Your Learning Connection | Vol. 13
Have you ever visited a farm before? What about a farm in the ocean? That’s right! Here on the seacoast we farm on land as well as in the water! By definition, aquaculture is the cultivation of plants or animals in water, whereas the cultivation of plants or animals on land is called agriculture.
Aquaculture includes the cultivation of sea life such as seaweeds, fishes, and mollusks. In New Hampshire, farmers harvest ocean life at the Great Bay Estuary, the Hampton-Seabrook Estuary, and in the Gulf of Maine! To learn more about what can be grown using aquaculture check out our Ocean Farming page.
Food Chains and Food Webs
There are many different ways in which organisms interact. A food chain is a series of organisms that are connected through nutrients and energy — in other words, they eat each other! Food chains are natural and essential to life as they help regulate the population of plants and animals and ensure living things in an ecosystem all get ample amounts of food.
As the discovery of life evolved, scientists found that simple food chains don’t fully illustrate the complex pictures of ecosystems, so food webs were designed. Food webs represent the real world more accurately as they depict the relationships between organisms in a more realistic way. In a food web, arrows point from an organism that is eaten to the organism that eats it. Follow the trail of arrows to see the full process! Try it out our Food Web Activity and make your own food web!
Want to do some more research? Click the video below for more information and examples about food chains explained by naturalist Daryn! For even more information about food chains and webs visit Khan Academy for a deeper explanation and more in depth vocabulary.
Animal and Plant Defenses
Do you ever feel scared or uneasy? How do you react? Did your body respond in a certain way? We as humans have natural defense mechanisms that help us stay safe, and other animals do too!
There are hundreds of animals that have defense mechanisms, can you think of some? Birds, reptiles, and mammals use color and patterns to disguise themselves and blend in with their surroundings. Insects have adapted markings to make them look like other insects, plants, or animals to intimidate predators. And, poisonous animals often have bright colors to warn others to stay away. All these different types of defenses help protect the animal by helping them to hide from or scare off their predators.
Now, head outside to your backyard and see if you can find any animals that use a specific defense mechanism using the Animal Defense activity sheet.
Want to learn more? Watch the National Geographic WILD video about animal defenses against predators in the wild to see, and hear about all these different kinds of animals from around the world.
Have you ever done a leaf rubbing? By taking a closer look at textures and shapes, you can make close observations about different types of leaves and identify the trees that are in your surrounding area.
Seaweed printing is another fun way to experience the world around you, while also learning about the algae along your local coastline. From large sugar kelp, to small irish moss, the seaweed we have in the Gulf of Maine has a wide range in sizes, textures, shapes, and colors! What types of seaweed can you find? Check out this seaweed printing guide to make your very own creations!
We’d love to see your creations! To share them with us, email your designs to Emma at [email protected].
*This art project will require you to visit the ocean to collect seaweed from a local beach or tidal area. We would like to remind you that when collecting, only a few pieces of seaweed will go a long way. There is no need to collect more than a few pieces. In fact, taking too much seaweed could potentially harm the complex rocky shore ecosystem! Another friendly reminder that there is no collecting allowed of any kind at any state beach, including Odiorne Point State Park.