Senior Biology Students Explore Coastal Ecosystems

Year 11 Biology students recently headed to the beach to complete field work for their depth study.  We visited Dudley to survey some of the different abiotic and biotic factors of the beach, while doing so we were able to see the fossilised forest which was a really amazing experience. Mrs Chaumont pointed out all of the redder coloured rocks with the patterns in them which looked like the bark of a tree had been carved into them. Many of the fossils were sticking out of the rock pools which we discovered were actually fossils of trees that had been created millions of years ago after a volcano erupted. We then hopped back on the bus to go to Merewether Beach to continue to develop our ecosystem surveying skills. At Merewether we used a wide variety of science equipment including an anemometer (measuring the wind speed) and quadrats placed over the rock pools to count organisms. Even though we were there at low tide some of us still were harassed by the ocean filling our shoes full of water. 

It was astonishing to see all of the different organisms that lived in the rock pools, you don’t realise how abundant life is there until you actually look closely and start to take notice. There were so many different types of creatures that covered the area from simple sea anemones and algae, to sea snails claiming their homes on various rocks. We were able to see interesting adaptations from the snails that lived in the lower tidal zones which were more spread out and on the tops of rocks, while others that lived in the high tidal zones made their homes in crevices and grouped together to stop themselves from being washed away and becoming dried out as the tide recedes. 

Overall it was an amazing clear day to visit the beach, and the cold winds didn’t matter too much as we were busy running around all day keeping us warm.  It’s definitely a highlight to Year 11 Biology and something to look forward to for all future biologists. 

Riley T (11Z)