Sugar Bowl Academy nets student-taught marine biology lab

Bria Riggs
Special to the Sun
Choices we make as consumers can have an impact on our natural resources.
Courtesy | iStockphoto

In Sugar Bowl Academy’s 2013-14 biology class, students engaged in a three-day lab observing the invasive Red Lionfish species in Caribbean coral reefs.

The objective of this lab was for the class to create a conservation initiative that would aid in combating the Red Lionfish and its overthrow of coral reefs in the region. The lab was also meant to teach students about the importance of biodiversity in the oceans and the delicate balance that keeps marine ecosystems healthy.

I was a graduating senior at Sugar Bowl Academy, and this lab was a component of a larger research project that I conducted for the entirety of my senior year, know as Senior Project.

All seniors must do a year-long project on a topic of their choice.

My topic focused on marine fisheries and their impact on oceanic biodiversity. One requirement for the project was to create a product, which could be virtually anything that created a materialized and lasting piece, other than a paper or presentation, which were the other major requirements for the whole project.

I decided to create a lab because oceanic education and exposing students to the topic is the best way to combat marine deprivation and destruction. I wanted to show the students in our community that their own individual choices have a big impact on our oceans, and they can make a difference.

Students worked in four differently themed groups, political, business, ecological and conservation. Each group was tasked to look at the Red Lionfish issue through a different lens. This created a better-balanced conservation plan that mirrored the gridlock and apprehension that takes place in reality.

This case study provides students with both a scientific and social prospective on the issue, which is widely important in all types of conservation. Scientists know how to fix the issues, but the political and economic factors surrounding those issues present problems of their own.

This was not only an amazing opportunity to share my message with a larger and younger audience, but it also gave me a chance to get more involved in the community. At SBA, we all spend a lot of time together; training, skiing, going to school and traveling. But it was a unique experience to actually teach my peers and interact with them in a completely new way.

Although I moved on to college this fall, the lab will continue to be apart of the SBA biology class in the coming years.

To learn more about how you can make a difference and help save the oceans Google search: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide. Your consumption choices can make the biggest difference!

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