There was a sea spider that was so slow
Even the snail was yelling hey, let's go!
The sea spider doesn't worry
It's never in a hurry
There are some secrets that spider must know.
The sea spiders one heart is so weak
It's so quiet it doesn't make a squeak
It's guts move it's blood
I think it lives in mud
Please don't call this special animal a freak
It's poetry Friday! (Well, by the time you get this it might be poetry Saturday) Today's poem is a limerick. A limerick is a poem in which the last word of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme and the last word of the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme. A limerick is usually funny or doesn't make sense. Give it a try and post your limerick in the comments section below.
"Aaron, is this what you would call a cauliflower?" I asked. I gazed through the microscope wondering if I was seeing an egg, a cauliflower egg, or an exploded egg. I was so excited to be helping Graham and Aaron look at trays of eggs and larvae of nudibranchs I wanted to make sure I was identifying each one correctly. As time passed I was getting quicker at identifying and didn't have to ask for help quite so much.
In my last journal I talked about gathering specimens from the sea floor and bringing them back to the lab. The animals the sea spider team are studying are benthic which means they live on or near the bottom of the ocean. To learn more about the aquarium at the Crary Lab, current home to the sea spiders, nudibranchs, and eggs we've collected, check out this video!
Once they are in the lab the nudibranch and sea spider eggs are gathered and separated into trays with wells. The trays are divided up and put into incubators. Each incubator is like a giant refrigerator and each incubator is a different temperature. (It can be very challenging and completely mess up the experiment if one of the incubators breaks down!) I think these incubators are pretty cool because you can open a side door and see what's in there without opening the incubator door. If my refrigerator at home had that I probably wouldn't wind up with stinky leftovers that I forgot about and left in the back of the fridge! By keeping the eggs and larvae at different temperatures, the team can study how increasing ocean temperatures affect how these animals grow and develop.
My favorite part is when the trays of eggs are observed under a microscope! Under the microscope, the scientists are looking to see if the eggs and larvae have changed into a new stage or if the larvae have molted. They have to look at a lot of eggs and larvae and know the stages of development really well. I was really excited when they included me in looking through the microscope too!!! When I get to stare through the microscope I am amazed at the shapes and tiny movements of these creatures! If I were a great artist I would draw them all. Instead I depend on pictures we can take with a camera attached to the microscope.
Here is a picture that was taken with the video microscope. This is one of my favorite stages of a sea spider developing. Can you find the little eyes?
When studying these eggs and larvae it's really important to keep them cold between the microscope and the incubator where they are kept. I always see Graham and Aaron dashing up and back down the ramp in the long hallway with a cooler filled with trays of eggs and larvae. I told them one day I'll make a time lapse video of all of their dashing around in and out of incubators with coolers and trays.
The team also created a thermal block. The thermal block has both cold water and heated water flowing into it to create a water temperature gradient. A gradient means that the temperature of the water slowly changes from one end of the block to the other. Eggs are in wells inside the thermal block. So far, the team has been studying Tritoniella belli eggs inside the thermal block by looking at them and writing down changes they see. It takes a lot of observing through a microscope to do this research! Sometimes after looking for so long, my eyes feel funny and I have to look out the window. I don't stare through a microscope nearly as long as everyone else does so I can't imagine how their eyes must feel. I think they must use a lot of eye drops!
Here's what I get to look at when I'm not staring through the microscope. Both views are pretty awesome!
The research team is also looking at how these creatures use energy as they grow. Stay tuned for more about what the science team is doing and life in Antarctica! Tomorrow...a snowmobile adventure through time!
A big shout out to The Logan School in Denver, Colorado who I skyped with early this morning and to the NatureBridge educators who I talked to yesterday afternoon! It was great to see all of your smiling faces and thanks for all of the questions. Stay curious, my friends.
Want to talk to me live at McMurdo field station in Antarctica? Want to meet some of the animals that live in the aquarium here in Antarctica? Want to hear more about the research we are doing, see it in action, and ask questions?
YOU CAN JOIN ME LIVE FROM MCMURDO STATION IN ANTARCTICA!
This will be a 45 minute to 1 hour live presentation and conversation. All are welcome to join! It will be geared towards K-12 classrooms so be sure to tell your teacher friends, or if you are a teacher please join in!!!
When: November 22, 2019 8:30 AM AKST (9:30 AM PST, 10:30 AM MST, 11:30 AM CST, 12:30 PM EST)
How: You need to register for the event by clicking HERE. You'll need to select November 22 Amy Osborne under Event Choice.
I hope you can join me!!
Also, don't forget to answer the trivia questions from yesterdays post. You can end up with a postcard from Antarctica!