Our coastlines are teeming with unique and fascinating species, each with their own role in our coastal ecosystems.
Did you know?
- New Zealand has a coastline over 15,000 km long, making it the ninth longest in the world.
- Scientists estimate there may be up to 65,000 marine species in New Zealand waters, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. There could even be species that haven’t been discovered yet.
- New Zealand has over 40 marine reserves around the country, providing protecting for our treasured marine taonga.
Marine Metre Squared (Mm²)
Marine Metre Squared is a fun and easy way to get involved in scientific monitoring of your local coastal environment.
Simply select an area of your local coastline to monitor and explore, record all the plants and animals your can see in a 1 m x 1 m square patch, then share your findings online with other Mm² members.
Monitoring the plants and animals on our shores helps us to understand their abundance, distribution, and how these may change over time due to environmental disturbances.
The Marine Metre Squared project is being run by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago.
What you’ll need
Once you’ve chosen your area for exploration, you’ll need to check with your parents/guardian that it’s safe and that they can accompany you while you conduct your research.
Go online to Mm² to download a data sheet and seashore guide suitable for your selected area (Note: you will need to register with Mm² before you can access their resources).
Make sure to check a tide table so you can plan your visit as close to low tide as possible.
You will also need:
- Swimming togs or waterproof clothing (depending on the weather)
- Good footwear that won’t slip on rocks or slippery surfaces
- A 1 m x 1 m square outline (ask a parent to help you make this)
- A notepad and pen
- A camera to capture your discoveries (optional)
Toyota Kiwi Guardians tip: Try not to disturb any animals you may find and make sure to leave your spot the way you found it. More information on how to minimise your impact on the shore can be found on the back of your shore guide.
Monitor and share your findings
Once you have recorded as much as your can find in your 1 m x 1 m square patch, log your findings at Mm².
Join online discussions about what other Mm² members found during their monitoring sessions and get feedback on what you found in your area.
If you need help identifying what you discovered, consult your Mm² shore guide.
Go back for more
To build up a picture of how the marine environment changes over time, try to complete this action at least once more in the same area – either a few metres away, or even during a different season.
Then go back and record your findings online, helping Mm² to build up their database on New Zealand’s amazing marine environments.
Can you think of something you could do with the information you collected? Perhaps you could design a poster to explain what you found or write to your local council and suggest ways they could help protect your local area.
Claim your Kiwi Guardians medal
Tell us about your Marine Metre Squared experience, where you went, what you found, and what you did about it.
Click on the yellow button at the top of the page to claim your Kiwi Guardians medal.
Each Kiwi Guardians action has its own medal. See how many you can collect and make a positive difference to the environment on the way.
Don’t forget to take photos while you’re in action. Share the photos using #KiwiGuardians and #MarineMetreSquared so we can see what you’ve done. Have fun!