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Visit to New River Middle School

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On Friday, March 4, 2016, Mike Novotny and I visited Mr. Kyle Lendick's 6th grade Marine Science classes at New River Middle School. The three classes spent several weeks completing DEEPEND's grade 6-8 lesson plans (found in the Education/Outreach section under Education, Resources, Lesson Plans) before our visit, so the students had already obtained a knowledgeable background regarding the deep sea and our research. Upon our arrival, we could tell that every student was very excited to learn more about our experiences as DEEPEND members.

 

To start, Mike and I briefly explained how the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill influenced the need for research and baseline data in the Gulf of Mexico and how we were sampling the Gulf's ecosystem. The students found the discrete depth sampling of the MOCNESS net to be very interesting, and throughout our discussions, I stressed the term diel vertical migration. This was a new term for most students, and they were shocked to hear that it is the world's largest migration! After our short presentation and tons of questions, we split into two groups to talk about at the deep sea fishes we brought in to share with them. With each specimen, we stressed the importance of the adaptations it uses to survive in the deep sea. The students loved the hands-on experience, and their questions were endless! Overall, I had an amazing time teaching the students about the work that we do for the DEEPEND Consortium. It was great to see how students as early as 6th grade were curious about life in the deep sea.

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Fun with deep sea fishes!

 

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Nina Pruzinsky is a graduate research assistant in Dr. Tracey Sutton's Oceanic Ecology Lab at Nova Southeastern University. She is interested in researching poorly-studied life stages/species/communities. By doing this, her goal is to provide information to conservation and management efforts that can be used to protect and maintain species populations. Nina gets the opportunity to work with fishes throughout the water column; she not only works with deep-sea fishes in Dr. Sutton's lab, but she also studies tuna early life stages in the epipelagic zone for her thesis. Nina's Master's thesis is entitled "Identification and spatiotemporal dynamics of tuna (Family: Scombridae; Tribe: Thunnini) early life stages in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico." This topic allows her to investigate the population dynamics of taxonomically-challenging early life stages of these ecologically, economically and recreationally important fishes.

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