Seagrass & Algae

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.

Halophilia sp.
Enhalus sp.
Enhalus sp. – white part of leaf
Rhizome of Enhalus sp.

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.

Sargassum sp. viewed with the magnifier
Sargassum sp.
Halimeda sp. – a calcarious green algae – most of the green cells have worn off exposing the calcarious skeleton.
Unidentified strand of green algae
Branch of Dichtomaria sp. – a calcarious red algae

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dom says:

    Fantastic post, Kim! Can’t wait to see more from your work with students.
    I sent several foldscopes kits to my high school in Northern Luzon and we are in the process of setting things up for exciting projects.

    1. kim@bigblue says:

      Thanks! We just did our first two classes with kids at the Science High School in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental. I will try to get things posted in the next week or so with formalized practices and go-to resources. Are you close to the coast?

  2. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Kim,

    I am so thrilled and just blown away by the data and the posts. Please continue your journey documenting all the work you are doing in Philippines. Specially on training and teaching the students to engage – I can’t wait to start reading posts from them all. Maybe your trainees can use a common #hash tag to mark posts – so they can be pulled easily.

    Stunning images – wow wow wow.

  3. kim@bigblue says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Manu! I’ll have more posts soon. And the next school year (June), it looks like we’ll be working with a class of 10th-graders throughout the year. Hashtags are a good idea! Cheers! Kim

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