The Joys of Welsh

Helo! Croeso i Gymru.

(that’s Welsh for Hello! Welcome to Wales.)

Wales (RED) within the United Kingdom

I can’t say that we received those welcoming words directly, but we have certainly enjoyed observing the intricacies (or should I say idiosyncracies?) of the Welsh language. For example, Wales holds the record for longest train station name in the UK:


I’ll let you take a minute to count how many vowels there are…13 total.  And as a side note, hyphens are usually excluded.

Telford Bridge from Bangor to Anglesey

All nonsense aside, let me introduce myself and the “we” that I have mentioned.  My name is Lara Gates, and I am a 3rd-year Master’s student at VIMS.  I am working with professor Mark Luckenbach on a project concerning production and energy flow associated with clam aquaculture.

Mark is the director of the VIMS Eastern Shore Lab (ESL) in Wachapreague, VA.  He has been leading a marine science exchange program between Bangor University in Wales and VIMS for a few years now.  This year, he and Jim Perry, a VIMS professor who specializes in wetland ecology, are co-leading a trip of 13 VIMS and William and Mary students on a field course in Wales.

And lastly, we students are:  Annie Murphy, Danny Kaufman, Dan Rowen, Dominique Paxton, Gar Secrist, Heather Richardson, Jordan Salyers, Laila Rosenthal, Lara Gates, Nola Liu, Sean Charles, Shenandoah Raycroft, and Stephanie Kane.

After a cumulative total of 39 flights between the east coast and Manchester airport, we finally ALL arrived in Wales.  Needless to say, our start was slow, but it has made us all the more eager to explore the unique biology and geology that this region has to offer. The juxtaposition of the Snowdonia mountains, the Irish sea, the wettest maritime climate in Europe, and the dynamic 6-meter tides has contributed significantly to the heartiness and diversity exhibited by many of the environments here in Wales.

Observing the intertidal zone

The purpose of our trip is to observe and explore some of these marine environments. We will be listening to lectures, applying those lectures during daily field trips, and delving into ecological specifics in the lab.  We will be posting regularly throughout the trip and would love for you to follow along as we learn and discover.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions:

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy following!

Photos and updates will be available shortly.


About David Malmquist

David Malmquist is the Director of Communications at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.
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