Recently, the Rutgers University Marine Field Station (RUMFS) in Tuckerton, NJ has connected with the public giving them hands-on experience with research, the opportunity to interact with scientists, and teaching them about the estuarine environment.
A continuing education course sponsored through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Rutgers drew participants from throughout New Jersey and even a few from Pennsylvania! This program engaged adults in hands-on activities such as seining and kayaking, and informed them of the history of the field station and surrounding environment.
Next to visit the field station was the winning team of the Shore Bowl. These students drove all the way from West Windsor, New Jersey to explore the Mullica River – Great Bay Estuary. The students participated in long term sampling of minnow traps in the RUMFS boat basin, an explorative marsh walk, and seine sampling at the end of Great Bay Boulevard.
Lastly, in early June thirty five Advanced Placement Biology students from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology visited RUMFS. During their time at the station they applied concepts learned in class to help explain observations they made throughout the day. Through hands on experience with a long term seining program, students identified various fishes and crabs, recorded data on these individuals, and gained a much greater appreciation and understanding of the work research scientists undertake as evidenced by the student quotes below:
“Thank you for showing us how real research works. A lot of people talk about research and I picture a sterile lab and scientists in white lab coats and goggles but that’s not all research is. My time at the station helped me realize that I would love to be a part of research during my own experience in school. Thank you for taking the time to show us what you do!”
“Thank you all for helping us out on our trip. I had no idea how much work and effort goes into biology research and have a renewed respect for your occupations. On top of that, thank you for taking your time to help us all learn about the local marine life and giving us a sneak peek on the research process. We are all grateful for your time and effort.”
The Shore Bowl is one of the 25 regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Local high school teams (grades 9-12) compete head-to-head on rapid memory recall and critical thought questions. Questions focus on the ocean sciences (biology, physics, geology and geography), as well as other ocean-related subjects such as history, navigation, technology and policy.
The next Shore Bowl will be held on February 3, 2018 on Cook Campus, Rutgers University. The winning team will be sent to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which will be held in Boulder, Colorado in April 2018, and prizes will be awarded to the top teams at both the regional and national level.
Head to our new Shore Bowl website for more details about the competition, eligibility and registration.
Scientists from 5 institutions – Rutgers University, University of Delaware, Oregon State University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Polar Oceans Research Group – collaborated on a multidisciplinary project between 2013-2016. The team used a field study to investigate the impact of local physical processes on Adélie penguin foraging ecology in the vicinity of Palmer Deep off Anvers Island, Antarctica. The study utilized multiple platforms including remotely sensed surface current maps, an in-water (sub-surface) mooring, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), small boat acoustic surveys, and satellite telemetry of the Adélie penguin to collect data to answer their questions. The data was collected to help the science team determine the distribution of the phytoplankton and zooplankton which influence Adélie penguin foraging ecology to understand how local flows structure the ecosystem.
These outreach components provided both a deep connection into the content and process of science for almost 1,000 teachers and students as well as connected over 7,000 people throughout the globe to the collaborative research being conducted down at Palmer Research Station in the winter of 2015. The teachers and students felt a part of the research mission and were extremely invested in the scientists’ work and findings. The participants of the live video broadcasts were able witness a live penguin colony and have their questions answered in real time about the birds, ecosystem, and polar research.