IB Biology Students Study Beach and Marsh Ecosystems

Megha Anand ’19 studied the characteristics of a turtle during the IB Biology trip to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. (Photo by Nora Greer ’19)

On Monday, September 18, 2017 students from Polly Lodge’s IB Biology class traveled to Island Beach State Park, New Jersey on a field trip to supplement their study of ecology. At the park students tested water quality, kayaked through a salt marsh, took a tour of the dunes, and learned about seining.

“We studied both a salt marsh and bay ecosystem and a coastal beach ecosystem,” said Polly. She continued, “Students did water quality tests on the bay water and the ocean water, we were given a tour of the dunes, we discussed the role of barrier islands during storms, but mostly, we enjoyed being out-of-doors even in the cold, windy, and a bit rainy weather.”

Other trip highlights included combing the wrack line at the beach and learning about the various species that were collected which included clams, skates, whelks, horseshoe crabs, turtles, oysters, and mussels.

Students also tried their hand at seining, dragging a large net through the water to collect organisms living in the bay. During the kayak tour of the salt marsh, students learned about the role of cord grass (Spartina alterniflora), and various other organisms in the food web. Additionally, they learned about the role of salt marshes in filtering water, absorbing storm surges, and winds.

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