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3 April, 2003

Reviewing and Planning for Research

Today at ECU

Another lovely sunny day here in North Carolina. The temperature should hit 80, but we have no time for the sun bathing many students are re-discovering; we have a lot to do.

What science is happening: We began the morning by having a meeting in our individual groups- I met with the SEK. Lisa showed the data that had been collected last year. As we discussed yesterday, the prime sampling area referred to as T3 is at the mouth of a river. Another problem is that it has a rocky bottom and is making the chlorophyll sampling difficult as well. The decision was made to change to a different site and collect out sewage data from T4 instead.

We will take biomass (see below) readings at all 19 samplings sites. Our hypothesis about T4 is that there will be low diversity of species (only a few different types of animals), but the animals that thrive will thrive well and there will be a lot of them.

To check global warming, we will be looking at the growth rings on bi-valves, we can tell how warm the temperature was in a parcticular year by looking at the rings on bi-valves (see below). Lisa suggests that a more accurate record could be kept by catching clams and putting them down in cages to be checked regularly. Problem: when the sea ice breaks up in the spring is scowers the floor of the Kotzebue sound. Melinda suggests looking for a cove that is free from the sea ice movement.

Also discussed was the visit to Kotzebue planned in two weeks for Lisa and myself. We will be taking ice algae samples. Some of the possible problems are that we don’t know how thick the ice is and differing depths may have different salinity (the amount of salt in the water)readings. As ice melts, it releases fresh water into the salt water changing the chemistry of the water. Those possible changes will need to be taken into account as we take samples. We want to find out what the primary consumers (see below) eat and in turn who eats them. Reflections

The process of science, as it struck me today, was a fluid concept, always in motion. It is a process of observing and forming ideas about the way things work, testing those ideas, taking that new information and beginning again. It is a circle of inquiry; for every question we answered we left three more to be tested. Always new horizons to explore.

Classroom Connections:

Why do you think it is important to find out what exactly makes up a food web? What animals are in your local area? What would happen to the birds in your area that eat mosquitoes, if the mosquitoes disappeared? Think about that the next time you slap a pesky insect. Words to know

Biomass Bio- meaning life and Mass- meaning weight. We take Biomass counts to find out how much life is in a parcticular area. Question: Would 70 krill, weighing 2 grams each have the same aproximate biomass as an Arctic Cod weighting 150 grams? Bi-valve Bi- means….oh, you know… how many wheels on a BIcycle? Valve, in this case, means shell. What animals have two shells? Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops.

Primary consumers Those animals at that eat from the lowest level of the food web.

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