Digital Fishing on Citizen Science Cruise

We are looking at marine protected areas in
a new way. Marine protected areas are now tools that are being used around the world
to help protect oceans. We are putting together which is now called are marine protected areas
Citizen Science Cruise. So, todays program really focuses on the marine protected area
which is located right here off the Newport beach. The area stretches from one end of
Crystal Cove State Park all the way to the Newport jetty. There was a new law that was
passed on January first and this is our opportunity to involve students in the implementation
of that new law. So, we are going to turn you guys into the scientists that are going
to help us better manage are off shore recourses. So as Harry mentioned, your going out on the
marine protected area Citizen Science Cruise. It’s important for students to get a chance
to see what it’s like to be a scientist, so in the class room they learn about science,
they might do some activities in the classroom or they might read something in a text book,
but this program allows them to get out onto the water and out into the field and actually
be the scientist. They are the ones who are collecting the data, they are the ones who
are analyzing the data. It’s actually going to be used by scientists who are studying
the marine protected areas in the region. Scientists can’t be out on the water every
single day collecting the data, so the more students we have going out there collecting
data that helps the scientists better understand the ecosystem. We had designed the program
to allow us to be there to make sure the students are safe and we can teach them how to use
the equipment safely, but the goal was for us to then be able to step back and let the
students actually do the investigations. Once we get offshore to the marine protected area,
we deploy out plankton nets. They collect the plankton sample. We anchor the location where
the students get a chance to collect the rest of the data. But this program is really great
because we have students going out on a sport fishing vessel using fishing rods, but their
not catching fish their taking pictures of fish, and the Newport landing staff are always
so helpful in identifying them. Oh look at that, look at the sea star. Look at the anemone,
look at this guy he is expert at driving right now. And by studying populations in kelp forests
in a healthy reserve, we can start to understand whether or not the reserve is actually working.
Go ahead and do it again, move it around some more. When we look at the ocean we can’t really
tell the chemistry and what’s happening inside of it. Are students get to use special equipment,
in this case they are using a van dorn bottle. They lower the bottle down to different depths.
They send messengers down and capture the They send messengers down and capture the water right at that depth. Then the students
bring the water back up and they subject to a whole series of tests. The P.H. is eight
and the degrees is 18.2 Celsius. Once all the data is collected, we then go out and
look for some marine mammals and hopefully find some. We saw two blue whales. And then on the way back into the harbor, once we reach the harbor mouth the students get a chance
to actually analyze the data that they collected. It’s their job is to review the video that they
took of the fish to see what types of fish they saw there and how many there were. It’s
their job to use microscopes to look at the plankton sample that they collected to see
if they found any fish eggs or fish larva, and it’s there job to look at the water quality
that they collected and see if they can identify any trend. We had the water quality and we
collected water samples of various levels. Another important part of science is for scientist
to communicate what they’ve learned. Learning from a textbook and in class is one thing,
but really going outside and experiencing it for your-self is another. But it’s a lot
of fun getting to go hands on with water quality samples and plankton and digital fishing.
I just think the most exciting part of this program, for me, is to see how engaged the
students are in science education. As a science educator, it’s just great to see that students
can become excited about science and maybe even consider becoming a scientist when they
get older. We have students that are actively involved in today’s research. We put them
on the forefront of that research and allowed them to be part of protecting their oceans.

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