Marine Aliens II project

Controlling marine invasive species by targetting vectors of dispersal

Public engagement and education

Marina Aliens project

Introduction

A settlement panel

Marina Aliens is a new project aimed at 11-14 year olds (KS3) which examines non-native species that arrive and settle in marinas. The purpose of this project is to provide an introduction to marine life and the issue of invasive non-native species through the use of settlement plates in marinas.

 

Outline of project

School groups are given a lesson which introduces the marine ecology of estuaries and floating artificial structures, and the issue of invasive non-native species. As part of this lesson, children construct simple settlement plates which are then deployed in a marina and left for a period of around 8 weeks, during which they are colonised by a mixture of native and non-native plants and animals. A return visit is made to the marina to retrieve the plates, and a second lesson is provided during which children photograph, identify and describe the fouling organisms on the plates.

 

The project is proving succesful with schools as it combines classroom and practical work. The lessons cover curriculum areas as habitats & adaptation, food webs and competition in an engaging way.

 

The information gained is potentially of interest to estuary managers, scientists, and statutory agencies. For this reason, MBA scientists will verify the identification of organisms, and the children will be asked to upload their findings to the Marine Aliens website.

 

The Marina Aliens project is being trialled with Kingsbridge Community College, Stoke Damerell and Saltash schools at a Plymouth marina. Download a lesson plan. For more information, contact Guy Baker: guba@mba.ac.uk

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