Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More at Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Hi Sea Fans!

After diving in the exhibits at DISL and partying up a storm with the docents at their annual party, I got to spend a day with the Discovery Hall Programs.

The day that I went, the elementary school on the island visited the Sea Lab for a Touch Lab.  DISL’s marine educators use the hands-on Touch Lab, a collection of preserved marine animals (animals that died and have been dried or put in special liquid called formalin that makes them stay in one piece), to teach students from across Alabama and beyond about the amazing creatures inhabiting their local waters. I joined the Dauphin Island Elementary 3rd graders in learning about marine life of the Gulf of Mexico.

Students examine a preserved pregnant female Blue Crab.  Female Blue Crabs can produce up to 2 million eggs at a time!
Students took turns checking out the baby Lightning Whelk Snails under the microscope.
A Lightning Whelk.   Photo: www.wrightsvillebeachscenictours.com
Students learnt about the different body shapes and adaptation fish can have, from the round and spiky puffer or blowfish, to the flat and camouflaged flounder and the remora (shark sucker) which has a suction cup on top of its head!
Checking out the Pufferfish.
We then got to check out sharks, skates and stingrays...which are all related and have skeletons made up of cartilage.  (If you want to find out more about some different sharks and other predators, check out my book called PREDATORS in a bookstore near you OR order it online from Art Publishers, www.artpublishers.co.za).

A Bull Shark Jaw (known as a Zambezi where I come from).
The last thing we got to check out was bones bones bones!  
The boys loved the skull of the Loggerhead Turtle.
So all in all, it was a great time had by all.  I think the boys and girls had so much fun because it was all smiles when they said goodbye.  It was great to meet you all and I hope some of you decide to become marine biologists one day!! : )

That's it from me for today Sea Fans, chat soon.

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