Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Day 6

Last night's snorkel-the bioluminescence was way cool.  I waved my hand around in the water and little sparkles seemed to follow my hand.  It was like little stars in the water.  Do you know what it is?  Here is a definition from NOAA-

"Bioluminescent creatures are found throughout marine habitats, from the ocean surface to the deep seafloor.

The light emitted by a bioluminescent organism is produced by energy released from chemical reactions occurring inside (or ejected by) the organism.
If you’ve ever seen a firefly, you have encountered a bioluminescent organism. In the ocean, bioluminescence is not as rare as you might think. In fact, most types of animals, from bacteria to sharks, include some bioluminescent members.
While the functions of bioluminescence are not known for all animals, typically bioluminescence is used to warn or evade predators), to lure or detect prey, and for communication between members of the same species."

Day 6 and we're getting the hang of the plankton tows, got us some specimens then headed out for another kayak to count marine mammals.  We saw four sea lions out by the green buoy.  It was a good workout, a beautiful sunny day with a brisk breeze.

After lunch, we went back to the lab to look for the plankton that cause the harmful alga blooms.  No one had much luck today seeing the little creatures.  That's the way of science, sometimes you have good results and other times no; but no data is data! as I overheard one marine scientist saying.

Tomorrow is our last day here.  We will be driving into the interior of the island.  I'm hoping to see some of the island bison, (although I might feel guilty as I'm having a buffalo burger for lunch!)  I've been assured however, that the buffalo I will be eating is not from the island.  The bison here are protected.  (thank goodness).

It's been great here.  I learned a lot about how scientists conduct research.  There is a lot of meticulous work involved.  Every time you collect and examine data, the protocol has to remain the same, you need to be careful to keep it the same so that the results can be replicated. Your eyes get quite a workout looking through the microscopes for hours at a time, but you get better at it.

The world is fascinating.  There is so much to find out.  I challenge each and every one of you to go out into the world and learn as much as you can about how it all works.
Here's to science!

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