Week 4

Monday
Our last week in COSMOS! The week started with a Discovery Lecture on galaxies and dark matter. Students then finished their debate on whole ecosystem and single species conservation with closing statements. After lunch, Baldo lectured on the deep sea ecosystem. Students finalized all of their hard work on their scientific posters and submitted the posters for printing. 
Tuesday
Our last field trip for COSMOS! Cluster 4 and Cluster 8 students hopped in the UCSC shuttles to go to Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing. Students watched recorded footage from ROVs and AUVs and discussed adaptations of deep sea organisms. Then, students walked around the facility and looked at the test pool where underwater vehicles are tested. After lunch, students worked on writing their scripts for their presentations.
Wednesday
The day started with research groups editing and memorizing their scripts. In partners, students participated in a scavenger research hunt on the deep sea. Students shared one of their responses, which was proposing an experiment on deep sea conservation. After lunch, Baldo shared research on upwelling, krill, and whales in lecture called "From Wind to Whales."
Thursday
Practice, practice, practice! The entire day was dedicated to practicing oral presentations. Each group presented to the entire cluster and received critical feedback.
Friday
Presentation day! In the morning, Cluster 4 listened to Cluster 2: Nanochemistry projects. The last day culminated with Cluster 4 groups presenting their amazing projects. All of their hard work definitely paid off!

Week 3

Monday

Another fun and busy week for Cluster 4!  Monday began with a Discovery Lecture on chocolate and patents.  Back in the classroom, students discussed the importance of long-term monitoring for conservation ecology.  Susy continued lecture with topics on land-based nutrient addition and development in the rocky intertidal.  Additionally, students learned about the important ecosystem system services and functions of estuaries.  After a lunch break, Baldo introduced seagrass beds and lectured on their structures and associated food webs.  Students then diligently worked on their projects by designing their scientific posters.
Tuesday
The day started with students working on their posters and making graphs of expected data on Google Sheets.  To prepare for our field trip to Elkhorn Slough, students reviewed the article on trophic cascades.  Students reinforced many topics and vocabulary they have learned so far by watching the Nat Geo video clip, "What in the World is a Dugong?"  Students shared and reviewed these ideas, such as coastal development, dredging, research methods, sanctuary/MPA, education awareness, sedimentation, and symbiotic relationships to name a few.  In partners, students researched a concern or conservation issue for seagrass ecosystems.  The partnerships presented their issue, current efforts, opinions on these efforts, and how individuals, researchers and policy makes can help.  After lunch, students watched The Voyage of the Lonely Sea Turtle
Wednesday
The day started with a discovery lecture "A Day in the Life of the Dead" by forensic anthropologist Dr. Alison Galloway.  Immediately afterwards, students piled into the vans for a fieldtrip to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center.  Students explored the interactive displays on conservation.  After lunch, Baldo lectured on pelagic ecosystems and why it has low productivity.  During transferable skills, student continued working on group posters.
Thursday
Another great field trip!  This time to Elkhourn Slough!  Students piled into the vans and immediately saw otters upon arrival.  After observing otters and harbor seals (and taking lots of pictures), students made their way down to the beach to explore.  These amazing conservationists also went out of their way to pick up lots of pieces of trash.  Then, students hopped back in the vans for a short ride to go to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.  After an orientation from a docent, who is a COSMOS alumna, students were ready to scrub off their shoes with bristle brushes and start their hike.  The students borrowed binoculars to take a closer examination of the mudflats and organisms.  Ready to eat, students hiked back to the visitor's center to eat sandwiches in the beautiful weather.  The field trip ended with a short stop at Kirby Park to look at the estuary habitat.
Friday

"What will you do with your blue marble?" asked guest lecturer Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols.  Each student received a blue marble as a symbol of gratitude to pass on to someone else.  Dr. Nichols was the scientist who tagged Adelita the loggerhead sea turtle, which was the turtle The Voyage of the Lonely Sea Turtle is based on.  He also discussed neuroconservation.  After lunch, students were engaged in their debate on open ocean conservation through whole ecosystem conservation versus single species conservation. The academic week closed with critiques of group posters in preparation for the Monday deadline.

Week 2

Monday

After the Discovery Lecture on genomics, students were ready to work on their projects as soon as the day started.  In project groups, students refined their research topics and determined their methods to measure success in their proposed solutions.  The day continued with peer teaching of threats to the Antarctic ecosystem from research articles. After lunch, Baldo introduced the coral reef ecosystem.

Tuesday

Students started the day with creating their presentation outline on Google sheets.  Students watched the documentary The Last Ocean and applied what they have learned so far to the Antarctic toothfish fishery.  After lunch, Susy discussed the threats to coral reefs.  In partners, students designed an experiment to understand either ocean acidification, reduction of invasive crown of thorn sea stars, or the impact of overfishing on coral reef ecology.  Susy also shared her dissertation for her PhD on seabird guano enrichment on a coral reef.

Wednesday

After the discovery lecture on circadian rhythms, students continued working on their group projects by outlining their oral presentations and working on their presentation slides.  Then, it was time for Blue Planet's Shallow Seas, which highlighted the kelp forest, coral reef, and Antarctic.  There were lots of yells to encourage the penguins to move faster or the sea lions to swim away during the  scenes on predation.  The academic day ended with a lecture from Baldo on the rocky intertidal habitat and organisms.

Thursday

Field trip day to the California Science Academy in San Francisco!  With lots of napping, laughing, and singing in the vans, students arrived at the Cal Academy ready to explore the coral reefs and other habitats.  Despite having to eat lunch in the vans and hitting some traffic on the ride back, students had a great time!  

Friday

Project time!  Students started the day with going over the characteristics of a good presentation.  They continued to organize their presentations and improve presentation slides.  Susy discussed the current problem of sea star wasting and introduced research methods in the intertidal.  In small groups, students were transformed into disease ecologists and had to design a study to determine areas that are affected by sea star wasting and how to quantify ecosystem impacts.  The day wrapped up with a lecture from Baldo about the new ecosystem of study, estuaries.

Week 1 

Monday:

After the Discovery lecture, Cluster 4 students headed to the Earth and Marine Sciences classroom to get to know each other by sharing where they are from and their favorite animals.  Students wrote down their questions about marine conservation on sentence strips.  The sentence strips were organized into themes on the wall for students to participate in a "gallery walk." Students walked from theme to theme and stayed near the questions they were most interested in. Groups for the group project were formed based on similar interests.  Our research groups are endangered species, invasive species (two groups), plastic pollution, and mercury pollution.

Tuesday:  

Students were introduced to conservation biology and began searching for library material for their group project, which is identifying a threatened ecosystem within central California, describing this ecosystem and the threats it is facing, and proposing a solution to this problem.  Afterwards, students went on a field trip to the Seymour Center and completed a scavenger hunt!

Wednesday:

After the Discovery lecture, students stated preparing their annotated bibliographies for their research.  Students had a lecture on kelp forests and received constructive feedback on their project ideas.

Thursday:

Another field trip day!  This time was to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!  After a 45-minute drive, students were able to apply their learned knowledge about kelp forests to the actual exhibit and local organisms.  Students also watched the diver feeding the kelp forest fish.  A full day of exploring the aquarium can be exhausting and some students fell asleep in the van.

Friday:

The day started with time for students to refine their research topics.  Students learned about the threats currently facing kelp forests and were introduced to their new ecosystem of study- Antarctica!  Students presented their research topics and received more feedback

Click here for photos!