Oakura School investigating threats to coastal wildlife in the Tapuae Marine Reserve
An enthusiastic crew of students from Oakura School ventured down the south western end of the Tapuae Marine Reserve on 15 June 2016. The aim of the field trip was to find out what wildlife lives in the marine reserve, what are the threats to these species and what measures can be taken to better protect these species and their habitat.
The class took a three pronged approach with the CoastBlitz Crew recording all species encountered, the Footprint Whanau investigating the threat of dogs to birds sheltering in the dunes and the Litter Legends collecting and surveying rubbish along the beach.
The CoastBlitz crew recorded all of their sightings on CoastBlitz Tapuae, providing a mapped online record of biodiversity within the marine reserve. They identified and photographed 21 different species including a porcupine fish, NZ kingfisher, white-faced heron, purple rock crab, snakeskin chiton, radiate limpet and ram’s horn squid. They are currently working to produce an identification guide of threatened species recorded within the Tapuae Marine Reserve that will be available on the Project Hotspot website as a downloadable resource. Top job CoastBlitz Crew!
The Tapuae Coastal Strip Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) is located along the landward edge of the marine reserve and provides ideal habitat for birds including little blue penguins. The Footprint Whanau investigated the potential for these birds to be disturbed by dogs through surveying dog footprints entering into the Tapuae KNE. The iNaturalist app was used to photograph and record the location of footprints entering into the dunes at main access points. The results were pretty conclusive. The Footprint Whanau will present the results of their survey, including key recommendations, in a future blog and workshop presentation. Awesome effort Footprint Whanau!
The Litter Legends spent the morning surveying and removing rubbish from the strandline of the Tapuae Marine Reserve. They made counts of the top ten litter items found around the world and also collected microplastics (<25 mm in diameter). Unusual litter items were also recorded. They succeeded in collecting four large rubbish bags full of litter from the shoreline and will present their findings in a future blog and workshop presentation. Litter Legends, you guys rock!
Keep an eye on future blog updates to find out more about actions resulting from these investigations. The Project Hotspot team would like to thank Oakura School for achieving so much on the field trip. Incredible effort, well done.