My course allowed me to discover the research area I'm most interested in

Laura Sophia Landon Blake
Laura Sophia Landon Blake
Research project: the effects of invasive species on the ecological communities they enter
MBiolSci Zoology
Laura has loved the flexibility of her zoology course, allowing her to discover a research area that she's passionate about. For her integrated masters project, Laura is looking at the effects of invasive species on the ecological communities they enter.
Laura Sophia Landon Blake

What made you decide to study MBiolSci Zoology at Sheffield?

In addition to offering a great range of hands-on experience in the field and lab from day one, a main contributor in choosing Sheffield were the friendly people inside and out of university. Moving here from abroad I knew that I would love being here for the duration of my course and maybe a bit longer.

What are you enjoying the most about the course?

The course is really flexible which has allowed me to find a research area I am most interested in. In second year, I discovered a great interest for community ecology and ever since I have loved being able to fuel that interest. Our lecturers love to share their knowledge and if you are keen to learn they will gladly provide you with opportunities beyond your modules and coursework.

What are you doing for your integrated masters research project?

My research project looks at the effects of invasive species on the ecological communities they enter. By simulating entry of an invader into a food web we can analyse how the newly formed interactions with the native species effect the community and ask for example, does the invasion cause extinctions and is the community able to persist and function properly despite it?

What skills are you developing during your course?

During the past four years I’ve been able to hone a lot of skills ranging from concise communication, to taking out field surveys and finding a way to structure my own learning in a way that suits me best. I’m particularly proud to have learned multiple coding languages – something I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do – which I have used during multiple research projects and to make custom colour palettes for my plots.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

I am hoping to continue my research career and after a short break I will be applying for PhD positions. 

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying Zoology at Sheffield?

Do it. It’s absolutely worth it.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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