Hastings point is a small settlement at the coast of New South Wales. It is popularly known as the Jewel of the Tweed. Surrounding it is a national park and it is sandwiched between an ocean and an estuary. The ocean is on the east side whereas the beautiful estuary is on the left. The estuary though beautiful is delicate. Hastings point is one of the favorite and unique places in Australia attracting hundreds to thousands of both local and foreign tourists especially those who have a thing for nature. The site will leave you breathless and at this point one is able to experience nature at its finest. The beach is well taken care of and free from pollution; thanks to the local residents who act as stewards for future generations. One visit is never enough at this unique scenery and it will get you wanting to frequent this place. It provides a nice place to camp and chills out as well as a playground for the local families.
Hastings point can be described as a fairly level area with few rocky surfaces that are well sheltered to allow the habitation of plant species. This area is part of a national park and for that reason, it is well protected. The presence of long sandy beaches provides beautiful scenery as well as the promotion of marine life. It is an area of interest to those interested in marine life. The ecological niche of Hastings point is set up in a way that it supports diverse tropical species as opposed to a single species. This makes it interesting scenery and notably, the mollusks are common here. Other phyla of organisms are well represented such as the crabs, shrimps, flatworms, sea urchins, just to mention a few.
The organism of interest in our study group was Waratah Anemone. It is named after a flower by the name Waratah that is beautiful and red in color. This flower is common in New South Wales and hence the name. It is alternatively known as Cherry Anemone due to its cherry-like appearance. In abundance and distribution, it is the most notable species in Hastings Point. Its habitat is mainly the Sydneys rocky shores and its size ranges from 4 to 5 centimeters. Other than the hastings Point, the Waratah Anemone is evenly distributed through entire southern Australia and thrives well on rocky shores especially the intertidal (Stone, 2003).
It resembles a small red blob on crevices near the pool which is rocky. It has tentacles that it draws in to minimize the surface area exposed to air while at the same time conserving heat inside it. Reproduction is quite funny as the offspring are released through the adult's mouth. They then attach to the rock surface that is nearest to them. The biological classification of this organism is as follows:
The purpose of conducting this ecological experiment was to determine the abundance and distribution of the Waratah Anemone at Hastings Point. This study also aimed at investigating the biotic and abiotic factors affecting the population and distribution of these organisms.
The research aimed to answer the following questions:
How abundant is the Waratah Anemone at Hastings Point?
What are the biotic and abiotic factors that affect the abundance and distribution of Waratah Anemone?
Each member of the group was familiarized with the organism to e studied. This was done by using internet sources as well as books to see the appearance of the organism. Secondly, Hastings Point being a national park, a representative was sent to request for necessary permissions to study the area on the decided date. The purpose of the study as well as the hypothesis was made known to the group members to avoid the collection of irrelevant data and ensure that they stick to the research topic. Each member was provided with the necessary equipment on the research day such as tables, pictures, and stationery to record their findings in the field (Ford, 2000).
To ensure the correct data was taken from the field study, the following systems were put to place:
Each member was familiarized with the organism to avoid recording other organisms
Safety equipment such as gloves was provided to those conducting the field study.
Hastings Point is a rocky area, members were advised to be in sport's shoes to avoid tripping and minor accidents.
Collecting equipment such as glass jars and forceps were provided to avoid mishandling of the organism as well as to ensure adequate preservation.
Waratah Anemone is well adapted to survive the sea environment. They are tubular in nature and jelly-like. Their tubular nature adapts them to move through the rocky surfaces with ease without getting stuck. They are mostly attached to one spot although they are free to move where the conditions are unfavorable for them. The presence of tentacles in their structure allows them to enhance the protection of the body column as they radiate from the same. They are sensitive to touch hence, making them avoid unpleasant stimuli (Magby, 2013).
This was experimented with by gently touching the tentacles and observing their reaction. They would coil them up inside themselves. They have stinging cells that they use to paralyze their prey. These stinging cells and tentacles are however harmless to humans and can be touched with bare hands. Waratah Anemones are carnivorous in nature and feed on planktons and small fish.
There is a couple of abiotic factors that favor Waratah Anemone namely:
Direct sunlight is avoided by Waratah Anemones and this explains why they are always found hidden in crevices and burrowed in the sandy beaches.
The optimum temperature of Waratah Anemone is lukewarm. They avoid extreme temperatures i.e. too hot or too cold.
Biotic Factors Species Interaction
Waratah Anemone is found located at the epipelagic zone. Organisms in this zone are dependent on sunlight for photosynthesis. Without the sunlight, the anemones would lack something to feed on since there would be no planktons. There is a commensalism relationship that exists between the Clownfish and Waratah Anemones. The anemones protect the clownfish which are a more vulnerable species.
There is also a mutualism relationship that exists between anemones and crabs. Anemones protect the crabs while the crabs offer food to the anemones in terms of leftovers.
From the above results, it is evident that the abundance of Waratah Anemones is dependent on both biotic and abiotic factors CITATION Mar08 \l 2057 (Rustad, 2008).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Ford, E. D. (2000). Scientific method for ecological research. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Magby, M. (2013). Sea anemones. New York: Powerkids Press.
Rustad, M. E. (2008). Sea anemones. Minneapolis: Bellweather Media.
Stone, L. M. (2003). Sea anemones. Rourke Pub.
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