Excursions

The educational value of a marine ecology course is enhanced by any of the following expeditions:

A Visit to an estuary to observe the distribution of freshwater, estuarine and marine species. Where possible, methods are devised for measuring water depths and collecting water samples from the surface, middle depths and bottom at several stations along the estuary at intervals through the tidal cycle. Salinities, temperatures and oxygen contents are measured. On diagrammatic sections of the estuary the isohalines, isotherms and percentage oxygen saturations are plotted at stages of the tide, and the zonation of organisms recorded. B Boatwork at sea for the following purposes:

1 Demonstration of navigation equipment and sonic sounding apparatus.

2 Demonstration of the use of water bottles, CTD instrument packages and rosette samplers, etc.

3 Plankton sampling with various nets.

4 Collection of benthos and fish from various substrates using several types of collecting gear, for example Van-Veen grab, Agassiz trawl, otter trawl. After sorting and identifying benthic material, the sampled communities are related to the various classifications available (see Section 6.3). Fish are examined for external and gill parasites, gut contents, scale and otolith markings and age-length relationship. In the absence of facilities for collecting at sea, water intake screens at coastal power stations are sometimes a useful source of fish.

C Visit to local fish auction and associated industries, for example fishing vessels, fish curing, processing and freezing installations, net factory and ice factory. Fishery officers and fishing boat skippers are sometimes willing to meet groups of students and tell them about their work. D Day tour as far along the coast as practicable to observe biological, geographical and geological features. E Visit to a fish hatchery and/or fish farm.

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