Rutgers Marine Field Station (RUMF) have significantly expanded our outreach activities in recent years. Along with our annual Open House events, which have attracted 1,450 visitors to the Station over the last three years, we have also expanded our programs for visiting college classes to include hands-on activities (bridgenet sampling, seining from shore and sampling from boats, sample sorting) and overnight stay in our dormitory and we expect an increase in visiting classes to continue in the future. Rutgers University Invertebrate Identification, Ecological Field Techniques, Estuarine Ecology, and Ichthyology classes, along with classes from Rider University (Behavior of Marine Organisms and Marine Biology), Wilkes University (Marine Ecology), Delran Montessori School (Advanced Biology), Atlantic County Institute of Technology (A/P Biology Students), Cedar Creek High School (A/P Environmental students), Wetlands Institute (Interns), NJ Shore Bowl and National Ocean Science Bowl teams, The College of New Jersey (Oceanography), DeSales University (Ecology) classes have all made good use of instruction in field station operations and research techniques.
RUMFS has also branched out a bit with new ventures to invite interested members of the public to visit and have meaningful experiences at the Field Station. These include hosting a painting class for those wishing to paint the field station and surrounding natural area as well as an OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class that introduced participants to local flora and fauna via seining and a group kayak tour.
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 2, 2019 on Cook Campus, Rutgers University. The winning team will be sent to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which will be held in Washington DC in April, 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.
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.”
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.