SCIENCE PROJECT AT THE LAGOON, Fall 2011
This semester 11th and 12th grade students from the Bishop’s School in La Jolla are using the newly restored San Dieguito Lagoon as an outdoor classroom for their Environmental Science course. Bishop’s science teacher, Pam Reynolds, in collaboration with UCSB Marine Science Institute Ecologist, Stephen Schroeter, is facilitating the students' research of the bledius or "rove" beetle. Although ecologists have long recognized the presence of these beetles in frequently exposed mudflats and salt pannes in the higher intertidal areas of coastal wetlands, there is an overall lack of information on how this organism interacts with the soil and other organisms, such as salt marsh plants and invertebrates. The students hope to answer some of the questions that have been plaguing the local ecologists: how/why the beetle is beneficial , if at all , to the wetland system and why the beetle is present in some areas of the lagoon while absent in others. To understand the ecology of the beetle the students have flagged test plots where they are currently researching, collecting data, soil samples, beetles and larvae through scientific methods. We are excited that the Lagoon Restoration has enabled this opportunity for learning and look forward to seeing the students' findings.
Below: Screening soil sample for beetles and larvae.
Below: Bledius beetle
Below: Some of the Environmental Science students with teacher Pam Reynolds and Ecologist Stephen Schroeter