Biology Field Studies
Our biology programmes are designed to
help the students develop the skills and techniques they would need to complete their own project. They will learn the process of investigation and how abiotic and biotic factors are linked.
We have an extremely diverse range of habitats on site, including our own loch, which gives us the means to conduct a huge variety of studies right here on site. We offer courses both on a day visit and residential basis.
For more detail on each course, download our Biology Programme Guide.
The Aigas estate is home to a whole host of freshwater habitats. We have the Aigas Loch which is currently home to a population of beavers, and a number of streams on site which allows us to offer a variety of field studies relating to velocity and substrate type. We take a number of biotic and abiotic measurements in the loch and the stream which allows a comparison to be made between the two habitats. We also look at the adaptations of the organisms in those habitats and let the students identify the organisms using dichotomous keys.
We have a number of managed and unmanaged grassland habitats on site. Some are managed through mowing, others are grazed and some areas are natural and unmanaged. Our grassland studies compare two areas in order to see the effects management has on the diversity of grassland plants. We also focus on how to identify different plants using key identification features.
We have deciduous and coniferous woodland habitats on site. Some of which are natural, and others have been planted. Having a number of woodland habitats allows us to study the differences in flora and fauna diversity in the woodland habitats, along with looking into the history of forestry and woodland management throughout Scotland.
We have extensive areas of moorland at Aigas; this allows us to study the flora and fauna which inhabit it. Our moorland has been inhabited by human beings since the Bronze Age and therefore we can also teach the students about the importance of moorland habitats from 4000 years ago to the present day.
We can also cover elusive species monitoring and wildlife conservation. We are part of a wildcat breeding programme here at Aigas and although is it not possible for the students to see the cats, we can teach the techniques we use to monitor local populations of mammals. We mainly do this through camera trapping and tracking. We have three hides on site which are visited by an array of garden and woodland birds in the day and pine martens, badgers, and owls in the evening. We have wild otters which regularly visit our loch, along with a captive population of beavers. The students can see the beaver lodge and the other signs that they have left behind.
We also teach statistics!