Friday 9 April 2010

Visit to the Coastal Discovery Center in San Simeon, California

Hi all

Today I visited the Coastal Discovery Center which is located in a place where plants and animals are protected in the ocean and on land. On land, they are protected by CA State Parks, and in the ocean they are protected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Center has exhibits about land and ocean animals as well as history, deep sea exploration and plankton.

At the Center, I got to get right next to a CA Brown Pelican. This bird was once in danger of becoming
extinct, but through protection, the numbers of pelicans are increasing! Many years ago when my buddy Steve was visiting the USA he saw in the news that someone was cutting part of the beak off brown pelicans leaving them to die a slow death. He said that some of the brown pelicans were given artificial beaks so that they could feed. I wonder what ever happened to them? I will see if I can find out.

Here I am next to the skull from a male elephant seal – the skull is rather large since these animals can grow up to 2,268 kilos!
In the winter, elephant seals come on land to breed on a beach close to this Center. Because there are so many seals and pups, signs like this are put up on the beach to keep people from touching the seals.

Here I am on top of some kelp at a rocky intertidal exhibit. This is the place where ocean plants and

animals live between low and high tides. I spotted some of the animals I saw in the tide pools on the beach, such as sea stars and barnacles.

I found out more about the deep ocean too. Here I am on a flip- book with pictures of deep sea organisms.
These animals were discovered in water over 2,000 meters deep where it is dark and cold (about 0 celcius)!
It made me shiver just thinking about it.

As a special treat, I got to catch “plankton” with this special net. I knew a bit about plankton. Firstly, that it is really important as all animals eventually rely on it because its at the bottom of the food chains.Secondly, that its really tiny so I was surprised to find out you could catch it in a net. I was told that to catch small plankton, you need a net with tiny holes. At the bottom of the net is a tube where all the plankton goes.
Here I go to help catch plankton – good thing I have my life-vest on!

Once the water is collected from the ocean, the net is pulled up and…
Water collected in the grey tube is put into a white bottle and finally…
We look at a sample from the white bottle under the microscope! Wow - this is a picture of what is seen in only one drop of seawater! I used a guide to find out that most of these organisms were plant plankton.
Like plants on land, they make oxygen and are food for other ocean animals. So much life in such a tiny drop of water. Its hard to imagine that the rest of the ocean is swarming with these tiny animals and plants.

I really enjoyed collecting the plankton and it was amazing to see the living plankton from my very own plankton sample. Without plankton there would be no life in the oceans.

Bye for now, Ed

1 comment:

  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    Picture Flipbook