Hutto students visit marine lab

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A group of students in the science classes of Steve Simonson and Joseph Miller attended a program sponsored by Florida State University called Saturday-at-the-Sea.

The program originally began as a Saturday offering, but has grown since its inception 25 years ago.

During the operating season, 24 students from regional schools spend the day at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory at Turkey Point in St. Theresa, Fla. There, the teaching staff introduced them to the rich variety of fascinating marine creatures of the Gulf of Mexico through hands-on experience and study.

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Saturday-at-the-Sea aims to initiate an understanding of the biological relationships these sea creatures have to each other and to their physical environment. Moreover, the staff endeavors to awaken in the participants an awareness of the interdependency of people in this region and the sea life in our estuaries and bays. It is their goal to stimulate in young minds a strong interest in science at this critical time in their educational development.

The program includes slide presentations, a collecting trip by boat to sample marine invertebrates and fishes in sea grass, and a guided natural history field trip on the salt marsh.

In the laboratory at the end of the day, students have the opportunity to discover some of the fascinating ways that marine animals carry on the processes of life despite the rigors of the sea.

The students can see an amazing diversity of creatures, from sea anemones to sea horses, and learn such things as how different species feed, how some drastically change form as they grow, how animals defend themselves from predators, and how different kinds of animals fit into the sea’s web of existence.