Environmental science students at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University have enjoyed a number of exciting field trips in recent weeks.

A group of Year Three students led by Dr Bailiang Li, Dr Zheng Chen and Yili Cheng from the department visited Xiapu County in China’s Fujian Province to investigate land use and water quality on a field trip that was part of the modules on the BSc Environmental Science degree programme.

Dr Li said: “The main aim of organising the field trip was to let students understand the source, driving force and situation of marine pollution.”

Students took water samples from Yangjia River and Dayushan Island and made comprehensive analysis. They analysed pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, nitrate and ammonia.

“During this field trip, students were taught how to think and act as an environmental researcher. When staying in village that produces seaweed, the students were curious about the influence of seaweed cultivation on water quality. They bought seaweed from the local villagers for lab analysis and had deep conversations with them about the culture process of seaweed,” said Dr Chen.

Meanwhile, a group of Year Two students from the department took part in a field trip to Mount Huangshan, which was led by Dr Yixin Zhang and Dr Eduardo Medina-Roldan.

Dr Zhang said the objective of the field trip was to allow students to gain field skills in conducting aquatic ecosystem surveys and terrestrial riparian zone surveys, which focus on the transition zones between aquatic and terrestrial systems.

During the field trip, students investigated five sites. Originally, they had planned to get samples from rivers. However, the rain was so heavy that they sampled aquatic habitats and benthic invertebrates, organisms that live on the bottom of a water body, from streams. Additionally, they also sampled terrestrial riparian plants.

A meeting with the local forestry bureau was also organised during the field trip to discuss forest protection. Staff from the bureau praised XJTLU students by saying they were more “active and open-minded” compared with students from traditional Chinese universities and that they were “concerned about social and ecological environment protection problems”.

Dr Zhang also praised the students on the trip saying they were actively involved in the field investigation and meeting, and that they worked very hard throughout.

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