Your marine metre squared survey will help you see the sea with wild eyes. Get inspired by young ocean explorer Riley Hathaway (aka 'Smiles') to learn more about our magnificent moana.
Discover the wacky wild life hanging out on your local seashore. You'll need square eyes (but not the sort you're thinking of ... see more below!)
What to do
Your mission is:
1. SQUARE EYES
This great intro video from Marine Metre Squared shows you how to go about your survey: get down and get square!
2. TIME YOUR TIDE
You’ll be able to see more life on the shore if you head down at low tide. If it's high tide you'll need a scuba mask and you might see fish, but that's a different sort of mission: you must have an adult either way (they're also good for carrying stuff and piggy-back rides)!
Plan your trip by checking out Metservice's tide charts first!
3. SQUARE MARKS THE SPOT
Zip down to your local beach, mudflat or rocky seashore and use 4m of rope to mark out a square that is a 1m long on each side.
Choose a spot near the water but be careful of incoming waves.
4. THINK INSIDE THE SQUARE
Start at one corner of the square and record how many plants or animals you can see without moving any rocks or seaweed.
Jot down or draw what you’ve found in your notebook – then take photos!
Amaze yourself with how many things live in what looks like just a pile of rocks
5. ROCK 'N' ROLL
After checking out the surface, carefully roll over any rocks or lift up seaweed in your square to see if any animals are hiding underneath, and take pics!
Check out these blue green chitons*: you can find this wee shellfish's superhero shells at most rocky beaches ... you just need to open your wild eyes!
*Don't say chiton too many times too fast!
5. SHARE YOUR SEASHORE
Upload your photos to Wild Eyes to level up and make your wild eyes wilder.
And be a citizen scientist and enter your results to the Marine Metre Squared website. You can also download data recording sheets and seashore I.D. guides to help identify the creatures you've found, like this stalk-eyed mud crab.
SEE SEA HARES HERE!
With any luck and your wild eyes open you'll come across some weird and wonderful sea creatures.
You might even come across a sea hare (though probably not as big as this monster sea slug from San Pedro, California!). You can also see sea hares at marine education centres like Island Bay aquarium.
SEA THROUGH SEA SHELLS AT THE SEA SHORE
Scientists at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre at Portobello in Dunedin wanted to know what it was like inside the shell of a Hermit crab. as you can see from the photo taken by Tom Bird, they got the answer by adding some man-made glass shells to a tank in the aquarium. Caution: not very good for playing hide'n'seek!
You may be lucky to find a hermit shell crab in your square, what other cool critters can you capture with your camera?
Check the time for low tide! You don't want your marine metre square to become a submarine metre square!
Carefully return rocks to how you found them.
WILD EYES HELP YOU SEA
Although we often think of the marine environment as separate from land, the two ecosystems are certainly linked – we are part of the marine food web whether we live on the coast or not.
Our waters are not only a major habitat for incredible animals and plants, they are also an important source of food (kai moana), as well as “recreational and economic opportunities for our communities” = fascination, fun and money!