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Cheers DeepEnd Crew!!
I have another tale to tell you! On Friday March 4, 2016 Nina Pruzinsky and I went to New River Middle School to present our deep-sea knowledge!! Thanks to Creep into the DEEPEND lecture series, members of the DeepEnd team are able to share their knowledge and experiences to classrooms both near and far! New River Middle School, located in Fort Lauderdale, has a unique magnet program for marine science filled with bright, eager student ready to learn!
We arrived at New River Middle School on Friday afternoon to be the guest speakers for Mr. Kyle Lendick 6th grade marine science class. As part of their class work Mr. Lendick fully utilizes the online teaching material found on our website and as such the kids were eager to meet some of the scientists they have been following the last few months. For all three classes we did a quick introductory PowerPoint covering the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, research activities of DeepEnd and our thesis topic. During the presentation we strongly encouraged questions and we were not disappointed!! Kids wanted to know things ranging from our favorite ocean critter to what happens to the fish during the trawling process.
Once we finished our presentation we had a full blown Q&A session where the kids were able to continue their line of questions for a short while until the real fun started! Nina and I were able to bring in some deep-sea fish for the kids! This was a truly unique opportunity for the kids because they were able to see fish that most people do not even know exist!! We divided the class in half and we talked about deep-sea adaptations exhibited by the specimens. Some of the adaptations we were able to highlight include bioluminescence, pigmentation changes with depth, decrease musculature and feeding strategies. During this show and tell we got to have more of a one-on-one experience, which the kids truly enjoyed!
Thank you New River Middle School for signing up for Creep into the DEEPEND and I, along with the rest of the DEEPEND crew hope to see you again!
Hello DeepEnd readers!
I want to let you know about a special opportunity that I had recently! On February 18 2016 I was a guest speaker at Sheridan Technical High School!! Ms. Brittney Smith, who is a first year teacher down in Fort Lauderdale, invited me to speak to her AP Environmental Science class. Their recent unit dealt with different biomes found throughout the planet, the variety of life found within, and how human activity has altered the environment.
The reason for my visit was to dive a little deeper into the oceanic environment and teach the kids about an area of the ocean that is little understood or explored. The deep sea is considered to be the world’s largest biome, with 90% of the ocean classified as deep sea. Contained within this massive volume are some truly unique ecosystems each with their own challenges, organisms, and adaptations. We discussed general challenges that organisms face in the deep-sea such as: increased pressure, lack of down-welling light, low temperatures, and a food poor environment. The kids learned some adaptations commonly seen in deep-sea critters: bioluminescence, transparency, red, brown, and black skin pigmentation, slower metabolism, delayed sexual maturity, longevity, brittle bones and flabby muscle tissues. Much to the students delight I was able to bring some specimens along so they could see what these amazing critters look like and how different they are to the classical fish image that comes to their minds.
I reintroduced the kids to the unique ecosystems that the deep contains, such as hydrothermal vents, methane seeps, brine pools, and whale falls. We also learned about some of the critters associated with these unique oases.
Human impact is a very consistent theme for AP Environmental Science. We learned how and why deep-sea fisheries are unsustainable by looking at case studies of Orange Roughy and Chilean Sea Bass. We learned the dangers of bottom trawling and how plastics can impact the oceans.
As my time with each class came to a close I was able to tell them about all the cool stuff we are doing with DeepEnd and how they can follow us on social media and even ask us questions! The students left the classroom seeing fish that most of the world does not know exist and with a deeper understanding and sense of wonderment of the world’s largest biome!!