Extensive areas of sand or mudflat offer certain advantages for field course exercises. Digging and sieving are hard work; consequently the environmental damage done by field work on depositing beaches is usually trifling compared with the havoc a class can quickly make of a rocky shore by ill-controlled stone turning and fissure opening. Exercises can be planned to involve teamwork in a number of separate but closely interrelated projects, requiring field collecting and subsequent laboratory investigation.
If all the biological and ecological information inherent in collections obtained from a well-organized dig along a depositing shore transect is to be developed fully, much longer laboratory investigations are required than is usually possible during a field course. Some of this work need not be done immediately if material is preserved and taken back to college. Subsequently as time allows, detailed laboratory exercises can be planned to make the best use of the material, deriving directly from the students' own work in the field.
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