This event happened in the past (2019 edition)

Nature Day – Gallery Stage

This is an event from the 2019 edition

Join us in the Gallery for a range of free, drop-in talks on our natural world, from local wildlife to the impact of climate change on the Antarctic. First come, first served.


Emma’s Antarctic Adventure: Algae and Climate Change on the High Seas
Age: 10+

We all need oxygen to live, but did you know that half of our oxygen comes from microscopic algae called phytoplankton in the ocean? Come and find out about the most important organisms you’ve never heard of and Emma’s trip to Antarctica to sequence their DNA. Come and hear about phytoplankton, DNA sequencing, life on board a research ship, and why you should never annoy a fur seal.

In January 2019, Emma Langan set off for six weeks on board the RRS Discovery with a pocket-sized DNA sequencing machine to find out more about the phytoplankton that live in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Phytoplankton are microscopic algae which produce half of the planet’s oxygen, provide energy for fish and marine mammals, and drive nutrient and carbon cycles. They help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and as a result slow down climate change, but climate change is making it harder for them to survive.

We need to learn more about phytoplankton to really understand climate change, and one of the ways we are doing this is using DNA sequencing. By sequencing their DNA, we can see which species live where and how they change as the environment changes. Emma’s work is about using a portable DNA sequencing machine called a Nanopore MinION, which is smaller than a mobile phone, to study polar phytoplankton.

Emma Langan is a PhD student at the University of East Anglia and the Earlham Institute on the Norwich Research Park. She works on DNA sequencing of polar microbes, using the portable Oxford Nanopore MinION DNA sequencer to carry out sequencing in the field.

Earlham Institute
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Why Do we Play Games?
Age: 15+

The science of play holds the secrets to the next generation of learning!

Find out why we play games and the how they make us better learners with Jake Montanarini, whose talk will show you how games can help us change the world.

Jake Montanarini is a postgraduate research student at Norwich University of the Arts, and an alumnus of the University of East Anglia.


Migratory Birds in a Changing World
Age: 7+

Migratory birds undertake phenomenal journeys every year searching for food and the right weather conditions. However, changes to the environment – from climate change to urbanisation – are putting these journeys at risk.

Swoop in, take a perch and find out how cutting edge research at UEA is uncovering how birds are coping in this changing world.

Katharine Rogerson is a PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

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Unlocking the Dangerous Secrets of Thwaites Glacier
Age: 12+

Thwaites Antactic ExpeditionIn early 2019, thirty scientists sailed to the Amundsen Sea, making their way to the 75 mile long ice cliff that marks the seaward boundary of Thwaites glacier. Thwaites alone holds enough ice to raise the sea level by two feet, but we know little about the processes that determine its stability. Join UEA’s Dr Peter Sheehan as he shares the things that he and his colleagues learned on their two-month glacier adventure on a voyage to the bottom of the Earth.

Dr Peter Sheehan is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

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Shifting Sands: Brecks Wildlife and Ecology
Age: 7+

Shifting Sands
An introduction to the unique ecology and habitats of the Brecks, and the incredible biodiversity that they sustain.

Learn more about the rare plants and animals living in East Anglia, and how the Shifting Sands project is working to bring them Back from the Brink of extinction.

Shifting Sands is a partnership of 12 conservation organisations, led by Natural England.


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Tuesday 22 October
Venue: The Forum’s Gallery
Cost: Free, drop-in