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Year 11 Biology students carry out field investigations

At 6.30am on Wednesday 26 October, four teachers and 71 Year 11 Biology students departed on an exciting two-day field investigation to Hasting’s Point, New South Wales, where a number of different Ecosystems exist.

Our students visited three Ecosystems; a Rock Platform, influenced by tidal inundation where they investigated the profile of the rock platform and pools. A Mangrove Ecosystem, where students took to kayaking along the creeks recording observations on the various types of mangroves, in certain areas under differing conditions. Thirdly, a Coastal Sand Dune Ecosystem where they ran a 120m transect from the beach, up over the dunes into the rain forest area, noting the change in species and conditions.

The field investigation on the three ecosystems provided the opportunity for our Year 11 students to collect a range of biotic data (pertaining to living things) about species diversity, populations and distribution. Plus abiotic data (non-living) such as surface and air temperature, wind speed, substrate (ground) composition, salinity and relative humidity to name a few. Students were essentially investigating real world examples of the theory about adaption, zonation and ecological succession that they have been learning in class.

Our Year 11 Biology students will be analysing this data and producing a report comparing the ecological processes that take place and have formed in two of the three studied ecosystems. Students are able to select which two ecosystems they wish to focus upon. Their report will be their assessment for this particular unit of work in Biology. An extremely worthwhile exercise giving our students the opportunity to investigate first hand.

Glen Henville
Secondary School Teacher