November 19, 2007

Gettin’ Squiddy With It

Posted by: Tim Stetter, Environmental Education Coordinator

Talk about having a great day at the museum!

On Friday, we hosted 37 very cool middle school students from Eton School over in Bellevue for a day of hands-on ocean science. Our focus: squid research. With scientists in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS), we explored our exhibit In Search of Giant Squid, planned research expeditions, saw real at-sea footage from an expedition up in Alaska’s Bering Sea, and dissected some of the biggest squid around!

The squid we dissected is called the Magister Armhook Squid or Berryteuthis magister. Here’s a picture, straight from the boat that caught them.

I overheard a lot of fun comments during the dissection. Notice these statements all end in an exclamation point!

“That’s awesome!”

“Don’t poke the ink sac!”

“Whoa – eggs! Now we know it’s female!”

“So all the water is polluted with squid poo? EWW!”

One of my favorite parts of the day was hearing more about the research expedition in the Bering Sea. Sandy, a UW Research Associate, showed us all amazing photos and video footage of sending the trawl out to sea, bringing in the catch, measuring squid, and some of the strange creatures they caught. That whole trip looked fun.

Lots of people helped pull off this special program. Sandy, Kirsty, John, and David from SAFS; five college students from an ecology class up at the UW’s Friday Harbor Labs; four or five parent-chaperones; a pair of teachers; and a couple educators from our Burke Education office. Let’s not forget the students: some of them just may be our future ocean researchers and educators.

So this is a call out to all the students: what did you think of the day? Anything you’d like to share with us bloggers?

- Tim