Friday, May 25, 2012

Marine Field Trip 2012

Tuesday was Marine Science Field Trip day, so here come the annual critter pictures ...

 Juvenile crabs and shrimp of all kinds came up in the net, a small dredge, that we towed briefly behind the boat. The main point of this trip is to bring home the importance of the seagrass community to sea life populations and the grass never fails to do this.
 Here's a sample of what lies beneath. The actual seagrasses are rooted pretty securely in the bottom, but the algae is not, so a lot of it comes on board. We hoist the net on board, dump the contents, and then the students pick through it looking for animals.

We have a priority system and constantly tell the kids,  "Fish First!" ... meaning pick out and toss back the fish immediately. We lose a few, but most make it back in the water alive. A few go to an aerated bucket for a trip back to the classroom aquarium.
Those will be released in a week or two, since the school year is winding down.
("Winding down" is misleading, because it's really a time of frenetic activity as teachers try to get to enriching projects that had to wait until all of the required state mandated testing was over)

A young stone crab raises a defiant claw to the giant human.

Here is a young scallop who will grow rapidly and be full size and delectable by August. I noticed far more young scallops this year than in previous years. Florida's bay scallop season runs from July to September. You can search Pure Florida for a scalloping post from last summer if you want to learn how that is done.

This crown conch is actually a voracious predator. My daughter Emma has one in her classroom aquarium that ate all of the periwinkle snails in the tank ... except for the one who figured out that the only safe place was the back of the crown conch's shell.

The lone periwinkle spends his day condemned to riding atop  his jail snail where one misstep means a death sentence. If he can watch his step for another week, he and his aquarium mates will be released.

The shoreline collectors found lots of hermit crabs of all sizes. Hermits prowl the shallows and if you just stand still and watch, you are bound to see one waddling your way. They're really popular with the students since they are very docile. 

 Anchovy sans can or pizza.
This is the amazing face of a batfish. I post one of these every year around this time. The batfish is a bottom creeper with a body plan that doesn't make you think of fish immediately.
The batfish we captured this year were smaller than our usual catch. I never have much luck with these odd fish in the aquarium, so we only bring them back for a week or so and then let them go.

See what I mean?
If you didn't already know, would you really suspect this was a fish? 

This trip was a joint trip between the school ( my old school) where my daughter Emma teaches and my school. It was her first field trip as a professional and she teaches marine science too, so we combined our kids and had a great day.

Watching her interacting and managing her students, it was clear that she would have been just fine without me along.

She's a natural.


kevin said...

Looks like a great day for everybody.

jamiew1013 said...

This looks like it was a lot of fun!

threecollie said...

Too much fun!

Kaybe said...

The best way to instill a respect for shore creatures is hands on. You have a teaching gift for sure. So nice to share it with family too. Happy Memorial Day.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Looks like it was a fun day. You're right, I would never think the Batfish was a real fish.

I would imagine that Emma would be fine. She had a great teacher and mentor growing up!

Have a good weekend.


Pablo said...

Just when I think I can't respect and admire you more, you pull off one of these!

Caroline said...

We finished yesterday. Our fun projects are the delight of everyone at the very end. I am still sporting a henna tattoo on my arm from my wrist to my elbow, done by one of my favorite kids. I am 63 and dress a la LL Bean most of the time, Indian wedding style henna is quite the addition.

Deb said...

These kids are so lucky to have teachers like you and Emma! I'm sure the students will remember this more than all those days in the classroom.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for the support and kind words, y'all. I look forward to these trips as much as the kids.

Wendy said...

This is SO COOL!

Kathy said...

How proud you must be! Emma must also be very proud of her dad to have followed in his footsteps, don't you think? Lovely photo of you two.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Bat=Zick's favorite mammal
Batfish=Zick's new favorite fish
this post=quintessential PF barbeque awesomesauce

Julie Zickefoose said...

Oh, and I LOL'ed at the notion of the periwinkle that figgered out how to escape the conch. There's a powerful office politics metaphor in that.

Kat said...

Where did you guys go on your field trip and what school is this at?