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A Level Biology - Leeson House

The Isle of Purbeck has many fantastic field sites that help to cover much of the relevant syllabus requirements in biology. Studland's sand dunes and heathland are a very good example of vegetation succession. Kimmeridge Bay is great for marine zonation studies and single species morphology investigations.

Leeson House Grounds

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The grounds of Leeson House provide a rich and varied range of habitats within which a wide range of biology units can be taught including:

• Introduction to ecology and sampling techniques
• Pond Comparisons
• "Mark and Recapture" Population Studies
• Woodland Studies
• Mammal Trapping
• Moth Traps
• Bird Ringing Demonstrations

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Studland Sand Dune Succession

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The Studland Sand Dunes and heathland is the ideal location to study vegetation succession. Students will carry out interrupted belt transects to investigate the environmental changes and biotic differences across the dunes. Soil pH, moisture, organic content, temperature and wind speed can all be recorded in each group. This data can then be graphed and statistically analysed back in the classrooms.
This covers AQA Practical 12, OCR A 3.2 PAG and 3.1 PAG.
Edexcel A and B Core Practical’s 10 and 15 can be completed here.

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Marine Zonation

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Kimmeridge Bay is one of the best places in the UK to study marine ecology. The double low tide each day gives plenty of time to study the lower shore. Popular studies with students include Littorina densities and zonation across the shore and limpet shell shape morphology. OCR A 3.3 PAG could be done here with students planning their own investigations focussing on various animal species and abiotic factors.
Edexcel B Core Practical 16 looking at Limpet morphology can be completed here.
Kimmeridge is also a great place for developing individual investigations for IB Biology.

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Investigating Local Ant Colonies

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With the help of an expert on the ecology and behaviour of the Dorset ant populations, you will be able to carry out lab-based and/or field-based investigations. The investigations carried out can be adapted to suit your respective A-level courses and ensure students gain knowledge and understanding of the use of statistical tests, ecology and the impact of human activity on the distribution and population density of ant colonies.

For example:
The effect of aspect on heights of ant mounds using the Student T-test.
The effect of disturbance on colony movement using a chi-squared test or ranked correlation coefficient.

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Freshwater Ecology

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Comparisons can be made between organisms found in slow and fast-moving water. Indicator species are identified, and several abiotic factors are recorded such as dissolved oxygen and flow rate. The River Piddle is a safe river to study with any size group. In recent years, crayfish and marine lampreys have been caught during sampling. OCR A 3.3 PAG could be completed here as well as Edexcel B 3.3 Calculating Simpson's Diversity Index.

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Pond Comparison Study

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Compare biotic and abiotic samples between several ponds within the grounds of Leeson House. Practise identification skills using dichotomous keys, calculate diversity indices and compare energy transfer between each pond. The Leeson ponds are full of life, often great crested newts can be found.

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Our Address: 
Leeson House Field Studies Centre
Langton Matravers
Swanage
Dorset
BH19 3EU

Phone: 01929 422126  
Email: leesonhouse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

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