East Beach ~ Barrier Beach

Virtual Field Trip
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Let's investigate the shape of the beach. Now that we are down here, the beach doesn't look as flat as it does in pictures. We'll now do a beach profile using the equipment we brought. This will give us a true measurement of the beach's shape.

Starting at the ocean's edge push the incremented poles into the berm. Stretch the meter length string tightly and push the second stick into the sand as you are moving away from the shore. The poles are now aligned so that they are perpendicular to or at a 90 degree angle to the water. After attaching a line level to the string move the string up or down on the second pole until the bubble is centered inside the level. Make sure to read and record the numbers on the poles accurately. Then find the difference between the two measurements. In order to take the second measurement, swing the first pole around moving up toward the dune area leaving the second pole in the sand. Move the string again until the bubble is centered and record both measurements once more. Continue this procedure until we reach the dunes. Back at school we will plot this data.

Here at the dunes there are many children playing. Let's see what that boy over there is doing. He is digging in the primary dune area. Look! His digging has exposed the network of rhizomes or roots of the beachgrass which lay beneath the sand. Hes right! The long runners of the roots are like the tunnels in a subway station. We can tell that these roots networks are what hold the sand down like a protective net on the sand dunes.

What is further up the primary sand dune? Up here there is a lot more vegetation. What are all these plants? Some sure are attractive. Let's do a quadrat study here. Then, we can compare it to one we do further up the dune. Be sure to take the temperature of the sand, too. All we do for a quadrat study is to toss the plastic quadrat randomly over an area of the ground. Then we simply count the number of individual plants or estimate the percent coverage of plants inside the quadrat. The quadrat study reveals one beachgrass plant and one succulent, which according to our field guide is called a sea milkwort. Taking the temperature here gives a reading of 85 degrees beneath the sand dune and 100 degrees at the surface of the sand dune. (No wonder our feet are burning!) The air feels much hotter here in the primary dunes than it did at the shoreline.

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