Marine science learning adventures at Pearson College

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 Marine Science students aboard MV Second Nature, head out to Race Rocks Marine Protected Area to do a quantitative, rocky shore study.

Marine Science students aboard MV Second Nature, head out to Race Rocks Marine Protected Areas to do a quantitative, rocky shore study.

Tidal currents boil and swirl around the study site and safety is top priority. A sharp look out for sneaker waves keeps everyone dry.

Tidal currents boil and swirl around the study site and safety is the top priority. A sharp look out for sneaker waves keeps everyone dry.

The first job is to stretch out a reference tape measure.

The first job is to stretch out a reference tape measure.

Using ancient but precise, Egyptian technology, the students carefully measure vertical height using a water level and record the abundance of different species as they work their way up the shore.

Using ancient but precise, Egyptian technology, the students carefully measure vertical height using a water level and record the abundance of different species as they work their way up the shore.

The students are learning about marine ecology by doing it.

The students are learning about marine ecology by doing it.

Getting up close and personal with limpets and periwinkles is the best way to make observations.

Getting up close and personal with limpets and periwinkles is the best way to make observations.

Direct observations help the students understand broader topics in marine science.

Direct observations help the students understand broader topics in marine science.

These little brooding anemones may not have a brain but they are sensible enough to "hang on" to their offspring and give them a head start over their 'cousins' with planktonic larvae.

These little brooding anemones may not have a brain but they are sensible enough to “hang on” to their offspring and give them a head start over their ‘cousins’ with planktonic larvae.

These ancient mollusks haven't changed much in several hundred millions years. That is because they are well adapted to hang on to the rock and scrape off the algae using a metal scraper (aka a radula with iron in it).

These ancient mollusks haven’t changed much in several hundred millions years. That is because they are well adapted to hang on to the rock and scrape off the algae using a metal scraper (aka a radula with iron in it).

These little aggregating anemones host algae in their skin, akin to the corals but soft. That is cooperation at its best.

These little aggregation anemones host algae in their skin, akin to the corals but soft.

Students work together to try and figure out the biotic and abiotic interactions that are shaping the the distribution of organisms.

Students work together to try and figure out the biotic and abiotic interactions that are shaping the the distribution of organisms.

Measurements of mussels and barnacles helps make sense of the abundance data.

Measurements of mussels and barnacles helps make sense of the abundance data.

Now comes the hard part of processing the raw data, pooling data and making sense out of the findings.

Now comes the hard part of processing the raw data, pooling data and making sense out of the findings.

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