ARKive is a centralised global library of films and photographs of endangered species, is freely accessible to all via the Internet. Based and run from Bristol, it is hailed as the International Noah’s Ark of the 21st Century and has won numerous awards and accolades. Through their Universities Scheme, ARKive provided students from the University of Bristol with the exciting opportunity to become involved. Students studying relevant subjects at university were able to research and write ARKive species profiles as part of the assessed coursework for their degrees. They each received an individual species name that ARKive wanted researched. Then each student had a week to research and write this species’ profile, after which ARKive editors would mark these and provide some written feedback. ARKive was then able to do the finishing touches and use those student submissions deemed good enough on their website. In 2014, a total of 220 second-year students studying biology and zoology took part in the scheme and it was a great success, giving students a fantastic opportunity to put into practice, and further develop, the research and writing skills they gained throughout their course, and see their work published online.
The benefits of working on units such as this are great; they teach transferable skills, including scientific writing and presentation skills as well as offering experience in writing for the media, all of which are incredibly useful for Biological Sciences graduates.
“I enjoyed the ARKive activity – learning about new species and developing my skills in researching and using resources well. I became more confident after completing the tasks in this unit.”
Student feedback on taking part in the ARKive project
The most famous names in wildlife film making, major broadcasters (including Bristol’s BBC Natural History unit), the biggest film and photo libraries and leading academic institutions continue to collaborate and donate copies of their records to ARKive. Films and photographs are one of the most emotive and powerful means of raising public awareness, and ARKive utilises this to convey the conservation message to some 25,000 visitors a day from over 170 countries.
More than 2000 species have now been ARKived, but this is just the start: There are more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction world-wide and ARKive’s priority is to complete film and image records of these as quickly as possible, in order to raise awareness of the fragile existence of these species, and thereby promote conservation action to help ensure their long-term survival. However, this is a massive undertaking and takes a lot of time and expertise.
This particular project has ended but if you’d like to find out more about other ways to get involved with the Biological Sciences department at the University, please get in touch for more information.