Field Training in California 2017

By Claire Asher

After a lot of hard work, the London NERC DTP cohort 3 have submitted their project proposals, and it’s finally time to take a break from the computer and get out into the field for the #DTPCalifornia Field Training Course 2017!

Composite male Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbia) skeleton in the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Image by Waheed Arshad.

Our 10-day field course aims to give the first-year PhD students a broad introduction to field sciences, including planning, preparation and teaching, as well as practical skills for studying biology and geology in the field. After the success of last year’s student-led field trip, we’ve given the students control of the trip again. It’s been their job to plan the itinerary, prepare over 45 teaching sessions, organise meetings and visits with local academics, and produce a field guide, all with the help of staff members from across the DTP. Out in California, the students will run their planned sessions themselves, passing on their specialist knowledge to the rest of the group, and offering the students the chance to learn from other disciplines.

Why California?

A rock formation at Joshua Tree National Park.
Image copyright Dani Rabaiotti.

For the third year running, our field course will be exploring the geology and biology of California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. California was chosen for the wealth of scientific interest it holds, from giant red woods in Sequoia National Park, to the incredible fossil collection at La Brea, the Plutonic geology of Mt San Jacinto, and the remarkable desert ecosystem of the Mojave desert.

California offers the students the chance to cover topics ranging from conservation to ecology, marine biology, botany, structural geology, tectonics, sedimentation, anthropology, palaeontology, palaeoecology, evolution, entomology, hydrology, natural hazards, fault geology, animal behaviour, sexual selection, land use, environmental pollution, and more!

Over the next two weeks, while we are enjoying the incredible geological and biological sites of California, here we’ll be posting some short blogs by the students on their experiences of the California field course.

Here’s a map of our planned itinerary:

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