Big Dig 2014 - Mooroopna Secondary College

News article posted on 10 September, 2014

Mooroopna Secondary College Year 7 students took part in the Bug Blitz Big Dig Project at Gemmills Swamp in September.

The Big Dig is a project exploring life from leaf litter and soil, all the way to DNA.

Facilitated by the Goulburn Murray Landcare Network, the Mooroopna Secondary Year 7 students participated in class room activities on Wednesday 10 September learning about the different invertebrate species they will encounter; practising the use of the soil pH test and GPS unit; and making Berlese traps ready for the field trip.

On day 2, 11 Sept, 45 of the students went to Gemmills Swamp where, divided into 3 groups they put everything into practise:

  • Making quadrats,
  • Scientific measurements (pH, temperature)
  • Sweep netting and collection of live samples
  • Collecting ants for DNA sequencing
  • Site observations
  • Collecting half a square meter of leaf litter and soil for looking through back at school.

Back in the classroom the students have analysed their traps, studied the collected specimens, photograph and ID them, and sent ants to Melbourne for DNA sampling.

Two other schools around the state will also being doing their own local Big Dig projects and in November have a video conference to share their findings.

This project is made possible with assistance from Sidney Myer Fund.