A LOCAL WAY OF LEARNING
SPLASHING AROUND ON ROCKY SHORES
Eulalie R. Rivera Elementary School
Environmental Education Team
In a pre-post study exercise, student-- will be able to categorize words and
terms appropriate to the rocky shore environment of the Virgin Islands.
Diversity in shoreline environments is important, this "quickie" activity will
be an interesting supplement to any traditional unit of appropriate study -
taking a look at the detail sometimes overlooked.
1. Distribute page 1 of the activity and have students do the categorizing.
2. Discuss and/or distribute DCCA Fact Sheet No. 5 for study (10 minutes).
3. Distribute page 2 of activity for students to categorize the list again.
Correct both and score.
4. Discuss the overall value of rocky shore areas to local environment. Have
students write a paragraph called for in #3.
Coastal Habitats: Rocky Shorelines, DCCA Environmental Fact Sheet No. 5.
SPLASHING AROUND ON ROCKY SHORES
1.Try your hand at categorizing these words or terms by writing them in the
appropriate column headings in the illustration below.
small fishes sea urchins acropora coral exposed bedrock
coastal bluff algae mollusks salt tolerant plants
sea whips snails crabs gorgonian coral
periwinkles rookeries sea grass sea weeds
promontories sea fans chitons sand layer
Note: There are more line spaces than words or terms.
Number correct first try?
WEATHERED SPLASH HARD CORAL SOFT CORALZONE
OUTCROP ZONE ZONE
- d q 3
2.Study DCCA Fack Sheet No. 5 (10 minutes)- Recategorize these same words or
sea whips snails
sea urchins acropora coral exposed bedrock
algae mollusks salt tolerant plants
crabs gorgonian coral
rookeries sea grass sea weeds
sea fans chitons sand layer
Number correct second t
3. Write a short paragraph on the value of rocky store areas to Virgin Island
What Lives There? E-49
Hardy members of the adjacent terrestrial vegetation may cling to the
uppermost rocky area where there are pockets of so or fissures in the rock. On
some remote rocky cliffs sea birds, such as pelicans, roost and nest.
Lower down where sea spray occasionally hits the rock, a few hardy
marine animals can be found: periwinkles and an occasional crab. Closer to the
water, the numbers and kinds of organisms increase. In the splash zone,
oysters, small fish, sea urchins, and a wide variety of mullusks can be found,
including the edible whelk.
The underwater rocky substrate is perfect for coral attachment, and the
shallow, clear, turbulent water ideal for their growth. At the deeper undersea
base of the rocky shore, the reef is often composted of sea fans, sea whips, or
It soft" corals. Here land-derived boulders and rock may also be found, but,
frequently, the shoreline bedrock is exposed or lies under a very thin layer of
sand. Both "hard" and "soft" corals require a hard, stable substrate for
Further off-shore, the sand layer becomes thicker, and beds of sea
grasses and algae may develop if the water is not too deep. There is almost
always a band of bare sand, one or more meters wide, separating the rock and
reef area from the sea grass beds. This sandy strip is maintained by browsing
fishes and sea urchins which Live on the reef and forage on the edge of the
Use Limitations Major Use
Usually rugged and inaccessible, making Frequently good spots for hand
construction difficult; erosion and stability line fishing.
are often problems because of exposure,
sites face heavy sea and wind damage Good spots for snorkeling and
in storms. SCUBA often have whelks and
Rock and coral bottom and turbulence
Precludes safe boat docking and anchorage. Provide scenic vistas important
May be important rookeries
for sea birds.
Because of turbulence and
water movement, are
relatively well suited to
receive treated effluents,
but outfall must be some
Island Resources Foundation, V. I. Marine Environment (V.I. CZM Program,
Technical Supplement No. 1, 1976). (Editor: Marsha McLaughlin, Policy and
Planning, DCCA. Further info. Environmental Specialist, DCZM).
DCCA ENVIRONMENTAL FACT SHEET NO. 5
COASTAL HABITATS: ROCKY SI-IORELINES
What Are They?
Rocky shorelines consist of steep coastal bluffs and cliffs. These are
formed by weathering and wave action on rock outcrops or promontories. These
are distinguished from rocky beaches which have a gentle slope and are covered
with loose rock or coral rubble. Rocky shores are rigorous environments, but
far from sterile. The area above the water supports a few specialized salt-
tolerant plants and related fauna, but below the water, there may be well
developed coral growth attached to the bedrock and boulder rubble. Because of
the steep slope and the fact that many rocky shorelines occur on headlands and
points, these are areas of high wave energy and turbulence. This activity keeps
the water well-mixed and aerated and discourages siltation.
Worn by wind, waves and Snails, chitons,
rain usually to bedrock seaweeds.
Acropora corals dominate
coral growth on boulder
and rubble substrate
SOFT CORAL ZONE
Sea fans, Gorgonia on hard bottom. Sand cover thin.
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