11 Biology Microbiology Field Trip

Thursday 30th June 2016

In which students discover the importance of brushing two minutes, twice a day and other salient microbial related material


The Year 11 'zombiologists' (you'll have to ask a student) have been delving into the curious, secretive world of microbes. To this end we attended a laboratory session run by the knowledgeable Judith Bateup at the University of Otago. At various stations the class learnt about concepts such as electron microscopy, the importance of microbes in food and alcohol production and microbial processes. Particular highlights for students were the yeast sniffing bags (yum!) and who knew that microbes were essential to the production of tea, coffee AND chocolate? Stage two of the session involved examination of pond water samples. This revealed a plethora of interesting creatures from the dynamic rotifers with their curious duel spinning heads which resembled minuscule electric shavers and the more sedate worm-like creatures that oozed slowly but almost with purposeful intent across the microscope slides. The students then examined their own microbial biome in the form of an analysis of the plaque covering their own teeth. It was shocking to see how one’s own mouth was a microcosm teeming with the life of foreign species. We would like to thank Judith Bateup and her team for providing this wonderful opportunity to get a deeper insight into the microbial world.

Sam and Nick examining the life found in pond water
Sam gets up close and personal with the bacteria living on his teeth