Press Release – August 27, 2015
Quantitative Ecology for Marine Management – Bridging disconnect to young teens of San Diego’s underserved communities. Science and Math Education. Conservation Management.
This past month, the Semmens Lab participated in the Triton Summer STEM Academy activities, and hosted a group of 30 students from local SD and LA high schools that were ideal candidates for undergraduate student recruiting. Students were introduced to lab projects such as the Grouper Moon Project in Little Cayman Island, Coastal Angler Fish Tagging Cooperative, and Oceanic Manta Conservation. Summer interns from the SURF program also shared their projects and personal experiences about chosing to study marine science. Nothing but positive feedback was received from the organizers, as the goal to captivate young teens interest in pursuing a degree in marine science was achieved.
The Semmens Lab, in collaboration with WILDCOAST, a locally based nonprofit that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife, invited a group of teens from the El Cajon Valley High School for a 3-hr hands-on experience of quantifying marine science. El Cajon Valley serves approximately 1,900 students in grades 9 through 12 with 54% labeled as English language learners primarily from the Middle East and Latin America. According to the Accountability Progress Report published by the California Department of Education for the 2012-2013 school year, 40% of parents have received a High School diploma, and 83% are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program. Six girls, between ages 14-17 years, participated in a crab population estimate activity in the field, and had to come up with an estimate of the population size after marking and recapturing them throughout the morning. The girls also visited the lab, and toured the Hubbs Hall Aquarium, where they learned about other sea critters and their ecology.
The aim of this outreach was to provide opportunities for at-risk San Diego High School students and to explore the importance of marine Quantitative Ecology. The goal was to inspire high school students about ocean conservation and the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields through the practices of quantitative approaches to marine science. The Semmens Lab is currently interested in developing a more intensive summer program and hopes to secure funding for a program to be in place by Summer 2016.
The Semmens Lab research focuses on applied questions in fisheries management and conservation biology. Approaches as to how to solve such questions vary, but typically involve both fieldwork and analytic techniques and students possess particular strengths in quantitative theory and tools, including stock assessment, time series analysis, mark-recapture analysis, and stable isotope mixing model theory and methods.
For more information about Wildcoast,visit www.wildcoast.net