Harsh realities of life as a penguin highlights our responsibility to the planet

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With all eyes expected to be on the television this Sunday evening, we take a closer look at the wonderful new BBC series Dynasties, and how the University of Plymouth could inspire you to get involved with wildlife.

Dynasties - episode two, Emperor penguins

"The Emperor penguin colony has to battle to survive the cruellest winter on earth – and can only do so through teamwork. Four thousand male penguins join forces in a huddle that creates a giant incubator for their eggs. After two months the eggs hatch and the females return to relieve the starving males and feed the new chick. The parents then take it in turns to go and feed and bring back food for their young. And eventually, the chicks are old enough to adopt their father’s survival strategy – by forming their own mini huddles when blizzards threaten to freeze them."

The next episode of Dynasties on will be shown on BBC1, 8pm, on Sunday 25 November.

How tall is an Emperor Penguin?

Scientific name: Aptenodytes forsteri
Group: Bird
Family: Spheniscidae
Ancestors: Waimanu
Average size: 1.2 metres tall
Average weight: 30–40kg
Average life span: 15–20 years
Diet: Fish, krill, squid
Habitat: Antarctic ice-sheets. Emperor penguins are only found in the Antarctic, which is a challenging climate to live in. Temperatures can drop to -50°C and the winds reach speeds of 200km/hr.

Feeling inspired?

Shape your own destiny

With the third episode set to be shown this Sunday, the latest BBC Earth series, Dynasties, is yet again reminding us of nature's ongoing struggle with the environment, as well as bringing a tear to our eyes.

For years, Sir David Attenborough and his dedicated camera crews and producers have revealed parts of the world and habitats never seen before, and places we are unlikely to visit in our lifetimes, all brought to the comfort of our living rooms.

Those magical scenes we enjoy each week, and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, may not be out of your reach with the University of Plymouth.

From Animal Welfare and Behaviour to Biological Sciences and Marine Biology as well as Zoo Conservation Biology, the University offers courses for everyone with a passion for animals, the science behind the welfare and Film & Television Production.

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We guide you along the way and inspire your future by giving you the chance to explore wildlife in fascinating locations through placements and international study, the opportunity to take part in rehabilitation, to discover the evolution of animal behaviour and much more.

Graduates and alumni share their stories of success and life-changing experiences...

Danielle Farah – BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare graduate

"The two most exciting parts of my career to date have been working in South Africa rehabilitating wild African seabirds and working in Dubai with King and Gentoo penguins." 

Read more about Danielle's journey since graduating

Lianne Ottewell visiting the bears

Lianne's dream placement to China inspired her to save moon bears held in captivity and after graduating from Plymouth, she began working in the UK offices of Animals Asia in 2017 as a Senior Supporter Care Executive. 

“Find something you love and pursue it. This is what I did. My passion for animals as a child grew into a fulfilling career that allows me to help rescued bears.”

Discover more about Lianne's story

Coral Jonas

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Study ocean science at Plymouth

The BSc (Hons) Ocean Science and Marine Conservation course is one of a suite of three specialist BSc courses and one MSci in the marine science undergraduate scheme. The scheme allows flexibility and transfer between course up until the end of Year 2.

The marine science undergraduate scheme consists of:

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Discover Film & Television Production

We offer a focused creative media course in which you produce both factual and fictional content.

  • Experience all roles in our multi-cam TV studio and gallery.
  • Shoot in our infinity cove studio and use our postproduction facilities.
  • Develop ideas from concept to production.
  • Meet and work with industry professionals.
  • Design and run our own online TV channel.

Film & Television Production at the University of Plymouth

Win a copy of ‘Dynasties: The Rise and Fall of Animal Families’

Have you been enjoying the new BBC TV series, Dynasties? In celebration of the fascinating series, the Faculty of Science and Engineering are offering you the chance to win one of five copies of the accompanying book ‘Dynasties: The Rise and Fall of Animal Families’!

To enter our competition: Simply upload your best animal photograph on Twitter, tagging @SciEngPlymUni on Twitter or plymscieng on Instagram, and use the following hashtags: #PlymUniWildlife #Dynasties. We can't wait to see your photos. 

The competition closes at 22.00 on Sunday 9 December 2018.