Week 4

Week 4 was an exciting end to COSMOS.  We were lucky to have one more Discovery Lecture on Monday.  The topic was Dark Matter, Cluster 8 had some particularly interested students.  In the afternoon we learned about the Antarctic Marine Environment – a land preserved by the international community, until recently.   

On Tuesday we had the remarkable opportunity to check out Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).  An Institute that provides hard money for research which opens many opportunities for scientists and budding scientists alike – have your student tell you about the Internships offered at MBARI.

On Wednesday we had one last opportunity to practice and refine our presentations.  Students did great and worked hard to make final edits for their big day on Friday.  Thursday we traveled up to Sausalito for an adventurous day at the Marine Mammal Center.  We learned about their Conservation Mission and saw some of their (adorable) patients.  It was a big day where students observed species conservation and rehabilitation first hand.  Students made it back to campus and were instructed to appropriately prepare for their big day on Friday. 

Before we knew it, eyes opened, breakfast devoured and soon – 9:00am 5 August 2016 – Presentations began, Cluster 8 lead the way.  Your students did a remarkable job disseminating complex research to understand the dangerous effects of Climate Change on Populations of:  Phytoplankton, Zooplankton, Marine Mammals Tied to Land and Marine Mammals Not Tied to Land. 

I must say I was very proud to have the honor of teaching your students this summer.  I go back to my own High School Classroom refreshed and driven to implement research into my Biology and AP Biology classes.  Thank you Parents and Guardians for providing your students and thus myself the experience of COSMOS 2016 – a very special year for the books. 

Week 3

Hello Parents, Guardians, Sisters and Brothers:

Week 3 of COSMOS was very eventful, and a little busy due to final project rough draft(s) deadlines. We’ve had the opportunity to work with some absolutely fantastic instructors: Dr. Shawn Noren and Jason John have put a great deal of time into guidance through the research editing process - a challenging, intellectually engaging and creative process with the proper leadership.  Dr. Baldo Marinovic has been an excellent and entertaining conductor of Oceanographic learning; from these lectures we have learned the importance of phytoplankton in supporting the base of marine food webs and how susceptible phytoplankton are to an ecosystem in major flux as a function of human and natural causes.

The rest of this week’s summary was written by collaborative student input:

On Monday we listened in on a Discovery Lecture on the science and history of chocolate.  Although this topic seemed extraneous, it did relate to chemical sciences.  Later that day, during our Oceanography class, we learned about species of Nekton who swim against currents, for example myctophid’s (lanternfish) and squid.  

On Wednesday we listed to Dr. Galloway’s presentation, A Day in the Life of the Dead which involved the forensic sciences.  Here we learned about lab work dealing with identification of deceased persons.

Learning about forensics was fascinating.  

On Thursday we went on one of our most exciting field trips to Año Nuevo State Park, and the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center/Long Marine Lab.  First, at Año Nuevo, we went on a two hour hike where we examined the breathing patterns of male elephant seals.  Second, after our arrival at the marine lab, we performed a necropsy on a sea lion.  We examined various parts such as the brain, stomach and intestines in an attempt to conclude the death of the animal.  We found the stomach had many ulcers, and after dissecting the eye found an abnormal amount of blood in the area potentially indicating high blood pressure.  From these observations we could determine the sea lion may have been very stressed, why? we were unable to determine with our limited time (3 hours) with the animal. Thanks to Fish and Game representative and our professors, we were able to experience something we never have before.  This was a very great experience and an incredible opportunity for High School students to pursue their scientific interests.  

On Friday we worked on our exercise lab to compare our respiratory and heart rates with those of the elephant seal.  

Lastly, throughout the week,we prepared for and presented our Projects in their rough format to prepare for next week.  The most important thing I’ve learned this week is how to make a group presentation. We learned so much about how to communicate with teammates and how to spend our time wisely between productive socializing and doing work.  COSMOS is truly a wonderful program!  The lifestyle here mimics those of colleges, yet contains the pure laughter from high schools.  Everything about these weeks makes them the happiest days of my life.  No words in this universe can draw on even the slightest outline of the COSMOS experience.

-Wish COSMOS can last forever


Week 2

Week 2 brought many new excitements.  We had some great discovery lectures:  Genomics on Monday and Circadian Rhythm on Wednesday.  During these lectures students are able to consider the specific content of our cluster (Oceanography and Marine Mammals) in relation to larger theories governing the natural world.  Cluster 8 enjoyed two field trips last week.  On Tuesday we went down to the Santa Cruz Wharf and collected phytoplankton and zooplankton samples.  Students took these samples back to the lab and analyzed different plankton communities.  On Thursday we went to the Seymore Marine Center and completed two labs:  Thermoregulation and Skull Lab.  Students are beginning to understand the characteristics dividing marine taxonomic groups.  On Friday we did Conservation Article Presentations - your students did a FANTASTIC JOB - I was very impressed, you have something to look forward to on Closing Day. 

Week 1 

What a week!!  We are off to a racing start in Cluster 8.  Students have been assigned their final projects and are diligently working in their groups to begin the research process.  We had two great discovery lectures that explored Astronomy and Bioluminescence.  We met our knowledgeable Instructors for our Oceanography and Marine Mammal courses and had some fun exploring the Coriolis Effect on the physics department’s merry-go-round. 

In Oceanography students learned about the physical properties perpetuating upwelling on the California Coast.  Also in Oceanography we learned about different phytoplankton populations in preparation for sample collection on Tuesday, July 19.

In our Marine Mammal course we learned how to scientifically identify common fauna in the Monterey Bay.  We tested our taxonomic knowledge out on the sea in an epic Whale Watching extravaganza!  We saw a few whales and ventured out to the edge of Mariana’s Trench, but alas, no Orcas this time. 

We ended the week in the Library learning how to find articles in Science Journals for research purposes.  We are very excited for the adventures to come and information to be learned!!

Click here for photos!