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Sharks and Rays of Port Phillip Bay

About the Program

This program introduces students to the fauna of Port Phillip Bay (and southern Australia), specifically chondrichthyans (fish with a cartilaginous skeleton) by understanding their habitats, known life cycles, functional morphology (anatomy) and their diverse evolutionary traits.

Additionally, this program will teach students about the geological history of Port Phillip Bay and the ways in which humans impact shark/ray populations/habitats in Port Phillip Bay.

• What is evolution?
• What is a shark/ray?
• Why should we preserve sharks/rays?
• Geologic history of Port Phillip Bay
• What impacts are humans having on the marine environment (such as Port Phillip Bay)?

Excursion Duration:
45 mins
Year Level:
Prep – Year 8
Group Size:
$150 +GST for up to 50 students
Program Themes:
sharks, rays, evolution, life cycle, extinction, Port Phillip Bay

• F-2 Living things have a variety of external features and live in different places where their basic needs, including food, water and shelter, are met (VCSSU042)
• 3-4 Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)
• 5-6 Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
• 5-6 The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)
• 7-8 Ways that flows of water connect places as they move through the environment and the ways this affects places (VCGGK106)
• 7-8 Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity (VCSSU093)

In this program, students will learn everything they need to know about sharks, rays and the incredible diversity of these cartilaginous fish in Port Phillip Bay (and southern Australia).

Sharks are not dangerous “man-killers”, unlike what is seen in the media. With over 500 different species known on our planet today, they play vital roles in marine ecosystems. We’ll take you on a journey more than 420 million years into the past, to understand their evolution, and the incredible adaptations that have allowed them to succeed for eons. By looking into the different species that currently exist in Port Phillip Bay (and their retrospective life cycles), students will have a newfound appreciation for these top-order carnivores by understanding their anatomical features that have them so successful.

Rays are equally as misunderstood as sharks. Port Phillip Bay has some of the largest stingrays in the world; at the size of a small car, these stingrays are docile and inquisitive (unlike what it represented in the media).

This program will make students question how humanity has shaped the ecology of Port Phillip Bay and what they can do to preserve it for future generations.

A Q-and-A session, following the program, will allow students to investigate any further topics and/or questions in detail with the presenter.

This incursion is delivered online using Zoom. A teacher and class can join the session from the classroom or remotely from home. A meeting link and instructions will be sent out with the booking confirmation. Minimum group size is 20, maximum group size is 50.
An invoice will be forwarded after the incursion is completed. The fee covers our programs administration costs. Please book your incursion at least 7 days in advance – we are unable to accept last-minute bookings.

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Please note, outdoor excursions only run on Tues, Wed, Thursdays.

School Information

Organising Teacher Details

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional custodians of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other First Nations and Elder members of our multicultural community.