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, May 4, 2011

Afterschool Marine Science Program: Fish Ecology and Fisheries

Yesterday I wrapped up my third week of my afterschool marine science program with migrant students at Marco Island Charter School. Although we had a smaller class than normal, it was a great class. We covered my favorite topic, fish! I brought in several fresh and preserved specimens to discuss "cold reading" fish based on their physical features (i.e. mouth position/shape, fin shape, color, body shape etc). I find it to be a great way to discuss how fish interact with their environment and other species. The kids had the opportunity to analyze some fish of their own, and I was impressed how well the did. I also opened up a ladyfish and a juvenile bull shark so they could check out the internal anatomy of fishes as well. I have to thank Captain Jesse Karen of Mad Snookin Charters for keeping some fish for me as well as Pat O'Donnell, a fisheries biologist at Rookery Bay for providing the shark and preserved specimens. Following this exercise we played a game called Casting for Conservation where students tried to catch fish cutouts using magnets. Once they "caught" a fish, they'd have to identify it, measure it, and then look up the fishing regulations to see if it was a legal fish to keep. Its a great exercise to teach about fish identification and fisheries management. Finally we wrapped up the day with some sampling of shrimp as a way to emphasize the importance of seafood to our diets, culture, and economy! Next week we start our field trips!! Enjoy the pictures!

A close up examination of a preserved scorpionfish

Determining what type of swimmer a fish is based on the shape of its body and caudal fin

Casting for the "Big One"

Redfish seemed to be the catch of the day

An important part of being an ethical angler is measuring your fish to ensure its legal to keep

Once students measured their fish, they had to look up the fishing regulations to see if it was legal or not to possess

Trying to find out if the black drum he cuaght was legal (it was!)

What better way to end the day than by having some shrimp cocktail!

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