Friday, June 22, 2012

Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies

Hi Sea Fans!

Wow, I’m having such fun here in California!  I got to go to the California Science Centre as well as the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles to meet more people.  Everyone's been so nice and shown me so much, keeping me really busy! Now I know what it feels like to be a graduate student working in a science laboratory!  It is really challenging. 

While I was at the university, I got my picture taken with a statue of George TireBiter, a local stray dog that became USC's most adored mascot in the 1940’s, and is still a legend today. 

Next, I visited a USC science laboratory in the Department of Biological Sciences where Patrick Sun and his graduate students are studying algae.  I really liked seeing how the different species of algae grow. 

Another student, Nathan Walworth, was also in the middle of a very important experiment about ocean acidification (remember the acidification experiments I got to see in Alaska?  Have a look in the blog archives to find out more!).  The programs at USC focus on the study of marine organisms and how they interact with each other and the environment, as well as the details of complex marine ecosystems (lots of big words, but what this basically means is that they look at how the living things in the sea live where they do (ecosystem = The plants and animals that are found in a particular location).  If you are interested in marine biology or oceanography, you should visit their website:  and watch a movie about USC students. 

Afterward, I took a boat to this amazing island called Catalina off the coast of California.  This peaceful island was once on the bottom of the ocean floor and is a protected marine reserve.  The USC laboratory there is called the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC). You can visit the website at and see all the great activities they offer researchers and educators from all over the world. 

On the island, I joined the QuikSCience Challenge winning teams.  The QuikSCience Challenge is a programme where students from all over the world prepare and present a project about the ocean or any water-related topic.  Each team submits their project and then they get to go kayaking and hiking on the island for a day - really cool, I thought!  The grand prize is a week long expedition for their entire team.  

You can follow my adventures with the two winning teams, SMASH (Santa Monica Alternative School House) and St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, as we travel all over the island collecting sand samples, bugs, kayaking, viewing wild animals, and snorkeling new places. You can check out all the activities we did during the week by checking out the students' daily blog on this website: 
(Have a look at the photo of a flying fish being eaten - amazing!) 

And, guess what?!  I met a boy named ADDY (no kidding!) and I think he likes me. We dared each other to kiss a sea cumber for good luck!  

Addy didn’t like it very much, but I did. 

Well, this was very exciting…. And the sunrises on Catalina are the best, 

but now I’m back on the mainland and off to San Pedro, California to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium!

Have a great weekend Sea Fans!
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