Author Archives: Ben Abramson

Last Day

By: Ben, Sonja, Chloe SPOILER ALERT: today was the last full day. On the last full day, we were woken up early so that we could finish our posters. After we finished them, Megan Cook talked to us about how to present our posters. She helped us all relax and gave us some tips to make our presentations better. Then we went into cleaning mode. We spent the next 3 hours packing and cleaning up. Finally it was time to set up our posters. We all raced to claim the best spots to hang up our projects. Before our guests arrived, many of us decided to do some power posing … Continue reading

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Tim B Giving Life Advice

By: Ben, Sonja, and Parker Did you know that store bought mac and cheese can contain a small amount of BPA in it? Luckily, according to Dr. Jack Bell, you would have to consume many boxes a day to feel any effects. Early in the morning, Dr. Bell came to the Spring Street International School lab to help us create samples to run in the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine at the Friday Harbor Labs. We were testing for BPA levels in mussels, who are known to be early warning organisms since they are filter feeders. To make the sample, we crushed mussel tissue and a variety of chemicals … Continue reading

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Putting Leashes on Snails

Why don’t oysters give to charity? Because they’re shellfish! Haha! In the morning, we got an exclusive tour of the Wescott Bay Shellfish Farm. The farm buys larval shellfish from hatcheries and then raises them until they can be sold to local restaurants or from their storefront. Our tour guide, Sam, demonstrated how to use some of the machinery and let us eat some delicious oysters. After an early lunch, we drove to the Friday Harbor labs to use our previously collected whelks for an experiment. First, we sorted the whelks into their different species and then measured the length of their shells. Once we had graphed the size of … Continue reading

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Slimy Slugs and Slippery Snails

By: Ben, Sonja, and Parker Did you know that slugs can posses both male and female sex characteristics at the same time? We learned this today, when we woke up at a painfully early, 4:30 A.M. to hunt for snails with Dr. Erika Iyengar. We helped her document the number of invasive slugs, compared to native banana slugs in the Friday Harbor Lab area. There were many more invasive slugs than banana slugs in the area, which is not a good sign for the native population. After a quick breakfast back at the dorm, we went back out into the field, this time to Cattle Point. Here, we collected two … Continue reading

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Invertebrate Ballerz

By: Ben, Sonja, and Parker High school kids enjoy an exclusive college party- for invertebrates. The Invertebrate Ball was hosted at the Friday Harbor Labs dining hall. It is an exclusive party for scientists and graduate students who love invertebrates. We each dressed up as an invertebrate, or a related pun, and put our costumes up for judging and our dancing skills to the test. Aaron took home the title of best cosmopolitan costume as a shrimp cocktail. Earlier in the day, we¬†journeyed to a “mistical” land called False Bay. We walked out onto an expansive sand flat, where mist rose from the ground. Some students sieved the sand, while … Continue reading

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Domino Sample Size

By: Ben, Sonja, and Parker What does science mean to you? Tim asked us this during our field work at the San Juan Island Land Bank today. We came up with many different responses to this question, and we settled on our definition as ‘the study of the natural world through evidence and the scientific method.’ However, there are many other possibilities to answer this question. At the Land Bank, we also had the opportunity to learn about random sampling and how to find population density. Tim B. set up an exercise for us to practice this skill by placing dominoes in a field for us to find the size … Continue reading

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Whales and the Weeds

By Ben, Sonja, and Parker- On the second full day, we arose from our chambers to a brisk summer morning. We then came into the kitchen to have a delicious meal of various cereals, fruits, and other breakfast options. After finishing breakfast we took a quick walk to the Whale Museum¬†where we were given a lecture about the local orca population. During this lecture we listened to a conversation between a family of Southern Resident Killer Whales named Oreo, Double Stuff, and Cookie. We could hear the various clicks and other sounds that they used to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, these orcas face many threats to their already endangered … Continue reading

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