Island Updates

Climate Change, Our Oceans, and Hope!

High School Marine Biology Blog

Written by Teaching Assistant, Anna Bateman

What an exciting week of exploration and scientific inquiry we had with our High School Marine Biology students! The week was themed around climate change and our role as scientists and citizens in the world. We drew connections across all aspects of life on Hurricane to sustainable living and combating climate change.

We had an excellent visit to the Aquaculture site and research intern, Hallie, guided our students through our kelp and scallop farming. During this, along with our lobstering adventure, students were able to connect warming oceans and changing ecosystems with the potential economic impacts on Maine.

In teams, we investigated the impacts of climate change on Hurricane Island specifically. Using Stadia rods, we mapped sea level rise on our shores. We learned that 2 meters of sea level rise would turn our water source, the Quarry, into brackish water. This would have drastic impacts on the ability of people like us to be able to live and learn on Hurricane in the future.

We then put on our chef hats and cooked with kelp (not all enjoyed the end product, but much fun was had in the process!). We talked about the growing prevalence of kelp and other seaweeds in our diet because of their efficiency as a carbon sink. The students were eager to share their dishes (kelp chips, kelp salad, and Irish sea moss pudding) with the rest of the Hurricane community at dinner that night!

Throughout the week, we spent several hours exploring and conducting research in the Intertidal Zone. Each student came up with their own research question and designed a project. Using transects and quadrats, the students were able to get a feel for the field work at the heart of many scientific disciplines and then created a poster to present to all the Hurricane staff. During the project, students were encouraged to continuously return to the question, “Why do we, as marine biologists, care about climate change?”

We concluded the week with a long discussion about climate change solutions and how we can all get involved. Students were open about their feelings of pessimism and it was incredible to watch them inspire each other by emphasizing the importance of change at all levels in many different ways. The final morning, each student shared an action item they were bringing home with them. It was such a hopeful note to end on and I am so confident in their ability to go make change. The future is in good hands!

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