#18 Marine Explorer

10 Points

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!)

Read the instructions

Categories:

See also

What to do

Your mission is:

Discover the wildlife in a square metre of foreshore near you. Check out the notes for the tool list you need (above) and get surveying!

1. SQUARE EYES

This great intro video from Marine Metre Squared shows you how to go about your survey: get down and get square!

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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!

Andrea Benwell

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.

 

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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

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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! 

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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.

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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?

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WILD CODE

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.

What's happening?

IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE

Scientists use these survey techniques to study seashore communities. If they do the survey again and again, over time they can see how things change.

The surveys (aka 'quadrat sampling') are also used to monitor population numbers of species, for example toheroa mussels in Northland, or by divers to measure the impact of the Rena oil spill on the kelp and sea urchins in the Bay of Plenty.

Watch the Science Learning Hub video (courtesy of Bay Of Plenty Polytechnic and The University of Waikato) to see sea science in action. 

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– Waterproof notepad?

WILD EYES HELP YOU SEA

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– Red cod off the rod

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! 

Ngā Tini o te Waitai

'Ngā Tini o te Waitai' translates as "the multitudes of the sea water". Waitai refers to salt water or sea water. Tini means crowds or a great number. 

Scientists reckon that as much as 80% of our known species are found in the seas around New Zealand, which is heaps – roughly 65,000 of them!

Your marine metre square is just a sample of the magical, mysterious life in the moana (sea).

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– Get mussel paua to get strong (geddit!) Photo: Pamela Bramwell

FISH'N'CHIPS

Ngā Tini o te Waitai – cool! After all what would fish'n'chips be without fish. Just chips, that's what!

- Kev the kea

TAKE THAT SQUARE ANYWHERE

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– Well-disguised Dolomedes!

Quadrat sampling or meter squared – is used not only in beach areas but also in bush, farm and stream areas – anywhere really that samples need to be gathered.

Can you spot the sneakily well-disguised water spider from the (well-named) Deception River. (This spider would also be an awesome inspiration for the 'Get Lost' Wild Eyes mission!)

CITIZEN SCIENTIST!

Citizen scientists are people who volunteer to help scientists answer interesting questions. It’s not “choose the wrong cheese and get zapped” though – it's about observing, monitoring, and measuring the world around you. The info collected by citizen scientists is then analysed by research scientists. 

By doing Wild Eyes missions, you’re halfway to becoming a citizen scientist!

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– Dr Wild Eyes!

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Citizen scientists can be anyone from students like you to teachers to gardeners and farmers. Using the internet, citizen scientists are able to submit data about everything from your metre squared results to earthquakes and backyard birds.

New Zealand's biggest citizen science projects are the yearly Garden Bird Survey (check out the chocolate fish index!) and the Great Kererū Count.

Why don't you combine citizen science with the Nature Watch mission and get your wild eyes spinning! Bonus!

 

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– Counting Ks: how many kererū can you count?

Inspiration

YOUNG OCEAN EXPLORER

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.

KIWI SHARK MAN

And if learning about the sea helps you love it, you might end up with a career chasing your passion, like this Kiwi scientist and surfer. "My name's Riley Eliot, and my favourite place to be is out there under the water free-diving with sharks."   

JOAN OF THE DINOS

Modern science is quite specialized, and if you wanna go pro in research institutes, you need to know a lot of stuff (and stay in school!). However, for many people, science is a hobby – they do it cos they love it! Some hobbyists can become quite famous, like Joan Wiffen, who found New Zealand’s first dinosaur fossil (and relies of the T-rex)!

If you dig that, be like Joan and go wild!

BIOBLITZ BOOGIE

When you have finished your seashore survey, get your mates together and do a bio-blitz dance to celebrate. Can you shake it like these Auckland bio-blitzers?  

What other members have done:

#18 Marine Explorer

Crabs

Crabs

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Lego Man
Look under rocks by or half in the water.
#18 Marine Explorer

Hendersons bay

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By Outdoorexplorer

Hendersons bay

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Outdoorexplorer
This is at Hendersons bay in Riverton. I found heaps of periwinkles and a limpet.
#18 Marine Explorer

Marine explorer Dog Man

Marine explorer Dog Man

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DogMan
step 1 go to a beachstep 2 go to a poolstep 3 put your square downstep 4 look for livestep 5 take a photostep 6 eat lunch
#18 Marine Explorer

Eagle Ray at Goat Island, NZ

Eagle Ray at Goat Island, NZ

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hm2
A few months ago (16th of March 2017) I went to goat island and while we were snorkelling we saw an eagle ray. The pics are from my GoPro.
#18 Marine Explorer

Pahoa beach

#18 Marine Explorer

Govners Bay Life !!!

Govners Bay Life !!!

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Chloe_LolO
Well inside the sqare we found 15 of the Crabs in the first photo.7 of the star fish in the second photo.And 20 of the SHells in the Thid photo it was fun.
#18 Marine Explorer

Marine Tally chart

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By #marshmallo

Marine Tally chart

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#marshmallo
These are a few of the creatures I found at Governors bay. It was scary picking up the crabs. But overall it was so much fun!
#18 Marine Explorer

DIRTY MARINE EXPLORER!

DIRTY MARINE EXPLORER!

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lollipop
Hey guys it's me Parwin again, One day when we were on the way to camp we went to Governors Bay and we looked around to see what kind of crabs and shells we could find. I didn' pick up a crab!
#18 Marine Explorer

Koura!

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By wildeyezdemo1

Koura!

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wildeyezdemo1
Dad found this crayfish in the stream - does that count?