Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday was an exciting day for staff and visitors as the Spiny Pink Scallops (Chlamys hastata) began spawning around 3:30pm! While we may not need any more Scallops in our tanks...it was still exciting to see the Scallops in action. What was most incredible was to see how they sensed the chemical change in the water and all began going at once! It is possible that we may see an abundance of scallops in that tank in a few weeks.
Spiny Pink Scallops, also known as the Pacific pink scallop or the swimming scallop, are found from the Gulf of Alaska to San Diego, California. Generally these brightly colored mollusks are found on rocky reefs encrusted with sponges. Scallops seem to have a symbiotic relationship with the sponge growing on them. The sponge helps discourage predators of the scallop, such as the sunflower star and other sea stars, from getting too close due to spicules from the sponge (if the scallop doesn't swim away first). The sponge benefits from living on an animal that can move. Scallops swim away from predators of sponge and usually swim into areas with good currents keeping the sponge from rotting.
Scallops come in a variety of sexes: dioecious (males and females are separate), while other are simultaneous hermaphrodites (both sexes in the same individual) and a few are protoandrous hermaphrodites (males when young then switching to female). The reddish tinge to the eggs is attributed to females while the males release white sperm. Eggs and sperm are released into the water and fertilized outside of the bodies. The fate of their young is left up to the tides, predators and weather conditions...which is why so many potential offspring are produced. If an egg is fertilized it will sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. After several weeks the juvenile scallop is born and drifts as plankton until settling to the bottom again by means of byssal threads. While we are unsure as to how old the scallops in our tanks are, age can be measured by examining the concentric rings of their shells.
View the video below to see the fireworks we saw in our tanks!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Corps members benefit from individual placements by gaining helpful job experiences and useful trade skills. During a normal stint of service (usually about 10 and 1/2 months) AmeriCorps Members receive health insurance, a modest living stipend, qualify for public assistance (such as food stamps and energy assistance), and receive an education award of $4,725.00 to help pay for college or student loans.
May 9th-12th is AmeriCorps week! Hence, we are celebrating by recognizing the great impact AmeriCorps has had on our own non-profit, the PTMSC.
Want to see more of what the PTMSC AmeriCorps do? Click play on the video below.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
While the land and people are beautiful, there is much to be done in the way of helping the riberenos and the Inia geoffrensis. Many of the communities are isolated and lack access to education and family planning. Some, like the Bonnetts, feel the draw to head South to do their part setting up schools, medical clinics and educating communities about over harvesting wood from the rainforest.
The Bonnetts have decided to devote much of their life to studying the population numbers and perhaps in turn, the health of the pink river dolphin, a keystone species. Bonnett has determined that the best way to estimate population numbers will be to use a hydrophone to record individual voices of the Inia geoffrensis. While the research is still in its preliminary steps, Bonnett feels he has enough data to support his theory that each dolphin has a distinct "voice" and while the current technology and physical location of the research sites make it difficult to sample, Bonnet is hopeful that further recordings will enable researchers to count the population size(s) of the Inia geoffrensis.
Now...don't you feel inspired to go to South America?? Well, you can help even from the comfort of you own home! If you have an old digital camera gathering dust in one of your closets, Dave Bonnett and his wife are taking a load of digital cameras down in June to aid in a project that teaches art. If you are interested in donating a camera please email me and I will put you in touch with Dave!
A piece of advice: Legend states that making eye contact with an Inia geoffrensis will give nightmares for the rest of ones life.
Want to learn more about what is being done? Read about Projeto Boto!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Jennifer Jackson, a reporter from Peninsula Daily News, recently visited our Marine Exhibit to interview our Thursday Home Crew Volunteers. She watched each volunteer meticulously clean and took notes about the interesting animals we must clean around! During her visit, a kindergarten class from Grant Street Elementary School came through the exhibit for a tour. Homecrew volunteers kept chugging along though they stopped to interact with many of the children. In her article, Jackson quotes Bill Dengler answer a question posed by one of the kindergartners. The child asked, "Why do you have to clean?" He said, "If we didn't do this, you wouldn't be able to look into the tank and see the fish and the fish wouldn't be able to look out and see you."
Click here to read the whole article! We love all of our volunteers, especially the ones willing to put on our stinky gloves!
We can always use more help! We have a variety of volunteer opportunities. To learn more please email Jean Walat our volunteer coordinator at email@example.com