mountains. There’s so much to explore, see and do.

Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill

Located in the scenic Sussex Downs, close to the coast and not far from London, it’s a popular destination for secondary school groups.

Winmarleigh Hall

Winmarleigh Hall

A beautiful Victorian mansion house set within 50 acres of grounds. It’s a popular location in the north west of England, near the forest of Bowland.