Posted on 06/01/2012 at 08:31 pmViewed 1,423 times
This Spring, Herring Gut piloted its brand new Lobster Investigation Program. Students from the Rivers Alternative Middle School in MSAD #40 participated in the program.
Over the ten week course, they were introduced to all aspects of lobsters including their biology, behavior, and economic impact on the coast of Maine. The course was developed and taught by Herring Gut educators Ann Boover and Alex Brasili along with Herring Gut board member and Education Director at the Department of Marine Resources, Elaine Jones.
Throughout the program, students attended one weekly class at Herring Gut. Each lesson focused on a different topic related to lobsters. Students learned about the feeding habits of lobsters by raising brine shrimp to feed to larval lobsters and observing food preferences of adults. They examined internal and external lobster anatomy, and as a bonus, made lobster rolls from the meat. They labeled a lobster trap and graphed annual lobster landings in Maine. Additionally, they got the opportunity to talk to Marine Patrol Officer Matt Talbot about rules and regulations of the lobstering industry. To maintain connection to the program throughout the week, students were charged with taking care of several juvenile lobsters in aquaria set up in their classroom in Union. They were required to feed and observe their lobsters as well as monitor water quality.
Another exciting aspect of this program included holding a berried female (female lobster with eggs) in the Saltwater Lab at Herring Gut with the hope that the eggs would hatch while the students were participating in the course. The eggs not only hatched, but did so while students were testing the water chemistry of the tank. As a result, they were able to observe the thousands of larvae emerge right in front of them. The students and educators at Herring Gut worked to feed and care for the larvae as they progressed through their four larval stages and developed into Stage 5 juvenile lobsters. Finally, the students constructed "lobster condos" to separate the cannibalistic babies and released them into the ocean as a culmination of the program. A thorough lobster investigation, indeed!
Herring Gut is excited to offer this successful program to even more local students in the future.