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Annual Biology Seashore Investigation – Life on Earth

On 19th & 20th June, as part of their investigations into ‘Life on Earth’, eighty eight National 4 & 5 Biology pupils from Banff Academy went on a field trip to Banff Links.

Pupils measured abiotic factors, and discovered the temperature in rock pools can be much higher than that of the open sea.

This causes problems for marine creatures placed in buckets and trays, so creatures must be returned to their correct habitat as soon as they’ve been identified.

Pupils conducted Line Transects. This involved checking what kind of plants and animals were found in different zones on the beach, and looking for interactions between living things in different zones of the rocky shore.

Pupils discovered that organisms that hold fast to rocks such as brown algae and barnacles are common all along the rocky shore.

Predators such as starfish are usually found in close proximity to their prey, which are mussels and periwinkles.

Pupils used quadrats to quantify organisms found in the low, mid and high shore and also in the splash zone.

The largest numbers of organisms and the greatest biodiversity was in the mid-shore.

Food was plentiful in the midshore and there were lots of rock pools in which to live. In contrast the high shore was very exposed and there were fewer rock pools on the low shore so living things risked getting swept away by the tide if they stayed on the low shore.

The trip concluded with a visit to Macduff Aquarium, where pupils were able to handle starfish and anemones.

Pupils watched hermit crabs ‘moving house’ into larger or better camouflaged shells.

The Aquarium staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Pupils received an interactive talk about different methods of fishing and which species of fish have healthy stocks and what can be done to maintain sustainability. The trip ended with everyone feeling more informed about the amazing biodiversity that is found on our very own doorstep.