A group of over 70 AS Biology students recently made the trip to Ballyhornan Point in County Down in order to complete a rocky shore field study. The group was led by their teachers, Mr McKnight, Dr. Terris, Mr Glenn and Mrs. Lockhart ably supported by Isabel Hood. Isabel provided her expert knowledge on species identification and the skills and techniques required for efficient and successful sampling of the rocky shore.
Throughout the course of the day students were able to put into practice key elements AS course related to adaptation of organisms. The species recorded highlighted the key concept of how rocky shore species are adapted for life in the splash zone, upper shore, mid shore and lower shore. Students were able to identify the key features of numerous species that allowed them to cope with the prevailing conditions in the region of the shore that they inhabit. The abundance of sea weed and barnacle species also highlighted the species diversity that is often associated with a transition zone such as the rocky shore.
Great care was employed by students during the sampling of their transects as the rocks were sloppy and as they worked with the tide more rock pools became apparent were numerous small crabs and periwinkles could be seen and recorded in their results.
Following the sampling of species and a short walk along the coastline Isabel gave a short and informative review of the importance of systematic sampling and the key features of the rocky shore transition zone.
Before returning home students took the opportunity to clean up some areas of the beach as a great deal of plastic waste had been washed ashore following the storms during the winter months.
The group was lucky enough to have excellent weather for the whole day and there is no doubt that the experience will enhance the students understanding of this key topic as they prepare for their AS examinations.
Last modified: April 28, 2014