The Wadden Sea, invasive species and climate
Through this course the students will gain insight in how invasive species may affect a ecosystem. We will take a tour on one of the large oyster reefs of the Wadden Sea, where we will study the invasive pacific oyster. We will count and measure the oysters and assess which significance they may have for the natural species of the areas.
The exercise gives an understanding of the concepts of invasive species, ecosystems and food chains.
Primary production of the mudflats (incl. qualitative examination of the fauna of the Wadden Sea)
In this exercise we will study the primary food resource for all life in the Wadden Sea - the giant primary production of the diatoms! The students will gather samples of diatomes in the top centimeter of the mudflats. They will also study the fauna of the Wadden Sea with nets and forks. In the nature school the production oxygen by the diatoms will be measured and from the results the primary production will be calculated.
The exercise gives an understanding of primary production, secondary production, food chains, photosynthesis and respiration.
Quantitative and qualitative examination of the fauna of the Wadden Sea
The production of the animals living in the mudflats of the Wadden Sea is enormous, and has great significance for birds and fishes. In this exercise the students with gather soil samples from two different areas: a sandy mudflat and an estuarine mudflat. They will determine the species of the animals in the samples and count them. This way they will learn both the species and the number of individual in a given area. In the second part of the exercise a run with a net in the low water will give a sample of water living animals in the Wadden Sea.
The exercise give a general understanding of the ecosystem of the Wadden Sea and the concepts of biodiversity, food chains and species.