Fish Food Fringes

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'Fish Food Fringes' is a Participatory Science Project with Curious Minds, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

MAIN Trust partnered with Rotokare Scenic Reserve, Hawera High School, Ngaere School and Rawhitiroa School to assess the restoration work on Taranaki’s riparian margins and in wetland ecosystems. Students monitored two sites for invertebrates and vegetation and recorded environmental factors with assistance from ‘Bright Sparks’, the technology training organisation. The project seeks to generate biodiversity records to measure changes over time, an important factor in gauging the success of habitat restoration. Students worked alongside restoration practitioners and learned about the important work that is being done to restore these riparian sites.

Project Overview[edit | edit source]

Restoration of ecosystems and pest control is a big focus in Taranaki. There is little knowledge of the invertebrates present in riparian zones (vegetation adjacent to freshwater), as these are typically monitored in terms of water quality. What we don’t know is how important are they for the terrestrial fauna. Although we know the importance of invertebrates in ecosystems and functioning, such as pollination, soil formation, productivity, decomposition, pest-population regulation, as well as invertebrates being a vital food source for many native species, we still don’t tend to monitor invertebrate biodiversity.

The 'Fish Food Fringes' project sees the development of a simple monitoring package targeted around invertebrates as a measure of successful restoration and pest control in riparian areas.

The aim is to do this using a participatory programme that involves local schools. The goal was to develop simple techniques for invertebrate monitoring of areas that are identified as significant / important in the 'Restore Taranaki' initiative, and could be monitored by schools (or community groups) elsewhere. Facilitating the participation of high school students in these monitoring activities provided students with the opportunity to learn several valuable skills, get a taste of science at a higher level, and see how knowledge of biology can partner with electronics and IT technologies (the Internet of Things) to provide invaluable information about our natural world.

Gallery of research sites[edit | edit source]

Gallery of activities[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

  1. Visit the 'MAIN Moodle' our education site with the project details and more information, activities for students, and resources for teachers. Useful information from how to make a pitfall trap, an identification guide and the results.
  2. The raw data - for details and available to graph or map yourself.
  3. Fish Food and Fringes resultsThe results - two survey sites compared using GIS and DataPlotly

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Department of Conservation: Invertebrates: Identification aids
  2. Maanaki Whenua Landcare Research: Freshwater invertebrates

Mapping, Analysis and Information Network Trust

Geographic Information Systems: