Then we sat down while the Beach Sister’s told us about some cool things they had learned in the program. It was great to see them talk about the issues that are important to them and share their experiences in Beach Sister with their peers. After the girls taught us a bit about the importance of biodiversity and the horrors of the Pacific Garbage patch (see video below), we got to meet the local animals and seaweeds impacted by these issues, in our touch tanks.
Next, we were lucky to have two of my fellow grad students come to talk to us about their research. Lara told us all about lobster, lamprey and jellyfish neurons and even gave us a tour of the jellyfish room. One of the girls was amazed to learn (and see!) how juvenile jellyfish live in sessile polyp form until they mature into their free-swimming adult medusa form. Kate taught us how predators not only eat their prey, but also can change prey behavior by scaring it. Learning about the research in her lab inspired some interesting questions about barnacles.
Finally, being so inspired by the research and environmental advocacy going on at the MSC and with Beach Sister, we got our gloves and garbage bags and spent some time cleaning up Canoe Beach. We made it into a little contest: who could find the weirdest thing? Some of the winners included a pair of jeans, a knife handle, and what looked like pieces of a tire.
Overall it was an awesome visit that ended with a great sense of satisfaction as we threw away two huge bags of trash that we had collected from the beach.
So despite not getting the week off, I am certainly looking forward to next February break!