Blue Crabs and Crabbing (1 hour)
Learn about the complete life cycle of the blue crab, from plankton to adult, what distinguishes males from females, and how they molt to grow. We'll also explore what SERC researches use to study the movements of the crabs as they migrate from tags to radio telemetry. Depending on weather your group may crab off the dock or do a hands-on project indoors. Season permitting we'll always have a live crab on hand for students to observe.
Oysters and Oyster Bar Community (1 hour)
We will examine oysters and how they play a duel role in the Bay community from filter feeding to creating reefs as apartment complexes for tiny crabs, fish, and other invertebrates. We will pull up oyster baskets so that all students can sort though them and handle small crabs, fish, shrimp, and other organisms.
Understanding Plankton (1 hour)
Participants will learn about the different types of plankton in the Bay, from phytoplankton to zooplankton. They will then take a sample from our dock, using a plankton tow net, to observe the collected specimens under microscopes. We will then extend the lesson to include a fun hands-on activity called the Plankton Competition. In this activity students create their own phytoplankton, designed using materials provided by staff, and compete to see how well it can float in the photic zone of an aquarium (the "Bay").
ROV (remotely Operated Vehicle) Workshop (3-4 hours, limited to 12 students, ages 12+)
This programs starts out with an introduction to ROVs, which includes different types and how they help researchers. Participants will then work in teams to build their own ROV using PVC, joints, and motors. Each team will then test their ROV and demonstrate its ability to perform an assigned task in the water.
Jellyfish in the Bay (1 hour)
Jellyfish are often vilified in the Bay, but they play a crucial role in the ecosystem as apex predators. In this program we'll explore the two main types of jellyfish that may be encountered, their different life cycles, and how the affect native populations of crabs, oysters, and other Bay organisms. If time and season permit we'll go out side to look for live jellyfish and capture them, or they will be provided for your participants in the classroom. For younger students there is the option for a craft activity.
Native Orchids of Maryland (1 hour)
SERC researchers study the native orchids of Maryland and their relationships to the fungal bundles in their roots. In this program we will learn about these orchids and the research conducted by our scientists. Afterwords we'll take a short hike along our trails and ponds to search for these orchids and identify them in the field.
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