Category Archives: Salish Sciences

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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Intertidal Mammal

By: Aaron, Peter, Rosie— The majority of our day was devoted to working on our projects which meant our brains were going at full racing speed. Aaron noted, “You could see smoke coming out of our heads.” Once we made some progress crunching numbers and writing up our methodology, we headed over to the Friday Harbor Labs to observe a scientific dive with our friend and marine life expert, Tim Dwyer, where we were able to watch the dive on a screen up on the dock and he was able to communicate with us what he was seeing. It was like we were having the underwater experience but still staying … 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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Can your mac n cheese hurt you?

By: Gabi, Paradis, Daniel, and Chloe “Tadalatadala” the alarm rang, making sure to wake us all up. It was as if it was angry at us for sleeping and wanted to take revenge. Yes, it fully succeeded and got us uttering our “ummmmmhhh, I want to go back to bed. Why does morning have to come.” But science answered our question, in order to be successful we have to work and never be lazy.  We have to give our efforts if harbor seals and snails are willing to give their lives for our learning. We had an amazing breakfast and then prepared ourselves to work on our projects. 9:00 am: … Continue reading

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Hawaii in the San Juans

By: Aaron, Peter, Rosie— For one of the first times in hundreds of years a traditional Hawaiian vessel shared the waterways of the San Juans with a traditional Coast Salish vessel. Our day began with the lavender festival, an annual celebration hosted by Pelindaba Lavender Farm.  We ate and tried all things imaginable that were infused with lavender including coffee, ice cream, lotions and teas.   Afterwards we raced back to the labs to collect our tethered snails before the tide could rise and hide our specimens. We got there just in time to get the data we needed.  Lead by Matt Wickey, canoe builder and cultural expert, we set … 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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Hunting Wabbits

Throughout the past couple of weeks, we (and maybe you) have been asking why are we doing this?  Why are we measuring the aperture size on barnacles? Why are we counting the number of lugworm holes we see in the sand?  Why are we collecting 200 whelks from the intertidal zone? What is all of this data collection for?  What does it mean? Today, we started our day with an explanatory lecture from Tim D introducing us to the structure and methods for our final project.  Throughout our discussion of the project and the scientific method we will display through writing, graphs, and photos, we got the answer to our … Continue reading

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Spines for a change

By: Peter, Rosie, Aaron— Harbor seal pups gain 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in the first 5 weeks of their life, if everything goes according to plan.  However harbor seals in the Salish Sea are at their environmental carrying capacity, meaning that the population is the maximum that can be supported by the ecosystem.  This is, unfortunately, indicated by the number of seal pups that are found stranded or dead each year due to food shortages. We began our morning at Friday Harbor Laboratories, where the necropsy of a seal pup was being conducted.  Lead by Dr. Joe Gaydos, author of our Salish Sea guidebook, Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific … 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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Forest Yielding the Best Fruits

By Gabi, Paradis, Chloe, and Daniel Another day of finding ourselves in the forest of science began with the Eelgrass Wasting Disease survey. With Morgan Eisenlord, a Cornell University marine ecologist studying infectious diseases, biodiversity and trophic ecology at the Friday Harbor Labs. We went to 4th of July beach to get some samples of eelgrass, with which we would later scan to examine for the prevalence and severity of a pathogen causing a wasting disease in the leaves of the plant. At first we were worried about putting our hands in the stinky, gross water and worried about our feet getting soaked since the tide was really high when … Continue reading

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