College Biology Classes Study Rocky Shore

March 23, 2016 at 12:16 PM

With thanks to Head of Science, Mr Simon Walker

The study of biology often requires students to take to the field to look at nature in situ. To truly understand how life behaves requires an observation of animals and plants in their natural environment; and there is a great deal of marine life on the shorelines of New Zealand that can be easily studied.

Saint Kenitigern students travelled to North Head, a volcanic cone which gently slopes down into the waters of the inner Hauraki Gulf. This rocky outcrop contains an abundance of small invertebrates which can be used to better understand the relationships of inter-tidal organisms and the adaptations they possess to survive in a challenging habitat.

Using line transects and quadrats the students were able to collect the necessary data to establish distribution and abundance patterns. To learn these standardised field techniques is a requirement for any student wishing to study further in ecology, which itself leads to an ability to grapple with local and global issues related to biodiversity and conservation. This practical work is of incredible importance, given the precarious state of the environment and our need to maintain ecosystems for our future prosperity (let alone that of other living things).

The windy and overcast conditions made it a quite difficult task, as did the surge coming up onto the rocks despite the low tide. However, as intrepid young scientists the students managed to collect the necessary data with enough time to enter into the old tunnels and fortifications built into this significant feature of the Auckland landscape. The urban environment, both old and new, sit within a natural landscape that was here before we arrived. We have a responsibility to better understand that which is around us, so that it might be best preserved for those that come after us. 

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