T4O was founded on the belief that the best way for a student to learn is through experience. Modern classroom learning is usually lacking the hands-on experiential learning that many young minds need to thrive. It is especially difficult to gain a proper understanding of the sciences without getting your hands a little dirty. Not only can students learn more through experiences but they also tend to enjoy themselves and may not even realize how much they’ve learned.
This is why Teens4Oceans has placed huge emphasis on experiential learning in our organization. What better way to teach oceanic science than to let students jump in the ocean? T4O offers many research expeditions each year to our various research sites. Each expedition has its own unique scientific focus and students can align their interests with which expeditions fit best for them! Over the years we have traveled all over the world with T4O students and made waves at each location. Some of our past expeditions include extensive sea turtle monitoring projects in Akumal, Mexico, observing North American beaver’s role in riparian ecosystems, participating in the Goliath Grouper Project in the Florida Keys, and experiencing what it takes to tackle coral reef restoration projects throughout the Caribbean.
We are even more excited about our upcoming research opportunities.
Frying Pan Tower: TBD October
T4O will be traveling to the Frying Pan Tower, 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. This amazing tower sits on the sandy shoal of the Atlantic Ocean and provides an artificial habitat for huge amounts of marine life. In fact, two shark species are found frequently during the summer months. However, these sharks migrate from summer to winter and that raises some big questions. Where are the sharks going? Do the same sharks return to Frying Pan each year? How many sharks stop by Frying Pan during the summer and how long do they stay? These are just a few questions T4O students have so we set out to answer them. T4O will soon be installing an underwater webcam as well as 4 acoustic receivers. What are the receivers for you ask? Well, we are also going to catch 30 sharks, make a small incision in the belly and pop a transmitter or tag inside their bodies. These tags send off a “ping”, or distinctive noise, every few seconds and the receivers can hear that noise and tell us where that particular shark is! The data collected from this project will allow us to start answering some of the questions we have about these spectacular sharks and their migratory behaviors!
Bonaire: TBD Christmas Break
The Island of Bonaire is a small island just to the North of Venezuela. Bonaire is home to what many consider to be one of the healthiest coral reefs in the greater Caribbean. Given the enormous diversity of coral on Bonaire T4O decided to begin doing preliminary research projects throughout the island. T4O students have already installed two underwater webcams at Harbour Village Resort. One camera allows students to monitor 5 coral nursery trees set up by the Coral Restoration Foundation. The trees grow two endangered coral species, Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis. The trees give us insight to the effectiveness of this particular restoration method as well understanding the biology behind coral calcification. The second camera is on the beautiful reef just off shore the resort and in the mouth of the Harbour Village Marina. The data that we have already begun to receive is extremely interesting. Our data probes have shown drastic variability in salinity around the mouth of the harbor. What’s interesting is there are healthy corals throughout the area that seem to not be affected by the unstable environmental conditions. We are extremely excited to begin analyzing this data and having T4O students uncover the secrets of this research site.
Also keep your eyes out for a revival of both the Grand Cayman Research site and the possible construction of a Marine Lab in The British Virgin Islands