The waves washed up a lot of seagrass and algae on Bulabog Beach, Boracay, Philippines on a recent stormy day. I collected a few samples to prepare for marine biology classes with Foldscopes.
I first examined the specimens for hitchhikers like this juvenile sea urchin and returned them to the sea.
There were two seagrasses for comparison. The leave, vein, and cell structures are distinctly different between the two varieties. Students can also easily observe the differences between the green portion of the leaf and the white base of the leaf. The cells in the rhizome are also different in form and some seem to be specialized for developing roots.
I also had the good luck to have a brown (Phyaeophyta), two green (Chlorophyta), and a red (Rhodaphyta) algae in my collection from the beach. The variations among them offer good practice to prepare slides. The calcarious algae are more difficult to view because of the thickness of the structure.
Both seagrasses and algae provide a good opportunity to discuss their ecological role in CO2 uptake, the fish and other marine animal that depend on them as food source, and the negative impacts of pollutants and development.
I will have more to post soon after we have some real-life experience working with school groups.