Orielton Marine Biology Field Trip
This residential field trip uses shore-based techniques to sample marine habitats. You will learn techniques for the identification of marine organisms, and gain experience in the analysis and presentation of ecological data.
We will be based in Orielton Field Centre, an impressive Georgian mansion situated in over 100 acres of mixed woodland on the Castlemartin Peninsula. This peninsula provides us with access to a wide variety of coastal habitats and boasts a rich history in marine biology research.
Themes of the field course:
- Taxonomy and identification of marine organisms
- Intertidal and shallow sea ecology
- Teamwork and individual responsibility
- Critical thinking
A typical itinerary could include:
Sandy shore transect
The objective of this exercise is to record the distribution of infauna in relation to tidal level and sediment profile. Six transect lines will be laid out down the beach, from the strand line to low water mark. Each group will work one transect line, sampling eight or nine stations, with the number depending on low water level.
Seine netting: Temporal variation in habitat use on a sandy shore
Different animal species can coexist in the same habitat without directly competing by using the habitat in a different way. This might be by exploiting different sized food resources (resource partitioning) or by exploiting the same resource but at different times (temporal resource partitioning).
Sheltered rocky shore / Exposed rocky shore
You will be assigned into small groups to design your own field work research question. You will answer this question from data collected on the rocky shores in the scheduled activities, or through additional data collection.
The class will be surveying two different sites: a sheltered rocky shore and an exposed rocky shore. Your group will also be assigned an organism for your project; you will use the collected data to answer a question, for example, how does the distribution change as a result of shore height? Or how does shell shape change as a result of exposure? Be creative! Think about what might influence these organisms; their physiology, behaviour, distribution, etc.