Intertidal Food Webs and Classification

  • Biodiversity
  • Classifications
  • Food webs
  • Trophic levels

Program Overview

The intertidal platform of Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary is home to a variety of algal and invertebrate species.  Students will have the opportunity to observe the characteristics of these organisms and discover how such features are used to classify species.  Students will be introduced to the use of dichotomous keys and hierarchical systems of classification.

The relationships between organisms on the intertidal platform will also be highlighted by constructing a food web.  Observations of human activities within the marine sanctuary will demonstrate to students how fragile food webs can easily be impacted by our actions.

Program Inclusions

Your program includes:

  • Overview of Victoria’s Marine National Parks systems and the role they play in the protection of Victoria’s marine biodiversity.
  • Introduction to the physical characteristics and organisms of the intertidal zone.
  • Discussion of the importance of classification and an introduction to classifying organisms using hierarchical systems.
  • Examination of specimens to identify classification characteristics of marine invertebrate phyla.
  • Field observation of the intertidal zone, including identification of common algal species using a dichotomous key.
  • Construction of an intertidal food web and examination of relationships between organisms within the intertidal zone.
  • Observation of human activities within the marine sanctuary and discussion of potential impacts on marine ecosystems and species relationships.

Restrictions: Delivery of the program is tide dependent.  Please provide alternative dates that spread across at least two weeks.

 Prior Knowledge required: Some understanding of trophic levels and food webs.  Familiarity in the use of dichotomous keys, species identification charts and scientific nomenclature.

Equipment needed: A copy of workbook, clipboard and pencil per student. Appropriate clothing and footwear (long sleeve top, long pants, jacket, hat/beanie, soft-soled shoes e.g. runners).

Equipment supplied by Gould League: Dichotomous keys, species identification charts.

Victorian Curriculum Links

SCIENCE: Science Understanding
–  There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)
–  Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity (VCSSU093)

SCIENCE: Science Inquiry Skills
–  Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (VCSIS107)
–  Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (VCSIS108)
–  Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to identify relationships, evaluate claims and draw conclusions (VCSIS111)

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