Utilizing well-stocked aquariums along with preserved specimens and exhibits, our instructors will help students become more familiar with the fish they observed during their snorkels. Students are also introduced to the classification, anatomy, behavior, and unique adaptations of fish.
A host of local invertebrates are available to view and touch in this lab. Our large touch tank is well stocked with a number of these animals without backbones. Through close student examination of these animals, instructors facilitate discussions of classification, species identification, adaptations and natural history. Additionally, tiny parts can become major points of discussion while using the MVU (Macro Video Unit). The MVU allows real-time video to be displayed on a large flat screen TV, so all students can participate in the learning process.
In the algae lab, students will survey over a dozen local species of algae while using a dichotomous key. The classification, adaptations, anatomy, and various human uses of algae are topics for discussion. Students finish this lab by preparing a pressed algae sample for use back in their classroom.
Divided into teams, students will observe their samples through a video microscope and identify the different types of plankton that are present. Instructors will also lead students in a discussion of the food web and some of the effects pollution has on the world’s oceans. The instructor has a central monitor so the discoveries of one team can be shared with the rest of the class.
Students will discuss the lunar cycle, currents, tides, and the interaction between land and water, which creates this unique habitat. Using direct observation, students learn about the abundance and types of algae and animal species in the area. Discussion of the unique characteristics of tidal zones and their inhabitants further demonstrate adaptations, physiology, and ecology of tide pool biota.
The shark lab features a large touch tank filled with small sharks and their cartilaginous relatives, skates and rays. Having the opportunity to interact with these animals in a controlled environment helps to mitigate the myth of their danger. Instructors will use specimens and other visual aids to teach students the characteristic biology and different species of sharks. Presentations and hands-on activities, including a chance to touch the sharks, are used to lead students to a better understanding of these amazing marine creatures.