I have returned from the mountains of North Carolina where the air is cool enough for sweaters, pumpkins are being harvested and the trees are beginning to change into their vibrant fall colors. It was great to get away but there are no white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters in the Smokies.
While I was away trying to select the perfect pumpkin and romping through fall leaves, our Marine Biology class was hard at work as Mr. Wilson gathered different colored algae for our Honors Marine Biology Class to observe and study under the microscope.
On that same day our class welcomed Holly West, Sea Turtle expert from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. The sea turtle is an endangered marine mammal who nest on our beaches and all along the coast of Florida from May through July.
She further explained that the development and building of sea walls prevents sea turtles from nesting. Bright lights on the beach front can be harmful and confuse turtle hatchlings since they head toward the brightest light that should be the ocean, not condominiums. Turtles get caught and drown in crab traps, discarded fishing lines and hooks. Debris in the ocean water will be eaten by baby turtles, causing many to die.
Holly explained the life cycle of sea turtles as well as the various ways to identify the 5 different species by the plate formation of their shells, nesting tracks, as well as determine their sex, age and hearing capabilities. Mote Marine is able to rescue and rehabilitate injured sea turtles. Thank you Sophie for introducing us to Holly. Thank you Holly West for sharing your expertise on Sea Turtles with us!
Sarasota Bay is an estuary of national significance. Estuaries are places where freshwater mixes with salty water from the sea. Teeming with life, our nation’s estuaries provide vital habitats for 80 percent of the world’s fish and shellfish species. Estuaries are one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources, creating more food per acre than the richest farmland. Sarasota Bay is one of the 28 estuaries in the United States that have been named by the US Congress as an “estuary of national significance.” Established in 1989, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is committed to restoring and preserving Sarasota Bay.
On October 4, 2012 our class welcomed Sara Kane, Public Outreach Manager of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.
Sarasota Bay is a coastal lagoonal system formed by a necklace of barrier islands to the west and the mainland of Manatee and Sarasota Counties to the east. This coastal lagoon, with its unique ecological character of small embayments, tidal tributaries and small creeks, coves, inlets and passes, stretches from Anna Maria Sound to just north of the Venice inlet. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring Sarasota Bay through habitat restoration, ecotourism, conducting environmental research and education. Working with local government and citizens our water quality has improved in all bay segments, seagrass beds are recovering, bay scallops have returned, restored wetlands and artificial reefs are creating new habitat for marine life, recreational fishing is excellent and the community has upgraded wastewater treatment plants and initiated stormwater run-off prevention projects.
Artificial Reef in Sarasota Bay
Ms. Kane discussed many exciting careers in Marine Science. There are also many opportunities for you to get involved as a Sarasota Bay Guardian Volunteer from beach clean-up to planting beach grass.
Our lab, Microscopic Observation of Sea Grass (Turtle Grass – Thalassia). We examined and recorded the many different epiphytes that were on the grasses. Check out these YouTube videos on sea grass.
- Read Module 4 Pages: 77 – 87
- Answer On Your Own questions 4.1 – 4.4
- Answer Study Guide Questions: Define a – l and questions 2 – 11
- Complete lab – Bring to class each week. Must be a composition notebook.
- Complete Module 3 Test
- Notebook check on Thursday ***IMPORTANT*** Have all of module tests completed and graded. Also have your notebook in order with the following tabs:
a. Class handouts and class notes
b. Answers to On Your Own Questions
c. Answers to Study Guide Questions
d. Class Quizes
e. Module Tests (Parents please supervise the test and grade them – thanks!)
Have a great week and remember not to go for a ride on a manatee! -Mrs. S