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Natural History of Great Britain

February 8, 2016


From the jungles of Costa Rica to the Canyon Lake Gorge. Biology Professor Dr. Mark Gustafson has documented the flora and fauna of ecosystems around the world. His recent trip to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England allowed him to explore the ecology of Great Britain.

The college’s central location made it perfect for day trips and weekend getaways to places like Cambridge, Sherwood Forest, Stonehenge, Wales, and Scotland. For Dr. Gustafson, the beautiful woodlands, lakes, and mountains actually tell a story: the natural history of the land. Plate tectonics, fault lines, ancient oceans, and the Ice Age all shaped the landscape we see today.

Harlaxton College


As a visiting professor, Dr. Gustafson taught three courses including the Fundamentals of Biology, History of Life, and Natural History of The British Isles. He and his students also created an iNaturalist project where they documented 166 species of plants, animals, and fungi found in the forests and fields surrounding campus.

West Highland Way 

This stone bridge is one of many along the West Highland Way—a 96-mile trail running from just north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Dr. Gustafson and his family walked the trail over a seven-day period.

Scottish Mountains

Created by the collision of tectonic plates and later carved by glaciers.

Sherwood Forest 

(Yes, the one from Robin Hood) Located in Nottinghamshire, the forest is an area of high biodiversity. It’s now a Natural Nature Reserve and home to ancient trees like this one. Some of the older trees are estimated to be around 900 years old.

Valley in Wales 

This perfectly curved valley indicates a glacier scoured through at one point.