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Head of the Bight the gateway to Marine Paradise


Vanessa Greenslade

We excitedly headed off to the Head of Bight this morning. This is the eastern end of where the Great Australian Bight begins and where you can see the Southern Right Whales calving during winter.

On the way we took a quick detour to another beach where we started to learn about the fascinating things living in the ocean. After about 10 mins of collecting we were able to separate some of our findings into seaweeds and algae. We learnt the seaweeds are like flowering plants but algae, of which there are many, don’t flower. We also had a specimen that looked like a plant but was actually an animal! It is known as a hydroid and is related to a jellyfish. This led to a lesson on evolution and how sea sponges are some of the simplest organisms found. Then as you move along the scale you get to crustaceans (like the little shrimps and isopods), the molluscs (mussels) and the echinoderms (sea urchins).

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Two hours later we got back to the main road and continued our journey! The head of the Bight was quite spectacular with beautiful white sand hills extending to the east and dramatic cliffs to the west. Another amazingly deserted beach allowed for some sampling of more unusual looking seaweeds and algae’s as well as some very small marine crustaceans like isopods (they look like very small shrimps).

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The marine scientists also showed us how they record data about the biodiversity in the area by putting a square transect down ‘haphazardly’ then take photos of the area for processing later.

One interesting observation I made is in the photo – it is about the weather at the Bight – can you tell what the weather is like from the way the sand is shaped around the plants?

To finish our day off we picked up as much rubbish as we could – surprising to think that even though we are a long way from where people maybe littering the rubbish still gets swept in here so we were happy to do our bit and clean this beautiful beach.

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Question for the day: what does a hydroid look like? Do you think it is similar to a coral?