Oceanography – Video Stories
Throughout the week, campers examined an array of tiny/planktonic aquatic organisms and were challenged to create a video story to document their experiences along they way. Today, our oceanographers had an opportunity to re-examine any of the living organisms they investigated throughout the week as independent exploration time! This gave them an opportunity to re-test, re-record, and re-take any images/videos needed to develop/fine-tune their video story. Volunteers shared their video-documentation in a share-a-thon at the end of the activities.
Ask your camper: What did you chose to explore today? (answers vary by camper)
Oceanography – A Model Jellyfish
Jellyfish are beautiful and mysterious ocean creatures. They have no bones, no brain, no heart, and no eyes. They have clear, bag-like bodies that contain their digestive organs and have trailing tentacles that are used to sting and capture prey. About 50% of all jellyfish are bioluminescent. Our biological modeling engineers created bioluminescent jellyfish models (to bring home) and that actually glow in the dark! They were challenged to make their models anatomically correct, but to use their own creativity along the way.
Ask your camper: Why do jellyfish use bioluminescence? (as a defense mechanism to evade predation)
Oceanography – Blubber Gloves
Blubber is an adaptation that marine mammals have to survive the frigid ocean temperatures. The young marine scientists used conducted an experiment today to create the most effective blubber possible! Upon first testing the temperature of the water, students found they could hardly hold their fingers in the ice water without protection more than their two layered rubber gloves. The marine scientists then were able to use materials like vegetable shortening, petroleum jelly, and cotton balls inside their “blubber gloves” to model actual blubber.
Ask your student: What was the dependent variable in the experiment today? (amount of time your hand was submerged in the water) What was the independent variable? (the material used to create the “blubber”)
Oceanography – Submarine Challenge – First Building Day!
Today was the first day that the students were able to start building their submarines for the Submarine Challenge! The campers used their knowledge of Archimedes’ Principle in order to design ballast tanks for the inside of their submarines. The ballast tanks are compartments that holds water on an aquatic vehicle, and provide stability & maneuverability. Students struggled with the design, but we can’t wait to see what they come up with after tomorrow when they continue building their submarines!
Ask your camper: What is Archimedes’ Principle and how does it apply to submarines?
Oceanography – Message in a Bottle
Many organisms use “living light”, or bioluminescence, to communicate – a common occurrence in ocean organisms! Bioluminescence is the production of light by a living creature. Our student researchers learned how to subculture a declining population of ocean algae called dinoflagellates! These “dinos” show bioluminescence when exposed to a disturbance (such as waves in the ocean, or simply by swirling their bottled culture). The campers will monitor their cultures all week and then get to take them home (care instructions provided)!!
Ask your camper: Why do the dinos need a light/dark cycle? (to mimic the natural light/dark cycle which allows them to ‘recharge’ during the light period so they can bioluminesce during the dark period).
Oceanography – Shark and Perch Comparisons
The ocean is one of the most diverse habitats, with a great variety of animals at all different depths. Fish are just one of the many different types of animals that call the ocean “home”. Today, our campers explored two types of fish (dissected earlier in the week) – a bony fish (perch) and a cartilaginous fish (spiny dogfish shark). They analyzed the similarities and differences between the two fish side by side, and quite literally got an ‘in depth’ view of the structures and functions of both fishes. One interesting investigation had the campers compare the livers of each fish.
Ask your camper: What happened when you placed both fish’s livers in water? The shark liver (markedly larger) floated while the perch liver sank. Why did this happen? The shark liver is largely involved with helping the shark remain buoyant in the water (perch have a swim bladder to help with buoyancy while the shark doesn’t).
Oceanography – Hydra-ology
Today, our team of oceanographers worked on another NOAA project involving a freshwater Cnidarian, the hydra. Turns out, in the Great Lakes of North America there is a population boom of the invasive Daphnia luminex (a close relative to the Daphnia we studied earlier this week). The Great Lakes all connect to the Atlantic Ocean. To prevent invasive spread of D. Luminex into the ocean waters, NOAA wanted us to test the feeding response of hydra on Daphnia to determine if it could be used as a biological control agent. They turned their camera phones into microscopes to document their investigation!
Ask your camper: Did the hydra eat the daphnia? (answers vary by campers, but chances are at least someone in the class had a successful foraging event!)
Oceanography – Perch Dissection
Our aspiring marine zoologists accomplished a perch dissection today! Perch are a type of bony fish and are fascinating because of many of their organs are analogous to our own (eyes, nose, jaw, bones, heart, stomach, liver, gonads, etc). Campers observed a variety of interesting adaptations unique to the perch, including a swim bladder which is a small, clear gas-filled sac inside the body of the perch which fills with air (or empties) allow the perch to have buoyancy in the water and gonads that take up so much room inside the perch that other structures are displaced!
Ask your camper: Why did the gonads of the fish occupy so much space inside the body of the perch? (fish carry out external fertilization, which requires production of a lot of gametes-hence, larger gonads – to increase the probability that at least some of the gametes become fertilized and turn into offspring, allowing those genes to pass into the next generation)
Oceanography – Sea-ing Glasses
Some of the most fascinating of sea creatures live in the deep ocean – deeper than rays of light can penetrate. Over generations, these sea creatures have changed colors to help them survive in the deepest parts of the ocean. Today the “under-the-sea interns” examined how light travels beneath the waves and how it affects the living organisms and their survival. The campers created specialty “sea glasses” that allow you to visualize how much light reaches the various depths of the ocean by layering blue cellophane. Using their sea glasses, the campers tested different color fabrics and images of marine life so they could see how visible the sea creatures are at different depths of the ocean.
Ask your student: How does the coloration of the animal help it to survive at different depths of the ocean?
Video of Daphnia magna taken by one of our campers, Yash, with his phone and a micro-phone lens!
Oceanography – Buoyancy and Water Pressure
Today our Ocean Engineers studied two important scientific principles (buoyancy and water pressure) that they can apply toward their upcoming design and build of a prototype submarine that they need to be able to maneuver in the water. Campers explored buoyancy by placing objects with different masses and volumes in a known volume of water and observing what happens to the water displacement. They also investigated water pressure by observing how intense water streams from holes situated at various heights along containers (1L and 2L).
Ask your camper: What factor (mass or volume) impacted the amount of water displacement? (volume). Where was water pressure the highest? (at the bottom of the containers)