OSO Students Investigate Plankton

 
Copepods (meaning "oar-feet") are crustaceans found in nearly every water sample OSO students investigate.

Copepods (meaning "oar-feet") are crustaceans found in nearly every water sample OSO students investigate.

Following the on-board marine biology lesson and plankton tow, O'Neill Sea Odyssey students return to the shore-side learning center where their investigation of the bottom of the ocean food chain comes alive. It is here where the life in just a few drops of water is exposed and students are provided their first glimpse of both phytoplankton and zooplankton. Many students remark that their previous familiarity with these life forms are from the television show, SpongeBob Squarepants, and immediately recognize copepods as the character Plankton. As they continue to identify the various species, instructors lead discussions on the dependency by oceanic food webs on this energy source and the seasonal dynamics affecting their abundance due to weather, ocean currents and temperature, pH, and urban runoff.

Through this, and lessons in marine ecology and navigation, the OSO experience is helping to educate the next generation, like Darwin here, to be stewards of the ocean and environment.