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Marine Biology 101


Sarah Todd

It's 9.30pm and I've just arrived back from a day out with the marine biologists, particularly interested in the intertidal zone.

I've learnt lots of new marine terminology today, wrack (anything washed up), Isopods (invertebrate), swash (water washing into shore), surf zone and many more...

I particularly found it interesting to find the "names" for shells and sea grass along the beach that I had generalised as "shells" or "seaweed" was in fact a lot more complicated than that. I began to understand how these shells were from the class Bivalvia, or were bivalves because of their two shell like structure joined by a hinge. They have a foot for locomotion and some open front ways and some open at the side.

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I learnt about how limpets are a group of aquatic snails that can sense strong waves approaching and increase their suction on the rock mass they have attached to and release this suction to filter feed.

We watched the marine biologists complete "haphazard sampling", which is non-biased sampling method of sampling 10 random quadrants along the shoreline. The biologists take four quadrant corner photos and describe the diversity for community analysis. They then complete a presence and absence species list, the data collected often depends on the exposure of the shore line.

The 3 hour round trip drive was absolutely worth it... (our total day was 12 hours on the road) we stood on the cliffs at "Head of Bight", the most northern extent of the Great Australian Bight and saw two wedge tailed eagles enjoying the picturesque scenery with us. Wow... Something I had never seen before... What an adventure this trip has been.

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