Tag Archive: marine science


http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Blue Water Ventures offers customized naturalist-led field trips in California, Central America and the Caribbean. As environmental educators, we believe in hands on learning experiences using the outdoors as our classroom.

When teachers call to inquire about field trips, I speak with them personally to discuss curriculum and the particular themes they would like covered during a program.

Many Bay Area area schools choose the calm protected water of Elkhorn Slough for a day of sea kayaking. Harbor seals, sea otters, cormorants and pelicans are easily observed from the quiet perspective of a kayak. For fifth graders and above, no previous kayaking experience is necessary.

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Our Elkhorn Slough curriculum includes: wetlands ecology, endangered species, natural history of sea otters, harbor seals, sea birds. Etc and cultural history. Leadership and teamwork are key components of your field trip. After lunch, students are introduced to several sampling techniques including a large seine net to pull and plankton tow with field microscopes to use.

We offer a leisurely paced, full day in Elkhorn Slough (9:30-2:00) for only $38 per person with a complimentary trip for teachers. Closer to San Francisco and the is Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay where a similar curriculum can be offered for $48 per person.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a professional educator with over 30 years in the field with students, I am committed to providing quality outdoor programs. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you regarding potential field trips for your students.
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: (831) 459 8548
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
website: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
127 Mason St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

 

follow us on Facebook! or our Nature News Blog Site

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Winter is truly an outstanding time to kayak among the seals and sea otters of Elkhorn Slough. Blue Water Ventures offers naturalist-led adventures through out the year. California schools join us regularly in for a highly educational field trip to Elkhorn Slough.

Elkhorn Slough it is simply the best spot for viewing wildlife. There are easily 20-30 otters in the harbor as we launch our stable sea kayaks. There is fabulous viewing very close to where we launch so great for 5th grade classes or older.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our Elkhorn Slough curriculum typically includes: wetlands ecology, endangered species, natural history of sea otters, harbor seals, sea birds. Etc and cultural history. Leadership and teamwork are key components of your field trip.

After lunch, we will pull a large seine net which students LOVE! We love their enthusiasm…doesn’t matter what we catch! They will want to keep trying!

We offer a leisurely paced, f ull day in Elkhorn Slough (9:30-2:00) for only $38 per person with a complimentary trip for one teacher.

if parents are driving, they often join us which can be helpful. Parent chaperones also pay the student rate of $38. We feel we offer something really unique as most other outfitters just spend time on the water.

Hope you will join us!

Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: 831-459-8548
http://www.bluewaterventures.org
email: bluewaterventuressc@gmail.com
127 Mason St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Follow us on Facebook or our Nature News Blog Site

 

Macro Life in Baja

 

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There are so many WOW moments while exploring the wonders of Baja….gliding alongside a whale shark, the world’s largest fish, bracing as a massive mama gray whale gently nudges our tiny ponga boat or a 90 foot blue whale emerges next to us with an explosive breath.

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However, I am always fascinated by the intricate details of life as we explore Baja….the grains of sand on a newwborn sea turtle’s back, a tiny shrimp mimicing the tube feet of a sea star, the vibrant hues of a pufferfish eye.

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Our next Baja adventure is February 2017, join us at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

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http://www.bluewaterventures.org

http://www.bluewaterventures.org.

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http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Each year during our Caribbean programs in Belize and the British Virgin Islands,  our group is invariably drawn to the Caribbean Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis sepioidea. Even seasoned snorkelers become overwhelmed by the explosion of colorful activity found on a coral reef. Suspended in blue water, an erie feeling that something is watching you creeps into your consciousness. A quick glance around reveals a squadron of reef squid. Swim away and they follow. Move towards them and they quickly change color, a deep red if near the reef or pale if over sand, masters of camouflage.

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They may even create false eyes on their posterior end as seen here. The eyes will instantaneously vanish once the threat of a predator is gone. Quite incredible.

 

The  picture  below reveals an unusual white blotch across the dorsal side. I have watched reef squid for decades and have rarely seen such coloration. It appears as though we may have interrupted the amorous intentions of a courting male.

 

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Reef squid not only expand and contract the chromatophore cells embedded in their skin to conceal themselves, but do so as part of their mating ritual. Males may flash an impressive zebra pattern to the female who is revealing a blotchy saddle indicating her sexual receptivity. Mate selection is a serious business to a female reef squid. She will die soon after depositing her fertilized eggs in a safe corner of the ocean floor. Like most cephalopods, the life of the Caribbean Reef Squid is relatively short. They are thought to live for one year, mate and die.

Join Blue Water Ventures on a naturalist-led adventure to the reefs, rain forest,  kelp beds and beyond!

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http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Imagine a jellied filled sac, a simple life form that saw the Dinosaurs come and go, flourishing on earth for over 300 million years. You have no brain nor heart or even a proper anus. You have just consumed the soft juicy tissues of a California mussel, dislodged from the grasps of its stringy cementing agent by a powerful wave. The calcareous mussel shell pops out of your mouth that serves as both the beginning and end of your digestive tract.

Sea anemones, though a mere bundle of jelly, are formidable predators. They are armored with 1000’s of stinging cells known as nematocyst that capture their prey. The aggregating anemone pictured here can produce sexually through the dispersal of egg and sperm or asexually by cloning. Essentially, they pull themselves apart creating a genetic clone over and over again until they blanket their rocky condo. Specialized warrior polyps on the edges of the colony inflate with powerful nematocyst cells that will attack neighboring colonies. In some cases a neutral zone between colonies will be established where each colony is spared the lethal reach of the other.

 

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www.bluewaterventures.org

Have you ever wandered a beach and found seashells with a small holed drilled into it? There are several marine snails that use their radula, a file like tongue to bore into their prey. Among them is the moon snail. The tiny single holes in the bivalves pictured here were made by a predatory snail, perhaps a moon snail or oyster drill. The photo reveals a shell on the right which is riddled with multiple tiny holes. This is from the dissolving activity of a boring sponge in the genus, Cilonia. These sponges use a dissolving chemical to bore into calcium rich species such as snails and corals. Rather than seeking prey, boring sponges are in pursuit of a habitat taking up residence in a calcareous animal….life on a gulf coast beach.

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www.bluewaterventures.org

Next time you are kayaking in Elkhorn Slough take a look around the launch area. There is a vast diversity of life clinging to the docks and hiding in the mudflats. The bright orange species is a colonial tunicate. In their larval stage tunicates sport around with a primitive spinal cord which places them into phylum chordata, the same category that humans and all animals with backbones belong to. Our naturalist at www.bluewaterventures.org  love to share their knowledge of what lives above and below. Be sure to fire those questions our way on your next kayaking tour with us.

www.bluewaterventures.org

During our yearly expedition to the Sea Of  Cortez, we made an incredible discovery. A tiny, barely discernible commensal shrimp was  found living among the tube feet of Bradley’s Sea Star (Mithrodia bradeyi). The sea star shrimp (Periclimenes sorer) was barely visible until we realized it was mimicing the tube feet of the sea star.

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