At the start of his fellowship Barry assisted in the University Labs run for students at Auckland University. He helped students learn how to monitor the New Zealand Paddle Crab using an instrument called a Doppler which measures heart beat. The crabs’ environment was adjusted by slowly raising the temperature and heart rates were measured after every degree. The results of such experiments his help us to understand what environments the crabs inhabit, and which temperatures are optimal for their survival. He also helped second year students dissect fish of various varieties to calculate the muscle mass of the different spices. In another laboratory Barry helped students who had to dissect a wheat beetle and draw scientific diagrams showing its anatomy.
Working alongside the University staff, Barry had the opportunity to attend two field trips. The first was at the Miranda Seashore Centre which is a bird sanctuary. Barry studied habits of native birds interacting with each other. Secondly Barry was assisted students with experiments they could undertake whilst at the centre.
In attending a conference, Barry was lucky enough to observe how various trusts operate together with the aim of ensuring the conservation of local flora and fauna. As well as gaining some understanding of the factual elements of conservation Barry was also able to connect his new learning in a way where it could be taken back to the classroom. The conference finished off with a dive at the Poor Knights Islands to cement the concept of why we have Marine Reserves which allowed Barry to gain his snorkel instructors certificate.
Barry discovered Toxic Sea Slugs thought to reside only on the beaches of the North Shore and Manukau Harbour during his fellowship. He discovered these specimens in the Eastern beaches of Auckland. After alerting the appropriate authorities Barry was put in touch with Paul McNabb who is based at the Cawthron Institute and who is in charge of researching the habits of these sea slugs. Having his own specimens, Barry was able to discuss some of breading information and behaviours of the creatures, thus adding to the research information the Institute had gathered.
As a result of his experience during his fellowship, Barry has set up touch tanks in two classrooms and has taken specimens to other classes as an identification exercise. He is constantly reflecting on his fellowship with the aim of weaving more and better science in to his classroom teaching programmes, and hoping to share these with others in his school.