A group of Prep boys enjoyed a fascinating talk from Lower Sixth Former, James Deardon on Wednesday 3 February as he took time out of his studies to introduce them to the world of reef keeping.

While James adapted his presentation (originally given to the Upper School’s Biology Society) for his younger audience, it still gave the boys an excellent scientific introduction into corals, water chemistry, organisms and ecological relationships—all of which can be discovered by keeping a reef aquarium.

James explained, “I originally performed the presentation to the Upper School and felt that a Prep School audience could also very much benefit from it. As well as it being one of my personal hobbies, I feel that this topic is a perfect example of the application of science, and how what is learned in lessons can be applied to real-life situations outside the classroom. For me, this is vitally important for students to start developing passions for certain subjects, which hopefully sticks with them throughout their time at the school.” 

The boys left the talk buzzing with excitement about the many fascinating facts they had learned: from polyps to the algae that colour the coral to how reefs are dying out, and how you can help replenish your own corals through fragging. A highlight of the talk was the many incredible creatures discussed, from the ‘clean-up crews’ of hermit crabs, cleaner shrimps and sea snails that are a vital part of the reef’s ecosystem to the ‘nasty hitchhikers’, such as the pistol shrimp who fires bullets of bubbles at its foes. The bang that this incredible creature creates is, for a split second, 4800oC, nearly as hot as the surface of the sun, and is louder than the call of a blue whale.

Speaking afterwards, the Prep boys who had signed up for the lunchtime online talk commented, “Wow, that was amazing!” and that it was full of “good advice” for getting started in reef keeping.

Mr Mallalieu, Head of Science in the Prep School, told us, “We are enormously grateful to James for his brilliant talk. Talks from our Upper School boys and their involvement in many of our enrichment activities play an important role in enhancing the boys’ education. They are wonderful role models and inspire so many boys to follow in their footsteps.”

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