Year 12 Biological Sciences

Year 12 Biological Sciences students visited the Naturalist Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC) last week at Hillarys Boat Harbour, as part of their biology course. The NMDC is the Department of Fisheries public education facility. Here, the students undertook 3 education programs at the centre; "Fishing for Sustainability", the "Science of Sampling", and a "Plethora of Plankton".

With Fishing for Sustainability, the students were given an overview of the role the Department of Fisheries plays in managing our aquatic natural resources. The students went 'dry fishing' with their own handline in mini-oceans to observe the effects of fishing pressure on our fish stocks, and how management and science plays an important role in conserving them

The Science of Sampling was a hands on opportunity for the students to carry out a range of different sampling methods to collect and analyse data. Some of the techniques include weighing and measuring "abalone"; predicting a rock lobster catch; and ageing fish such as bream and snapper by looking at their ear bones osteoliths. Students also analysed underwater footage taken from research using BRUVS.

Finally, the students investigated a Plethora of Plankton, and learnt how fisheries scientists use plankton to estimate fish populations, egg production and determine the health of fisheries. They conducted their own plankton tow with a small plankton sampling net from the pontoon, and took the samples back to the laboratory to be further investigated and identified.

Many thanks to Carina Gemignani, the Deparment of Fisheries' Education Officer for such an informative and fun day.

Amanda Webb
Science Teacher