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Education activities review: September 10-13

September 14, 2012

Science outreach

We hope you have all been enjoying the new Pulse of the Bay newsletters. Here are the topics we have chosen for the upcoming year’s issues:

Fall 2012: Science Collaborative project – overview & results

Winter 2013: SWMP and related monitoring efforts

Spring 2013: Watershed & juvenile salmon research

Summer 2013: The value of partnerships

Catie’s outreach on this summer’s spruce needle rust spore-release event continued this week with an article in the Homer Tribune. If you missed it in the printed paper, you can use this link to read the article online.

KBRR’s August sampling of recreationally harvested shellfish on the Southern Kenai Peninsula occurred August 18-21, 2012. All beaches were sampled for their respective shellfish; however, staff were unable to locate an adequate number of littleneck clams on the beach at Jakolof Bay (so we cannot report on Jakolof littlenecks). Results are as follows:

North beach Ninilchik razor clams < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable) < 0.050 mg/kg domoic acid
South beach Ninilchik razor clams < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable) < 0.049 mg/kg domoic acid
Port Graham Bay butter clams 35 ug/100g PSP
Jakolof Bay butter clams < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable)
China Poot Bay butter clams < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable)
Bear Cove littleneck clams < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable)
Bear Cove blue mussels < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable)
Homer Spit blue mussels < 34 ug/100g PSP (undetectable)

All shellfish must have less than 80 ug (micrograms) of paralytic shellfish toxin/100g of tissue to be considered safe for human consumption. Using the mouse bioassay test, PSP levels below 34 ug cannot be detected. For domoic acid, levels under 20 mg/kg (equivalent to the regulatory limit of 20 parts per million (ppm)) are considered safe for human consumption. This program is not sufficient to certify beaches as “safe” or completely ensure harvester safety from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or domoic acid poisoning. Please terry.thompson@alaska.govcontact Terry Thompson if you have questions.

Student science education programming

Carmen participated as a science leader and local taxonomic expert at McNeil Canyon Elementary School’s 2nd annual School Grounds BioBlitz on Wednesday. Throughout the day, all 120+ kindergarten – 6th grade students spent 45 minutes outdoors collecting bugs and plants and making observations on wildlife on school grounds. This was followed by an indoor identification and listing session. Carmen was impressed by the students’ observation skills and the ability of many students to readily identify local plants, bugs, and signs of wildlife. This event was organized and led by 6th grade teacher (and KBRR Education Committee member) Sheryl Sotelo. Thank you, Sheryl, for taking this effort to get Homer kids outside and excited about science!!

KBRR monitoring programs

This week Catie and Carmen travelled to Seldovia to inspect and record fouling organisms on settling plates in place in the harbor since June. Tunicates, hydroids, barnacles, sponges and bryozoans were the dominant species recorded, with a few spiral tube worms, giant flatworms, nudibranchs (3 spp.), a helmet crab, and ribbon worm found inhabiting the plate surfaces, as well. No invasive tunicates were found on the plates this week. New (clean) plates were deployed the same day; these will be analyzed for fouling organisms in March 2013.

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