Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Afterschool Marine Science Program: Oyster Community Exploration

Yesterday I started my after school marine science program for migrant students at the Marco Island Charter Middle School. This is actually the third year I've done this program, but in the past I did the program at Manatee Middle School, and the focus was primarily on dissecting marine organisms to teach the students about taxonomy. This year's focus is on estuaries. We'll meet for a total of seven sessions, which will include classroom labs as well as field trips to local estuarine communities. For our first class we did an oyster exploration lab. The students searched through oyster clumps looking for various organisms associated with these communities. Besides serving as an important habitat for many species, students also learned that oysters help improve water quality by filtering pollutants out of the water. None of the students had done this before, and they seemed to have a great time. Enjoy the pictures!

As an icebreaker students had to decide what the various items I provided to them had to do with estuaries. In this case they are holding a mixer, which symbolizes that estuaries are areas where fresh and salt water mix.

Students were required to count the number of different organisms they found among their oyster clump.

Students observed several animals including mud crabs, porcelain crabs, worms, and amphipods among their oysters.

Students became quite good at collecting crabs from the oysters.

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