Beach walks to revel in the ocean’s biodiversity

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Scott Neil with his daughter Adeleine, 5, at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconScott Neil with his daughter Adeleine, 5, at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson

Discovery Beach Walks are set to take the mystery out of the strange and bizarre things found at the beach.

As part of next week’s Middleton Beach Festival, the Museum of the Great Southern is hosting the walks so families can explore Albany’s coastline and collect items to examine.

Looking under a microscope at the items that are found, the event will shed light on what makes Albany a global diversity hotspot.

Learning and engagement officer Scott Neil said people would get a hint of the level of biodiversity in and around our coastal waters.

“Beachcombing can be a bit like detective work — unless you dive or even snorkel then you aren’t going to see the variety of life within our coastal waters,” he said.

“By examining the items on the shoreline, we can piece together clues about what’s out there.

“(People) will be able to view some of the Museum’s specimens up close and discover the important role that museums play in collecting and identifying.”

Mr Neil said one thing he loved to examine was cuttlefish bones.

“Even if they are just partial remains you can still estimate the overall size of the cuttlefish and on close examination, they often have teeth marks caused by dolphins or sea lions,” he said.

“The one thing we don’t want to find on the beach is rubbish. A good rule to follow is the only thing you should leave behind on the beach are footprints.

“Unfortunately, the presence of plastics in the environment is very concerning and microplastics, nurdles (plastic pellets) and fishing lines are some of the threats to our wildlife.”

The Discovery Beach Walks take place at Middleton Beach on January 20 and 21 from 10am-3pm. There will also be a beach clean and sorting station on Friday, January 24.

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