Retired Oxford professor Martin Speight presents on biodiversity


Photo credit: Grace Dieveney

Martin Speight presents about biodiversity in Hanna Robertson’s room. He is a former professor of zoology at Oxford University.

According to Merriam Webster, “biodiversity” is biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals.

Martin Speight, a retired professor from St. Anne’s College at Oxford University, presented to Archer girls about biodiversity at lunch on Monday, Feb. 12. Speight formerly taught zoology and marine zoology.

Speight is also the chairman of The Wallacea Trust, an organization that works to address the decline of environmental biodiversity found across the world’s poorest countries. Speight came to Archer as outreach to get more high school students involved in hands-on biodiversity research.

“[The Wallacea Trust] is a way for researchers to be connected with students to be able to provide support for research that is happening,” science teacher and Honors Research Coordinator Hanna Robertson said. “[They] provide educational opportunities for students to get out in the field and be a part of the data that is being collected.”

Robertson hopes to implement this service program as a new addition to Archer Abroad. However, due to the fact that Archer Abroad trips are typically planned year(s) in advance, a collaboration trip would be a few years in the future.

“[Hands on education] is something that I think is extremely important for science education.” Robertson said.

In his presentation, Speight spoke about collecting data specifically from the field of the environment and how to ensure that you are getting the best results over a long period of time.

After the presentation, which covered things from fish to a newly found species of butterfly, Speight answered questions and gave advice to the students.