Science Week 2021: Take a coastal Rock Platform Pool Tour to see what's in the sea - for youngsters
We've put some great stuff on offer for you to do this week, Science Week, in your page this Issue, some of which can be done in your own backyard. Your teachers will have great lessons and stories for you too - for sure.
Science Week reminded me that a few years ago we took a Coastal Platform Tour organised by the Learn2Swim program at Narrabeen Rockpool and how much enjoyment my brothers and I used to get exploring those rock pools beside the beaches or along the shores of the bays. Seeing crabs, sea anemones, starfish - all kinds of small and wondrous sea creatures was great fun and hearing about what they did and how they eat or are food for other sea creatures was very interesting.
As you and your mum and dad may like to do one of these as an outdoor exercise this week, we thought we'd put together some of the great creatures we found out about then, along with others some of the great people who help put the PON together have sent in - we all seemed to have had the same idea at the same time.
There's also some great pictures and explanations about these sea creatures here, so you can 'meet some of the other locals' on our shores and in our aquatic reserves. The only thing you need to be careful about is listening to mum and dad when in these places as, even though they'll probably choose to go at low tide there can still be waves or slippery parts, putting these creatures back into the water where you find them if you want to pick them up to have a closer look, and wetting your hands before you do as this makes it 'gentler' for those sea creatures themselves.
There's also some more 'sea stuff' at the base of this page for you to read and look at too.
Ok - here we go:
Sea Snails: same as garden snails almost; they are herbivores; eat algae and the beautiful patterns of their tracks we see in the sand that gathers on the rocks is their movement in search of this food. This is what they look like:
Above - Sea snail track Patterns
Sea Stars: camouflage themselves by becoming same colour as rocks they are on. Will also ‘grab a lift’ off the sea snails by attaching themselves as snails are faster then them. This is what they look like:
Sea anemone: these felt a bit slimy and soft in places. This what they look like:
Starfish; can flip over as has all these legs when we put them on their backs; eating a bit of octopus in this photo. A 'flip back over demonstration' by Sally and one that was bright red-orange:
Chiton: has an articulated shell. They are small to large marine molluscs, and are sometimes called 'sea cradles' or 'coat of mail shells. “Looks like a cockroach!” said one of the children. This is what they look like:
Clam: a burrowing bivalve of the mollusc family. This is what they look like:
Elephants snail (mollusc): named for the way they swing their tentacles from side to side; This is what they look like from on top and from underneath:
Sea Hare (Hairy Sea Slug): they have a soft body, a small internal shell and large 'wings' or parapodia, which can be used for swimming. They too are molluscs. This is what they look like out of and in the water:
While handling these molluscs without shells Sally said: “wet your hands first and then you won't hurt them. They live in the water and get sick if out of it too long"
Sea Squirts or Congee boys: prehistoric, very important to the rock platform as they are filter feeders and clean everything up. You can see them squirting like fountains in rows off the rock shelf where it meets the sea. Important not to squeeze them and make them spurt as they are storing water for low tides. They are chordates; like us! This is what they look like:
Sea scallops: are in the mollusc group called 'bivalves'. The name "scallop" is derived from the Old French escalope, which means "shell". This is what they look like:
Periwinkles: these are a small edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc that has gills and an operculum and have dark or black coloured shells. This is what they look like:
Neptune’s Necklace (sea plants): like all plants, even sea ones, they need sunlight to photosynthesise and this is why you find no plants in the depths of the ocean and why these ones are so close to the saltwater’s surface.
Sea Kelp: grows off the rock shelf; the spikes are ‘shock absorbers’ to help it not bump too violently and damage itself. It has a mucus component which protects ot from the sun, like a built in sun block. Here Sally is holding one up for the children to feel its textures:
Conniwinks Shells and eggs. (Sally was down here two weeks ago and there were masses of them filling all the crevices on the rock shelf). The shell here has a few 'freeloaders' catching a faster ride;
Cowrie shell: some cultures use these for money, also attractive to sea shell collectors but must be put back when found in an Aquatic Reserve.
Skin of an octopus shed; until held this looked similar to a piece of plastic discarded by a litterbug.
Holdfast; (sea plants: which to the girl who brought it to Sally to be identified and named was “Like a lollipop”: they are the rootlike structure that some plants and algae use to attach themselves to sea rockshelfs.
Zebra Snails have a black-and-white striped pattern on the shell.
Limpet with barnacles on it: Limpets are a marine gastropod mollusc that has a low conical shell. Barnacles on top are are marine and estuarine crustaceans and related to crabs!
Walking anemone - photo by Selena Griffith:
Walking anemone closed - photo by Selena Griffith:
Waratah anemone - photo by Selena Griffith:
Urchin - photo by Selena Griffith:
Nudibranch - photo by Selena Griffith:
A nudibranch - this one is often called an Elephant Slug, with a Chiton passing underneath it (lower right of picture) - photo by Selena Griffith. Nudibranchs' are carnivorous, so they eat sponges, coral, anemones, hydroids, barnacles, fish eggs, sea slugs, and other nudibranchs:
Sea hare - photo by Selena Griffith:
Starfish - photo by Selena Griffith:
Sydney seastar - photo by Selena Griffith. More on these here (there's a few !): australian.museum/learn/animals/sea-stars/sydney-seastars
Sydney seastar- photo by Selena Griffith - Selena says; '9 legs on this guy - most of the others only had 4 !! He’s a hoarder!':
Brittle star babies - photo by Selena Griffith:
Baby fish - maybe a rockfish - photo by Selena Griffith (Selena put it back in the water):
Slate Pencil Urchin- photo by Selena Griffith - The Slate Pencil Urchin is a herbivore. It comes out to feed at night. The mouth is on the underside of the body and is equipped with five sharp teeth used to scrape algae from the rocks.:
Fossil at Avalon Beach
Found by our intrepid three year old fossil-cker!