Seventh grade annual Marine Lab trip helps students explore biodiversity; learn about marine biology

Seventh grade annual Marine Lab trip helps students explore biodiversity; learn about marine biology

Three, two, one. The two girls held hands as they dived off the side off the boat into the awaiting reef below. Once they got in, the sight under water took their breath away. The annual seventh grade Marine Lab trip was fun for both students and chaperones.

“Snorkeling in the keys is one of my favorite things to experience,” Zane Hurley, sixth grade science teacher said, “and sharing it with kids who never done it before is really cool.”

As they explored the open ocean of the Florida Keys, the students were able to see tons of different flora and fauna.

“I really like seeing the different animals and species of fish, it was really cool,” Emma Troast, seventh grade visual major said. “They [also] have a lot of jellyfish but I try to avoid them.”

One of the more popular species in the water was the Aurelia Aurita, otherwise known as a moon jellyfish. Moon jellyfish can range in diameter anywhere from two to 15 inches, though the ones that the students saw were “football size.”

“Well at the beginning I was a little scared because we saw a lot of jellyfish but then I got used to them and we just swam around them,” Nolan Anschuetz, seventh grade communications major said.

Other species that students saw were barracudas, a sea turtle, plenty of angelfish, and even a king lobster. Students also learned how to identify corals such as the mermaid’s teacup, and merman’s shaving brush, two of the more ample species.

“It helps them learn a lot more about the world of ecosystems and the beauty of the world around us,” Hurley said. “The simple pleasure of having sharks swim by is just really cool. This year, a few students were even able to swim with a sea turtle.”

Overall, the trip helped promote not only a sense of adventure while learning, but also a duty towards improving the environment.

William Anderson, seventh grade theatre major said, “It makes you want to protect our oceans more for all the wonderful corals and beautiful ecosystems.”

As the snorkeling session came to a close, the two girls snapped a few more pictures and headed back to the boat, eager to hear all the stories of their classmates as they headed back to the lab.