University of New England issued the following announcement on Nov. 29
Student researchers in UNE’s Marine Sciences program recently taught elementary school students on Peaks Island about kelp aquaculture and marine ecology as part of the Kelp4Kids initiative.
Kelp4Kids is a 12-week curriculum for second-through-fifth graders at the Peaks Island School. The program is run by the Island Institute with the help of student Darcy Ross, a senior at Baxter Academy in Portland.
The students learned how ocean acidification, bacterial pathogens and nutrients affect both kelp aquaculture and the marine ecosystem at large.
“Sharing what you do as a biologist is so important to get kids enthusiastic about sustainable interactions with our local marine ecosystem,” explained School of Marine Programs graduate student Olivia Barberi (’19). “Hopefully they can start including science into approachable conversations at a young age.”
Barberi discussed the importance of microbial testing to ensure that bacterial pathogens are not present where kelp is farmed. She also showed the students how to use Whirl-Pak bags to take sterile water samples.
Alexandra Geisser (Marine Science, ’19) taught students the importance of nutrients and water quality sampling to determine the nutrient quality of the water in which the kelp is growing.
“It was a great experience to teach the kids about the interconnectedness of the marine ecosystem, aquaculture and the importance of sustainability and stewardship,” Geisser commented. “It was rewarding to get them excited about science by giving them hands on experience with research tools.”
The students each tried using a Niskin bottle, a device used to sample water below the surface.
Gretchen Grebe, EPSCoR SEANET University of Maine Ph.D. candidate based at UNE, spoke to students about the effects of acidification on kelp aquaculture and on the marine ecosystem as a whole. The students took turns testing the nearby water with litmus paper to learn about the range of healthy pH values in organisms living in seawater.
Grebe, Geisser and Barberi are members of the lab of Carrie Byron Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Marine Science.
UNE Marine Science Center staff members helped install a demonstration kelp farm near the Peak’s Island Pier for future use in the Kelp4Kids program.
Original source can be found here.
Source: University of New England