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Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

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Ecosystem Dynamics – Intertidal Wetlands

Biology: Biolgical Diversity and Ecosystems Dynamics



The mangroves at Bobbin Head provide an interesting case study for students to investigate the relationships between the abiotic and biotic factors in an intertidal ecosystem. 

During the day, they will investigate adaptations, abundance and distribution, how species interact and human impacts and management. 

Special Note

This program requires a low tide day to enable the students to study the crabs. Please ask our staff when you are making a booking.

Inquiry questions

How do adaptations increase the organism’s ability to survive?

What effect can one species have on the other species in a community?

How can human activity impact on an ecosystems?

Learning Activities

Pre-excursion work

Students are expected to complete pre-visit work to ensure they are able to complete the fieldwork.

Human impacts and management

Students will assess Bobbin Head visually and using maps to determine what human activities may impact the mangroves at Bobbin Head.

Using images, they will describe how this area has changed over time and how these changes may have impacted mangroves.

Abiotic features of mangroves

Students will use scientific equipment to measure the abiotic features of the mangroves to consider the potential impacts of forecast climatic changes on the mangrove ecosystem.


Students will observe and record the physiological, behavioural and structural features of a species of crab that lives in the mangroves to identify and explain different adaptations.

They will also observe, identify and record the differences and adaptations of the two species of mangroves located at Bobbin Head.

Crab distribution

Following the Working Scientifically process, students will observe, hypothesise, plan and conduct an investigation for determining the abundance and distribution of crabs across the internal zone.

Vegetation distribution

Following the Working Scientifically process, students will collect, record and analyse data to determine how salinity affects the distribution of vegetation in the intertidal zone.

Post-excursion work - organism interactions

Students will use observations from their excursion to identify the various species that live in the mangrove ecosystem and using food webs and other sources, identify some of the key relationships (predation, competition and symbiosis) and predict consequences for populations of these biotic factors.

Depth study

Students are invited to use this to develop a depth study on an aspect of mangroves. The Mangrove Resource Hub support website provides further information.

Excursion Locations

This program is offered at Bobbin Head. Click on the image to find out more about this site.

Sample Timetable

NOTE: Variations to timetable based on specific location, number of students and weather.

Time Class A Class B Class C Class D

Acknowledgement of Country, Welcome

Human impacts and management

10.30am Morning Tea
10.50am Abiotic features  Adaptations Crab distribution Vegetation distribution
11.30am Adaptations Abiotic features  Vegetation distribution Crab distribution
12.10pm Crab distribution Vegetation distribution Abiotic features  Adaptations
12.50pm Vegetation distribution Crab distribution Adaptations Abiotic features 
1.30pm Lunch
2.00pm Finish and depart

Teacher Information

Download the program flyer

Excursion locations Bobbin Head
Bus access map

Map for access to venue will be sent with the confirmation

Please ensure you print a copy and provide to the bus driver on the morning of the excursion.


2024 DoE $20 per student - GST free

2024 Non-gov school cost $25 per student - GST free, minimum charge $600 per class. 

NOTE:  National Parks entry is $1.10 per student in addition

Class numbers and size

Up to 4 classes

Max. 30 students per class

Risk Assessments Bobbin Head
What to bring

Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes, mask.

Students wear sports uniform.

Adverse weather
On days where the weather is unsuitable (see risk assessment), a Gibberagong staff member will contact the organising teacher to discuss alternative arrangments.
Medical notifications
Notify Gibberagong EEC by completing and returning the medical form before the excursion. This form will be sent out upon confirmation of booking.

Program Resources

Mangrove Resource Hub

The Mangrove Resource Hub supports the fieldwork program and includes pre-visit activities, teacher programming outline and resources. This resources will support schools/students wanting to complete this as a depth study. Please contact the Centre for more information.

Mangrove Virtual Fieldwork

The Mangrove Virtual Fieldwork site is an online resource to support students who are unable to attend the fieldwork. Please contact the Centre for more information.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Biology Stage 6 Syllabus 


A student:

> develops and evaluates questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation BIO11/12-1

> designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-2

> conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-3

> selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media BIO11/12-4

> analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-5

> describes biological diversity by explaining the relationships between a range of organisms in terms of specialisation for selected habitats and evolution of species BIO1110

> analyses ecosystem dynamics and the interrelationships of organisms within the ecosystem BIO11-11


Module 3: Biological Diversity



  • conduct practical investigations individually or in teams, or use secondary sources to examine the adaptations of organisms that increase their ability to survive in their environment, including:

        - structural adaptations

        - physiological adaptations

        - behavioural adaptations

Module 4: Ecosystem Dynamics

Population Dynamics


  • investigate and determine relationships between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem, including:

        - the impact of abiotic factors

        - the impact of biotic factors, including predation, competition and symbiotic relationships

        - the ecological niches occupied by species

        - predicting consequences for populations in ecosystems due to predation, competition, symbiosis and disease

        - measuring populations of organisms using sampling techniques

Past Ecosystems


  • analyse palaeontological and geological evidence that can be used to provide evidence for past changes in ecosystems, including but not limited to:

        - Aboriginal rock engravings, middens

Future Ecosystems


  • investigate changes in past ecosystems that may inform our approach to the management of future ecosystems, including:

        - the role of human-induced selection pressures on the extinction of species

        - the role of changing climate on ecosystems 


Biology Stage 6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017