The Otago Marine Studies Centre has come up with a way for
those curious about their shoreline to investigate and
monitor the habitat.
The Marine Meter Squared project was launched nationwide at
the weekend as part of this week's Sea Week. Centre programme
director Sally Carson said people were being encouraged to
get out on to the beach and ''meet their seashore
To take part in the project, people had to measure out a 1m
by 1m square patch at low tide, identify and count animals in
the area, fill out survey forms found on the project's
website and upload the data.
''Using the website, participants will be able to store, map
and graph their own data for comparison between seasons,
regions and species and compare their patch with other
They would be able to use the Rocky Shore Guide produced by
the centre to help them identify species, she said.
''It would be a great holiday activity to do with your
children, or something to do when you take your dog to the
Resources for schools to take part had been developed and an
online forum would provide support for identification and
The data uploaded would also provide scientists with
meaningful, valid environmental baseline data across the
whole of New Zealand, she said.
''It will enable us to not only take a snapshot of rocky
shore biodiversity, but to establish a baseline against which
future change can be measured.''
The project was being funded by $50,000 a year for three
years from the Ministry for the Environment's community
A variety of activities were planned this week, including
beach clean-ups, workshops and fun days.