Sunday, January 29, 2017

NOAA Gateway

HI Sea Fans!

I had the privilege of visiting the NOAA Gateway, an interactive exhibition about NOAA's science.

"Hand of NOAA" by Ray Kaskey – this sculpture of a giant hand releasing seagulls to the ocean represents the agency’s mission of recording and protecting the environment.
This model ship is the  Oceanographer launched on 18 April 1964. She was 92 m (303 feet) long, the largest vessel constructed for research purposes to date. She had a very distinctive appearance with her stark white paint, large radome aft of the funnels, and heavy crane on the aft deck. She had a number of labs (chemistrywet and dry oceanographic, meteorologicalgravimetric, and photographic) and several winches.

The Survey of the Coast was formed in 1807, renamed a few times and then became a part of NOAA in 1970. 

Some items from early Coast Survey ships included china, a hat and epaulets from uniforms.

The Survey's mission was to provide accurate nautical charts (maps of the oceans), but now it includes most of the physical sciences including:

·         hydrography (the science of the measurement and description and mapping of the surface waters of the earth with special reference to navigation),
·         geodesy (the branch of maths dealing with the shape and area of the earth or large portions of it),
·         astronomy (the study of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole),
·         topography (detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area),
·         oceanography (the study of the physical and biological properties and phenomena of the sea.),
·         tide and current measurement and prediction,
·         seismology (the study of earthquakes and related phenomena),
·         magnetics,
·         national standards,
·         photogrammetry (the use of photography in surveying and mapping to figure out measurements between objects.),
·         and more.

I loved my visit, but I really enjoyed the videos from Ocean Today ( and the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which is a specialized device that allows a captured sea turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman's net. 
In particular, sea turtles can be caught when bottom trawling is used by the commercial shrimp fishing industry. In order to catch shrimp, a fine meshed trawl net is needed.

Here are my new friends, Bruce, Molly and Peg in front of the new Science on Sphere (
Thanks so much to Peg Steffen for showing me around!

Have a great week, Sea Fans!
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET)

.Hi Sea Fans!

From one interesting place to the next!  I got to visit the Aquaculture Research Centre at IMET.  
Watching the European Sea Bass

The scientists at IMET study the ocean and environment to be able to protect and restore it, as well as make sure that people stay healthy and use the resources (something that is found in nature and can be used by people. Earth's natural resources = light, air, water, plants, animals, soil, stone, minerals, and fossil fuels.) in a way that makes sure that future generations (your children and their children) get to enjoy them too.

The research centre is 1 800 square metres of pumps, filters and tanks!  The scientists can change all of the conditions that the animals live in like: lighting; water temperature; water pH; water flow; etc.  This means that they can change the environment of the animal or plant that they are studying to suit any experiment.  They make their own sea water and use ozone to keep it clean and disease-free for the finfish and shellfish that they study.
I was checking out the Blue Crabs here.
Have a look at these links to see more:

Thanks so much to Steve Rogers for showing me around!!

Have a great weekend Sea Fans!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gulf of Maine Research Institute Lab Venture Programme

Hi Sea Fans!

I have som uch of my trip to catch up on in this blog, it's unbelievable how much fun we've been having (and how little time I've had to sit down and write).  Here goes:

My next stop was in Maine at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) LabVenture! program. This program is for Maine's 5th and 6th grade students. Students pretend to be a scientist and do their own hands-on research in the interactive lab.

This week, I helped the educators with the LabVenture! program.
I waited with the staff for the students to arrive to hand out name tags so students could get to work as scientists.
Molly, Becca, and I led the students through the half-day hands-on interactive lab experience. Students were working to answer the question: “How are Cod, Lobsters, Herring, and Humans connected in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem?”

With Molly and Becca.
Students worked at interactive stations to collect data, make observations, use the tools of science, and create videos. I got a chance to try the stations as well. It was really fun to control the underwater cameras using the joystick!

I helped students use a caliper to measure the carapace of a lobster. The length of a lobster's carapace can help scientist understand how quickly lobsters are growing.
I even got to observe GMRI's large blue lobster in their large benthic tank and learned about how cod and lobsters interact. The lobster was bigger than me!

I also helped Molly and Becca listen to the videos students created at the stations and picked which work to share with the whole class.

The day went really quickly and the students were busy at the stations the whole time. It was great to see so many students having fun and doing science!  Thanks Meredyth and friends for showing me around!

So those of you living in Maine, go and join in!!

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Do you want to be a marine biologist?

Hi Sea Fans!

Those of you living in South Africa have an amazing opportunity...the Two Oceans Aquarium has started offering special courses to those interested in possibly following a career in the marine sciences.

Grade 6 - Junior Biologist - FREE!
Grade 7 - Junior Smart Living - FREE!
Grade 8 - Marine Science Discoverer
Grade 9 - Marine Science Explorer
Grade 10 - High School Volunteer Course
Grade 11 & 12 - Zoology & Oceanography (FET)

Check out all the details here:

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why are Great White Sharks not on display in an aquarium?

Hi Sea Fans!

I often get asked all sorts of questions, but this one seems to pop up often, especially in the summer season or after Shark Week.  Luckily, I came across a video link today to explain:

Have a great week Sea Fans!

Chat soon
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