FAIRLIGHT BEACH ROCKY SHORE INVESTIGATION
OCEANWORLD MANLY CODE OF CONDUCT:
Please respect all other visitors to OCEANWORLD while in the building.
Noise carries through the glass and affects the animals. Please refrain
from touching the glass or talking too loudly.
Food and drinks are not permitted near the exhibits.
OCEANWORLD MANLY is built on three levels.
Reptiles and Interactive Presentations
On this level are a number of small tanks housing a variety of tropical and local
species of fish and coral. There are also baby Saltwater Crocodiles and Bamboo
Sharks, Stonefish, Seahorses and a Touch Pool.
Here you will find a large Underwater Tunnel with Grey Nurse and Port Jackson
sharks, Giant Cuttlefish and stingrays.
During your visit you will be required to answer questions about the animals housed on each of
these levels. Your teacher will check how much work you have done, so please ensure that
you complete the questions satisfactorily.
UPPER LEVEL – REPTILES
MIDDLE LEVEL – AQUARIUM DISPLAYS
The diversity of animals in our oceans is greater than the diversity of animals on land. The sea
has many habitats where animals and plants live and all organisms have become adapted to
the different habitats they live in over a long period of time.
An adaptation is a characteristic that helps an organism survive in its environment and increase
its chance of survival. There are three types of adaptations:
(1) Structural – ears, cell membranes, flattened body shapes
(2) Functional – physiological processes such as food digestion, photosynthesis and shivering
(3) Behavioural – burrowing, nocturnal activity
Habitats and species common to each of Australia’s states and territories are displayed on this
level. Look closely at the design of the tanks, the animals in them, and the adaptations these
♦ The headings below correspond to graphic boards adjacent to each tank on this level.
♦ Answer the following questions as you move around the aquarium.
1. Observe the fish in this tank for one minute. How do they get their protection?
2. Identify an example of soft coral and hard coral. Explain the difference between them.
3. Coral reefs are fairly shallow, allowing light to penetrate the coral. This is important for the
zooxanthellae (algae) growing inside the coral. Describe how this algae assists the coral.
4. Compare this tank to the Centre Tank. What makes the two tanks different (describe the
animals and the display)? ____________________________________________________________
5. What effect does summer have on the type of fish found in Sydney Harbour and why?
6. Pufferfish are deadly to eat. What is the name of the poison, and what effect does it have?
7. Name 2 other animals with the same poison:
8. What two species of crocodiles live in Australia (record their common names)?
9. Observe one of the crocodiles and draw a clear diagram of the crocodile. Label the parts
of the crocodile that are adaptations for their environment. Hint: look at the snout and the
10. Camouflage is an important adaptation for fish and other marine animals as a form of
protection. List 2 other ways that colour is used?
(a) ___________________________________ (b) ___________________________________
11. Filtering and sifting are 2 ways animals can locate food. Complete the table below
outlining 3 other methods that marine animals use to produce or locate food.
METHOD WHAT IS INVOLVED EXAMPLE
Grow algae within their tissues. Corals, clams
Beaks and snouts break coral skeletons and polyps. Parrot fish, butterfly fish
Scour large areas in pursuit of smaller animals. Groper
12. Sea anemones and clownfish have a symbiotic relationship in from which both animals
benefit. This is called mutualism. Give 2 other examples of mutualistic relationships.
(b) ___________________________________ (b) ___________________________________
GREAT BARRIER REEF – REEF BUILDERS
13. Describe the body of coral, what is it made of? ___________________________________
14. How do corals feed? ____________________________________________________________
15. Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems. What effect does pollution have on them?
16. Port Jackson Sharks are bottom-dwellers. How do these sharks survive in their environment
without constantly swimming?
17. How do Port Jackson sharks reproduce?
18. Sea urchins are echinoderms. Examine a sea urchin and identify some features of
19. Which feature of stonefish and lionfish are poisonous? __________________________________
20. True or false: male seahorses carry the fertilised eggs (are pregnant). ____________________
21. Octopuses are Cephalopods. Other cephalopods have external or internal shells, while
octopuses have no shell. How do they protect their soft body and escape predators?
LOWER LEVEL – UNDERWATER TUNNEL
Look at the Shark Jaw Display.
1. What is the role of sharks in the food pyramid? What would happen if they were removed?
2. Unlike humans, shark teeth are constantly being replaced by new ones growing behind the
front row. This display outlines the five main ways that sharks feed, depending upon the type
of teeth they have. Record one example of each type in the table below:
TYPE OF TEETH COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Crushing Heterodontus portusjacksoni
Holding Carcharias taurus
Cutting Carcharodon carcharias
Hold & Cut Carcharhinus sp.
Filtering Rhincodon typus
3. Globally 100 million sharks are killed each year by human activities. This is having a huge
detrimental effect on shark populations. Most sharks are killed for unessential purposes such
as gourmet cuisine, however there are some beneficial uses for sharks.
List 2 examples of each.
(a) Beneficial uses – 1. _________________________ 2. _________________________
(b) Unessential uses – 1. _________________________ 2. _________________________
You and your classmates might not agree on suggested beneficial and unessential uses for sharks. When back at
school compare your lists and debate the topic: “The slaughter of sharks is beneficial to humans”.
4. Study the fish, sharks, stingrays and cuttlefish as you move around the tunnel. Use the
graphics to research one example of a fish, shark and stingray. Record in the table below:
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME DISTINGUISHING FEATURES
ROCKY COASTS – A FIELD STUDY
Habitat loss has been one of the most significant factors affecting our fisheries in recent times.
As our population has grown and spread, many aquatic areas have been damaged or
changed. One of the best ways to protect sensitive habitats is to create Marine Protected Areas
(MPAs) of special environmental importance.
Each MPA is unique and the type of protection varies. They preserve many different types of
marine environments and the plants and animals that live in them. They allow fish to spawn and
grow. They provide unspoilt natural habitats for people to visit and offer areas for education
Intertidal Protected Areas (IPAs) have been established to protect the intertidal zone (the area
between high and low tides). These zones have been abused by people collecting intertidal
animals as food or bait. A number of IPAs have been established around Sydney. To completely
protect these areas collecting is prohibited.
Sydney Harbour is one of the finest natural harbours in the world with an area of about 52
square kilometres. Today, the whole of Sydney Harbour is an IPA. 75 hectares of Sydney Harbour
near Manly has been declared a MPA. A variety of habitats exist within this area from intertidal
rock pools to rocky reefs and sheltered bays and inlets with kelp beds. Seahorses and
seadragons are found in this area as well as a large diversity of fish and invertebrates.
On seashores the waves and tides are the major influences in the formation of the environment.
In the intertidal zone, conditions vary dramatically. At high tide, it is submerged under the sea.
At low tide it is exposed to the air, perhaps experiencing blazing sunshine or soaking rain. The
plants and animals must withstand drowning and drying out, sea water and freshwater, burning
sun and heat or the cold of frosty nights. As well they may be gently washed by ripples or
pounded by heavy seas.
In such a seemingly hostile environment, it might be assumed that the intertidal zone is one of
the most sparsely populated areas of the ocean. On the contrary, there is a huge diversity of
life not always visible as many shore animals are camouflaged and others take shelter out of
Intertidal plants and animals have an amazing array of adaptations to help them survive in this
hostile environment. These adaptations assist the animals in many ways – by withstanding
dessication, remaining attached to the rock platform, obtaining food, reproducing, and so
on.A majority of animals found on rocky shores are invertebrates, and include sea anemones,
polychaete worms, crabs, barnacles, chitons, sea snails, sea stars, and sea urchins. Red, green
and brown seaweeds are also common on rock platforms.
FAIRLIGHT BEACH ROCKY SHORE INVESTIGATION
Fairlight Beach Rock Platform is a habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals, many of
which are invertebrates. Every organism is a link in the ecosystem and must be treated with
respect. Please adhere to the following Code of Conduct.
FAIRLIGHT BEACH ROCK PLATFORM CODE OF CONDUCT:
Avoid treading on plants and animals as you walk across the platform.
Handle animals gently. If they are in the water observe them in that environment.
If you move something such as a rock, put it back exactly where you found it.
Do not put your hand where you can not see, as dangerous animals such as Blue
Ringed Octopuses have been found in this area.
When you leave do not take anything with you, or leave anything behind.
Be aware of the waves around you – do not turn your back on the water.
To investigate the ecology of a marine rock platform. You will:
1. Identify organisms from a number of different classifications.
2. Survey and record the distribution and abundance of organisms.
3. Relate the observed distribution of organisms to biotic and abiotic factors in the habitat.
4. Identify adaptations of organisms and describe how they assist the organisms in their
5. Consider the impact humans have on the marine rock platform.
You will need the following equipment:
• 1 quadrat (20 – 30 square centimetres)
• 1 tape measure
• Field study guide
• Partner to work with
Work in pairs to find at least one example of each of the organisms from the table below.
Record where the organism was found – rock surface, crevice, rock pool, fully submerged, etc.
COMMON NAME PICTURE DESCRIPTION WHERE FOUND
Honeycomb barnacle Usually less than
Chamaesipho tasmanica 10mm across.
Crowd together in
Common surf barnacle Usually 20mm across,
Tesseropora rosea with 4 plates. Vary
from grey/white to
Blue periwinkle Approximately 10mm
Melaraphe unifasciata in length.
Black nerite Usually 30mm in
Nerita atramentosa length. Black in colour
with white aperture.
Oyster borer Usually 20mm in
Morula marginalba length. Rounded,
dark nodules spiral
Common limpet Up to 50mm long.
Cellana tramoserica Solid and strong
Varying colour bands.
Chiton Up to 100mm long.
Plaxiphora albida 8 overlapping valves
with hairy bristles.
Cartrut shell Reaches 75mm in
Thais orbita length. Has obvious
Tube worm Hard, grey-white
Galeolaria caespitosa limestone tubes
occuring alone or in
Waratah anemone Up to 40mm across.
Actinia tenerosa Tentacles retracted
when exposed to air.
Little sea star No more than 15mm
Patiriella exigua across. 5 arms.
Purple sea urchin Up to 10cm across.
Heliocidaris Spines 3cm long. May
be pink, red or
Cunjevoi May grow over 15cm
Pyura stolonifera high. Brown barrel-
shaped with a tough,
Leather kelp Branched holdfast
Ecklonia radiata and long, leathery
axis. Broad, flat
blades with rough
Neptune’s necklace Olive-green to
Hormosira banksii yellow-brown. Rows of
spherical air bladders
connected by short
Red coralline seaweed Calcium carbonate
Pterocladia sp. skeletons. May be flat
crusts or branched
Distribution and abundance of organisms:
• Join with another pair and work in a group of four.
• Use the tape measure as a transect line with the 0m end at the low tide end.
• Every 2 metres drop your quadrat and identify and count the number of organisms
(animals). Record the percentage cover if algae. You should sample 20 metres.
• Make a note of the physical factors of the environment at each section.
• Complete 10 transects and record your data in the table below (transect 1 – 10).
• Remember that teamwork is important. Assign different jobs to each person.
• Groups should be spread out so that the majority of the rock platform is studied.
ORGANISM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Physical factors
Little sea star
a. Analyse this data back at school – the following questions will help. Discuss your findings.
- What is the difference between the distribution and the abundance of an organism?
- Where were Blue Periwinkles most abundant?
- How would you describe the distribution of algae along the Rock Platform?
- For each transect point record the dominant species. Is it a plant or an animal?
TRANSECT POINT DOMINANT SPECIES
Did you notice any definite groupings of animals as you moved along the transect? Research
in the classroom the different zones that exist on rock platforms.
3. Effect of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution of organisms:
Biotic factors: living features of an ecosystem.
Abiotic factors: non-living features of an ecosystem – such as temperature, light, and water.
a. Describe how the following features of the ecosystem vary along the transect:
• Water level:
• Wind exposure:
• Wave action:
b. Describe the difference between a rock pool and crevice and the exposed rock platform.
FEATURES ROCK POOL ROCK PLATFORM
c. What effects do the differences in biotic and abiotic features have on the animals and
plants along the rock platform? _______________________________________________________
d. Where is the most diverse range of animals found along the rock platform? Why?
Adaptations belong to 3 categories:
Structural – how the organism is built
Functional – physiological processes
Behavioural – what the organism may do to protect itself
Animals and plants that live on a rock platform are exposed to extreme conditions caused by tides and
waves. The environment is continually changing, for approximately 6 hours the animals may be
exposed, and then for 6 hours they may be submerged. There may be pounding waves or only a slight
spray of water.
a. Chose 3 organisms from 3 different phylum and describe their adaptations in the table.
PHYLUM COMMON NAME WHERE IT WAS FOUND ADAPTATIONS
5. Human impact:
a. Find 3 examples on the rock platform of how humans have impacted on this environment.
b. Would any forms of pollution found on the rock platform affect organisms found in the open
ocean? Explain. _____________________________________________________________________
c. What effect do recreational activities have on the natural environment?
d. Record any recreational activities you can observe in this area.
e. Would any different recreational activities be carried out on weekends?
Back in the classroom, use the food chains below to construct a food web for the community
on the Fairlight Beach Rock Platform.
i Phytoplankton – blue periwinkle – little sea star
i Kelp – limpet – oyster borer
i Neptune’s necklace – crab – octopus
i Phytoplankton – zooplankton – barnacle
i Cunjevoi – cartrut shell
i Plankton – Waratah sea anemone
• Zooplankton – tube worm
• Kelp – Purple sea urchin
• Neptune’s necklace – black nerite – oyster borer
• Red coralline seaweed – chiton