We typically go to the sea to learn about it and it’s organisms, but this week we brought the sea to the Center for “Sea Day.” This event brings Grades 1 through 4 from the local schools to the Center to learn about coastal ecosystems and a week’s featured creature – this week was the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).
Sea Day is filled with touch tanks (containing cushion sea stars (Oreaster reticulatus), slate-pencil urchins (Eucidaris tribuloides), donkey dung sea cucumbers (Holothuria mexicana), upside-down jellies (Cassiopea frondosa) and more), edible gelatin ecosystems, and “Who Am I?” games. Children also learned about humpback whales, which continue to amaze us on almost a daily basis with breaches and flipper slaps. Did you know that a humpback can only swallow food a little larger than a softball? With nearly 100 visitors, the event was a huge success. “Mad props” and “shooting stars” to Molly Roe, our Student Affairs Manager, for organizing this event as well as to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, our whale conservation partners in Plymouth MA, for sending supplies.
This has been a busy five weeks. James Squires, Our Dive Safety Officer and Marine Operations Coordinator, completed teaching an Open Water SCUBA class and is winding up Advanced Open Water SCUBA. Interns and students are busy profiling beaches as part of a Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation grant to study climate change impacts on sea turtles in the TCI and measuring water quality. Case Study 1 is winding up and exams are just around the corner. Of course, shark and turtle tagging trips continue in the evenings. It seems like we are busy all the time! Faculty have their Directed Research projects ready and are preparing for the selection process next week. We are also gearing up for the field trip to Middle and North Caicos and ending in Providenciales… stay tuned for our next post!