Last week, Tabor Academy greeted about 40 students from around the world for their residential and day Marine Science Camp. In its first week, the students, about half of whom will participate for the full three-week offering, enjoyed learning about Marine Biology.
The tanks in Tabor’s Schaefer Wet Lab are all full with the many critters and fish the students have been collecting for observation. Kerry Saltonstall, director of communications, shared, “The students really enjoyed the rocky tidal pool at Sandwich Beach to collect various crabs and mollusks, then taking to the cold waters there with snorkels and fins to collect fish. They found baby horseshoe crabs, tiny sea stars and fish galore. It was hard to get the students back on land as they were having such fun despite the cold water!”
Back at Tabor, they created tanks full of their fishy finds! Each morning the students monitor the tanks for dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature. Another group measures the tanks for ammonia, alerting the tank owners to any problems. Saltonstall explained, “These are the basic vital signs fish need to stay alive in captivity and the students are responsible to maintain the tanks to keep the fish healthy so we can release them.” Students are also engaged in various research projects with the critters, such as observing the various mechanics of the different crab species they caught, how fiddler crabs behave together and how they build their homes. They are testing different types of traps to see which are best for trapping which kinds of species (despite their names). Further afield, they are observing the biodiversity and density of fish in three Sippican Harbor locations: Tabor, Ram Island, and Bird Island. And, one day they took off to enjoy an exciting whale watch in Cape Cod Bay where a whale breached right in front of their eyes!
This week the students will explore Marine Technology. They will be learning about the benefits of aerial photography using drones off of Provincetown, MA, to track whales and sharks. They will learn to use the marine ROV build by Tabor’s Advanced Engineering class, as well as the various probes the school has on hand. They are invited on board RV ZEPHYR, a research vessel with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, for a morning to help their scientist collect specimens for their research projects. After, Marine Biological Laboratories will host the group for a tour of their facilities. In week three, the focus will turn to Oceanography… but that will be a story for another day!