In Morro Bay National Estuary, students will observe marine and mammals terrestrial birds, examine marine invertebrates, and observe marine, while exploring the salt marsh, mudflats, and rocky shores of the harbor mouth.
We will focus on interconnections between coastal watersheds and the estuary, and how coastal topography and the estuary are affected by the processes of erosion, transportation, and deposition. Using tide charts, students will learn how the sun and phases of the moon influence tide cycles that support estuary life. We will discuss the importance of estuaries in sustaining life in the open oceans, and how human behavior impacts the health of estuaries. These topics will be reinforced by visits to the Natural History Museum and the National Estuary Program exhibit.
We will collect plankton samples so students can learn to distinguish between plant and animal species. We will examine salt tolerant plants (halophytes) of the salt marsh. We will kayak to an oyster farm, and explore the sand spit dunes and beaches to locate plants unique to dune ecosystems. Emphasis will be placed on developing wildlife observation skills, and interpreting animal behavior. Sit spot times will allow for sketching wildlife and journaling
Students will learn various techniques used to assess the health of Morro Bay, by collecting data on 7 key water quality indicators, including pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen-nitrate, turbidity, and density. The week will end with our traditional lunch at Giovanni’s, and a trip to the saltwater taffy store.
July 17-21, 2013
Registration Fee: $300.00