Hero photograph
This activity resource was designed and illustrated by Emily Colquhoun, a student from the Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago. 
Photo by NZ Marine Studies Centre

Murder mystery on the rocky reef

New Zealand Marine Studies Centre —

Use your sleuthing skills to solve a murder! Coco the cockle has been found dead in the touch pool. Who did it? Download the background notes and instructions, see what clues you can find in the touch pools and watch the supporting videos.

Yesterday morning Detective Shell-Look Homes was on his way to have a morning feed in the seaweed patch when he noticed the empty cockle shell on his path. After some investigation he realised that the victim was Coco the Cockle and that someone had killed and eaten her. This was no accident! 

A photo of Coco the Cockle, the victim, prior to her murder. — Image by: NZ Marine Studies Centre

Detective Shell-Look Homes said that a number of suspects have been identified. The fishy webcams, that are constantly filming the area, may shed some light on the situation. 

Detective Shell-Look Homes and Dr Whatson are leading this investigation.  — Image by: New Zealand Marine Studies Centre

Dr Whatson, a marine science expert, has been brought onto the case. He will be working with Detective Homes to rule out certain suspects based on their behaviours.

Can you help Detective Shell-Look Homes Dr Whatson solve this case.  Who murdered Coco the Cockle?

Download here to get the activity book to help you to solve this murder mystery..https://www.otago.ac.nz/marine-studies/otago729749.pdf

Find all the other NZ Marine Science Centre resources here:


This resource is designed for children from 4-6 years of age to be used by teachers and parents, using the live webcams streaming from the NZ Marine Studies Centre and videos created for this resource from the pools on display: https://www.otago.ac.nz/marine-studies/webcams.

Children are encouraged to complete each activity and fill out the evidence table on the final page. Further resources that build on the food web knowledge include ‘Who Eats Who?’, rocky shore colouring book and ‘Life in a Rock Pool’, activity poster, which are available to download from www.otago.ac.nz/marine-studies/resources.