Transects on the West Side of Race Rocks


CONTENTS: Background,
Numbering System
A00501 -West side of Great Race Rocks Island Some ideas for use of these transect photos
A00502, -West side of Great Race Rocks Island Tidal Levels
A00503 -West side of Great Race Rocks Island Procedures for Processing the Images
1998 Class Photo transects of PEG #15
North side of Great Race Rocks Island
Other transect images from different locations


The students and faculty of Lester B. Pearson College which is a member of the United World Colleges have used the ecological reserve and now the MPA of Race Rocks for studies of marine ecosystems, both subtidally and intertidally since1978. During that time a number of exercises have been developed to use in teaching ecological concepts in the International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems and Biology classes.

While using basic research techniques it has been possible to start to build up a library of information that can be more useful for determination of the effects of long term climatic changes or changes induced by humans, (anthropogenic). In addition this record may provide ideas to encourage others to apply the techniques to other ecosystems. In 1999 the Race Rocks Ecological Overview was added to help bring together the ecological information on Race Rocks.NUMBERING SYSTEMA numbering system had to be developed that reflected the concept that this was only one of many that could be referenced from this site if individuals from around the world were willing to collaborate with us in building the project.




A0 refers to the first site to be added to this WWW site
05 refers to the peg location ( we have 15 such locations permanently identified at the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.)
01 refers to the first transect entered from this location.
01 refers to the first quadrat picture that you can access on this photographic strip.

TIDAL LEVELS Since the location of organisms in the intertidal zone is partially determined by tidal levels, that is one of the essential measurements given with our transect images. It is important to understand that the levels given here are based on the Canadian tide tables
Victoria Tide TablesThese are not calculated the same way as tables from the United States. To convert the elevations given here to conform to the US pattern in which 0.0 equals mean lower low water, subtract 0.8 meters from these Canadian readings.You may find further explanation on the operation of Tides in any marine Biology or Oceanography text. One that may be useful is:
Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast– by Eugene Kozloff, page 7-9.

For TIDAL Heights of Other LOCATIONS, use this link


  • Quantify the distribution of organisms
  • Relate the distribution to the intertidal elevation
  • Find out how to capture these images
  • Use other technology to analyze the photos
  • Study the mussels in greater depth
  • Study other organisms from the transects in greater depth.
  • Students in environmental systems will use this as a source to prepare for investigations in the intertidal zone when we have the opportunity to do a field lab at the ecological reserve. The photo strips also could be used by those living far from an ocean shore to study the relationship between abiotic or physical factors and organism distribution. Also by noting the location of certain species, for instance the mussels, M. californianus and then seeing where they would fit on a tidal level chart for the area (using the Victoria Tide Tables) ,students could calculate the length of times for submergence and emergence of the species in a week, a month, or a year. In addition they could compare the conditions in the winter months, with the extreme low tides occurring in the night with the conditions in the summer months when the low tides occur every two weeks in the daytime. Students should be encouraged to discuss the results of their investigations and pose further questions about conditions in the intertidal zone. For a more in depth exercise on the Ecological Niche of organisms go here.

By looking here you might get a few ideas of how you can do some interesting investigations using these pictures. But don’t stop there, we would like you to collaborate with us by adding ideas and new transects to our list. It would be excellent if someone living on another ocean shore with different intertidal zonation patterns could supply a similar set of photographs for comparison.Go back to techniques for directions on how to contribute

TRANSECTS IN THE RACE ROCKS MPA By opening this picture you will see a larger view of the northwest corner of Great Race Rocks in the Race Rocks MarineProtected Area (A005), the site of the first transect in this project. The locations where the transect photos were taken are marked in red on the photo. 2. A00502 Press on the following photo to see in more detail the location of transect A00502 at the water end of the transect. (The meter stick is at the A0050209 location)

This transect is composed of 9 photos that you can scroll through from the upper intertidal region to the water at 0 meters tidal level.

LOAD Transect A00502 Photo Strip

1. A00501Press on the following photo to see in more detail the location of the first transect that was done for this project . ( A00501)

.LOAD Transect A00501 Photo Strip
The meter stick lies in the quadrat of the site nearest the water.The red arrow indicates where the transect was located.

In the following set of transect photos at this location, measurements of the elevation above the sea level are given for every meter beside each photo. It is suggested that you make a graph of the elevations, so you can visualize the slope of the intertidal community

The transect picture strips may take a minute to load, they are composed of 11 consecutive pictures When loaded you can scroll up and down through the entire intertidal zone.

3. A00503Press on the following photo to see in more detail the location of transect A00503.


This transect is composed of 9 photos that you can scroll through from the upper intertidal region to the water at 0 meters tidal level. The meter stick is at the A0050309 location. Press the back arrow to return to these directions

LOAD Transect A00503 photo strip