Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kayaks, Winklers, and Otter Trawls....oh my!

Today was the start of the RWU Summer Marine Biology Camp, a one-week, intensive, hands-on marine biology experience for high school kids. And I'm running it. Or rather, I'm co-running it with Scott Rutherford, our resident geologist. Today, 15 students arrived with their parents (well, technically, 14 arrived with parents, 1 flew in solo from CA), got settled into their dorm rooms, and got oriented to the program. Our week is packed full - so much so that I think I may not see my wife and kids until Saturday. Sorry, Linda! Here's a quick run-down of some of the things happening the week:

  • kayaking at Ninigret Pond - we'll explore this coastal lagoon (aka salt pond) and associated habitats (salt marsh, sand/mud flats, barrier beach, eel grass beds), keeping an eye out for as many critters as we can

  • tidepooling at Beavertail State Park - a great, wave-swept, rocky intertidal area - perfect for observing zonation

  • using a small, hand-deployable CTD to create water column profiles in Mt. Hope Bay (a part of Narragansett Bay)

  • using Van Dorn bottles to collect water samples at various depths for chlorophyll analysis

  • phyto- and zooplankton tows and then some microscope work to see what we caught

  • investigation of primary productivity using light and dark bottles and Winkler titrations (if I can find the burets!)

  • fish seining at a local beach - we should find plenty of silversides, mummichog, and sheepsheads, among other things

  • deploying an otter trawl off the 54' fishing-cum-research vessel, the Captain Bert - I am really looking forward to this one as I have never done or seen this before - we should pull up a good variety of critters, hopefully with minimal harm/bycatch

  • whale watching on Stellwagen Bank - a good way to end the week.

Just so you don't think the students are having all fun this week, there are also evening lectures after dinner that they have to endure and a final exam at the end. I'll be giving a lecture later in the week on marine mammals (!!) in prep for the whale watch (more on this later). Should be an exhausting, but fun week!

No comments: