Friday, 26 March 2010

Burrowing sand hoppers and great white Sharks

Hi all

Sam and I got to participate in some of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s School Programs. A group of first graders came to the Visitor Center for a fieldtrip and learned about the sanctuary, its animals and what those animals need to survive.

A view of the visitors centre and the beach

We went out on the beach looking for beach hoppers – tiny amphipods about 25 millimeters (1 inch) long that burrow in the sand and feed on washed up algae.
We found several and talked about how they have the food, shelter, water and air that they need right here on this healthy beach.
Justin, Parker and me.
Me, Sam and Parker after we were hunting for sandhoppers

The students also got a tour of the Visitor Center and watched while the animals in the aquaria were feed – some of those crabs and fish can move pretty fast after a meal!

One of the sanctuary’s most famous (and misunderstood) animals is the White Shark (sometimes called “Great White Shark”).
They come into these waters in the autumn to feed on young elephant seals. Sam and I went along on a Sharkmobile Program, which is part of the sanctuary’s At Your School program.
Sanctuary educators go to different schools and bring all sorts of great shark stuff (jaws, teeth, whole preserved specimens, and so forth) and teach kids about sharks.
We learned that the Gulf of the Farallones has one of the largest populations of sharks in the world – estimated at about 200. Scientists are working in the sanctuary to learn more about these magnificent animals. Current research includes learning about where they go the rest of the year (most are only in the sanctuary for a few months), where and when they breed, and how they navigate back to the same place year after year. I think it would be pretty cool to have a job studying and protecting sharks! My buddy Steve teaches people about sharks and I helped him run a course before I started my travels.  My buddy Steve would love it here.

Well I think this really is my last day here in the Gulf of Farallones. I have had a great time learning about the wildlfe in the area, helpiung with surveys and I met some great kids and the staff here have also been fun and looked after me. I hope I get to come back again some day.

Bye for now, Ed and Sam

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