Rocky Shore Study

Rocky Shore Study

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Rocky Shore Study

Aim

The aim of this investigation is to find where the lower, middle and
upper zones on the rocky shore start and end by looking at the species
present and absent in each zone.

Apparatus

0.5m2 frame quadrat

2 marking poles

Tape measure

Method

This investigation will be conducted when the tide is low on the rocky
shore at Scarborough. In order to record a sample of the species along
the rocky shore, an interrupted belt transect will be used to ensure
the sample is representative of the whole population and so that the
method is not too time consuming. A tape measure will be stretched on
the ground from the low water mark to the high water mark. A marking
pole will then be erected by the low tide mark. A 0.5m2 frame quadrat
will be placed next to the marking pole and all the species within the
quadrat will be identified and their abundance recorded. Another
marking pole will be placed 5m up-shore from the first marking pole
and another 5m2 frame quadrat will be placed next to the it and the
species along with their abundance will be recorded. This process will
be repeated until 85m of the rocky shore has been covered.

Results

Table to show the different types and abundance of plant species in
each quadrat:

Quadrat No.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Meters from low water mark

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

Cladophora Rupestris

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Related Searches

5

10

Fucus Vesiculosus

15

50

30

70

10

20

5

5

10

10

Fucus Serratus

100

45

80

75

30

30

10

Coralline Officinalis

10

40

10

5

5

5

5

2

Lomentaria Articulata

20

10

15

10

15

15

Ceramium Rubrum

40

5

2

5

10

Rhodochorton spp

5

5

5

Table to show the different types and abundance of animal species in
each quadrat:

Quadrat No.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Meters from low water mark

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

Rough Periwinkle

4

10

2

6

11

3

2

Flat Periwinkle

4

2

4

3

6

4

Limpet

8

22

4

10

12

9

22

4

5

10

5

10

Acorn Barnacle

100

5

Hermit

3

4

Shore Crab

1

1

1

Tube Worm

40

20



Conclusion
==========

Fucus Vesiculosus was the most abundant plant species found on the
rocky shore. It is found on only the middle and upper shores. When it
is submerged in water, the gas-filled air bladders on the fronds help
to provide buoyancy so that they float freely on the surface of the
water. This exposes their maximum area for photosynthesis.

When the tide is low, the exposure of this species to the sun and wind
promotes desiccation. However, the entire surface of Fucus Vesiculosus
is covered by a thick layer of mucilage which helps to prevent
desiccation at low tide. It also reduces colonisation by epiphytic
organisms.

Fucus Vesiculosus is not found on the lower shore for many reasons.
Because it is a plant species, it needs to photosynthesise in order to
respire. The photosynthetic pigments present include chlorophylls a
and b. These pigments are green but are masked by large quantities of
the brown pigment fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin absorbs blue and green
light. Although these wavelengths of light penetrate seawater much
more effectively than red and yellow light, they cannot penetrate the
water enough for it to be absorbed by the plant. This is because
although Fucus Vesiculosus has bladders to provide buoyancy, the
constant wave action at the lower shore would keep the fronds
submerged in water for most of the day. Also, the air bladders are
intolerant to constant and aggressive wave action that occurs on the
lower shore. This is also a reason why Fucus Vesiculosus is not found
in the splash zone.

The results showed that Fucus Vesiculosus is found from 20m from the
low tide mark up to 80m. This suggests that the middle shore starts at
20m up-shore from the low tide mark.

Fucus Serratus is known to be found on the lower shore. This is
because this species is very intolerant of desiccation so by situating
itself on the lower shore ensures that it is not in direct contact
with the wind and sun for most of the day, therefore reducing
desiccation. When the species is exposed during low tide, only the top
surface dries out because of the flattened frond.

By looking at the distribution pattern of this species suggests that
the lower shore ends at 30m away from the low tide mark.

The third most abundant plant species found on the rocky shore was
Coralline Officinalis. The results showed that this species was only
found from 20m up-shore from the low tide mark. However, it is known
that this species is found in all three zones on the rocky shore
(upper, middle and lower shores). A reason for there being none of
this species before 20m is that they tend to be most abundant on
exposed coasts. This investigation was conducted on a fairly sheltered
coast so this may have effected the distribution of Coralline
Officinalis.

The results suggest that, like the Fucus Vesiculosus, the boundary
between the lower and upper shore is 20m away from the low tide mark.

Flat periwinkles are found on the middle shore because they rely on
the humidity under Fucus, on which they also feed. They breathe using
gills so they can only respire out of water for a short period of
time. Therefore, by situating on the middle shore, ensures that they
are not exposed for too long during the day.

The results show that flat periwinkles were also found beyond 60m away
from the low tide mark. This is the upper shore. The reason for these
periwinkles being found here is that the young tend to migrate up the
shore so they are in less competition with other periwinkles.

Rough periwinkles occur on the upper shore. This is because they have
a high temperature tolerance so they are not affected by the constant
exposure to the sun. Organisms living on the upper shore are only
submerged in water for a short period of time during the day.
Periwinkles have gills that can absorb air so they can remain out of
water for up to one month. Also, fertilised eggs are retained within
the body to hatch, and fertilisation is internal. These processes
allow reproduction to take place without the need for submersal.
Therefore, the upper shore is an ideal habitat for rough periwinkles.

As the results show, limpets are found in the upper, middle and lower
shores. They have adaptations which allow them to live in any zone on
the rocky shore. They adhere to rock surface by suction of muscular
foot and chemicals. They rotate their shell to grind into the rock for
a closer fit. At high tide, foot clamps shell onto rock to prevent
desiccation. At low tide, they lower their metabolism.

These results provide enough information to estimate where the three
zones on the rocky shore begin and end. By looking at the presence and
absence of the organisms found, it suggests that the lower shore
starts at the low tide mark and finishes 20m away from this mark. The
middle shore starts at the 25m mark and ends at the 45m mark. Beyond
45m is the upper shore.

This investigation aided the coursework investigation as it
highlighted the areas where Fucus Vesiculosus would be found, ie the
middle and upper shore.
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