Marine Rocky Shore Ecology Intertidal Survey - shore... · Rocky Shore Intertidal Survey Marine Ecology…

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<ul><li><p>Activity 4 </p><p>Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning EU Network of Excellence </p><p>Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems </p><p>GOCE-CT-2003-505446 </p><p>Rocky Shore </p><p>Intertidal </p><p>Survey </p><p> Marine </p><p> Ecology </p><p>LEVEL 1 </p><p>The seashore will give you a taste of the diversity of life in the sea. The transition from </p><p>a fully aquatic marine environment to fully terrestrial conditions occurs within a few </p><p>hundred meters at the most and often less than 10m. Therefore the shore is a sharp </p><p>environmental gradient. Neither the seaweeds nor the animals found on the beach are </p><p>scattered haphazardly over the shore! Instead they occur in distinct zones - </p><p>i.e. seashore zonation - you will notice species occurring in bands along the shore. </p><p>The major underlying variables influencing the distribution of shore plants and animals </p><p>are height on the shore in relation to the tide level (Tidal height) and exposure to </p><p>wave action (Exposure). Both of these can be termed as environmental stresses. </p><p>This means that it is very often possible to describe the distribution of a species on a </p><p>shore in relation to a stress such as the tidal height. </p><p>Here we will show you how to carry out a very simple transect down the shore </p><p>examining the abundance of rocky shore organisms and how to analyse these results. </p><p>[Sample answers are provided to allow students who do not have access to the shore to </p><p>analyse a data set.] </p><p>First we must quickly go over the basics: </p><p>Choosing a transect A transect is a slice down the shore through the different zones. It is subdivided into </p><p>stations, or sampling positions , where plants and animals are counted and studied. If </p><p>possible choose a shore of unbroken bedrock which gently slopes seawards. </p><p>Here we will examine only 3 stations along a transect - one in each of the three main </p><p>zones - upper, mid and lower shore. These zones can be identified by the different </p><p>seaweed species present or by visiting the shore at extreme low tide to determine the </p><p>lower shore and then dividing the shore into three sections. </p><p>Funding was provided by the Heritage Council in Ireland to try and test the intertidal survey methods </p><p>with two coastal schools in Ireland. The surveys were carried under the supervision of two marine </p><p>biologists from EcoServe and Marine Dimensions under the project title InterEST. </p></li><li><p>Activity 4 </p><p>Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning EU Network of Excellence </p><p>Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems </p><p>GOCE-CT-2003-505446 </p><p>Intertidal </p><p>Survey </p><p> Marine </p><p> Ecology </p><p>Levelling the shore The simplest, cheapest and least accurate method but sufficient for this study is to use </p><p>two cane poles of 1.5 and 1m. By sighting from the 1m pole to the top of the 1.5m pole </p><p>and hence to the sea horizon so that all three are level, gives a vertical drop of 0.5m. </p><p>Some red insulating tape at the top and at 0.5m intervals is a help. </p><p>horizon </p><p>1.5m cane </p><p>1m </p><p>0.5m difference </p><p>An example of a shore profile with 3 different transects. </p></li><li><p>Activity 4 </p><p>Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning EU Network of Excellence </p><p>Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems </p><p>GOCE-CT-2003-505446 </p><p>Intertidal </p><p>Survey </p><p> Marine </p><p> Ecology </p><p>Assessing Abundance There are two kinds of sampling: destructive and non-destructive. In destructive </p><p>sampling, plants and animals are removed from quadrats on the shore. Non-destructive </p><p>sampling is preferable and is used here. Where the majority of species are identified in </p><p>the field. </p><p> Don't just count the species present - OBSERVE them! Consider the role of these spe-</p><p>cies and note what the species is doing: </p><p> Is it stuck to the rock, or moving? </p><p> Is it interacting (perhaps feeding on) another species? </p><p> How do you think this species feeds? </p><p> Make notes on these aspects alongside your records for each station. </p><p>The abundance of each species down the shore helps to reveal relationships between </p><p>the organisms and the physical character of the shore. </p></li></ul>

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