I decided at a really early age (around fifth grade) that I wanted to work with dolphins. Yeah, I know…pretty cliché, right? I wanted to swim with them and become their best friend because dolphins are, of course, the coolest animals to a little kid. This was the dream that I stuck with for a really long time, but as I grew older and learned more about our oceans, I discovered that dolphins aren’t the only ones in need of our help. I became fascinated with rays, sharks, seals, and so on (the list could go on forever). Visiting institutions like the Tennessee Aquarium and Georgia Aquarium further confirmed that I wanted to be involved with the ocean in whatever way I could. When I got accepted to Auburn University, I immediately enrolled in the Marine Biology program.
Classes at Auburn were no cake-walk, but I knew that the end product would be me working and saving marine animals somewhere in the field of marine biology. Part of the curriculum included taking classes at Dauphin Island Marine Lab outside Mobile, Alabama over the summer, and I learned much more and got hands-on experience with research and the amount of work that must be put into it. The classes I took part in were some of the best (and worst) of my life, but they formed me into the marine biologist I am today.
Why did I choose marine biology?
Now, five years later, I have decided that I want to educate people about the importance of ocean conservation and what they can do to help.
It is my dream to work at an institution whose mission is to educate and encourage the future generation to care about our oceans because we are the only ones who can protect them.
Hopefully one day I can be the person to inspire a little kid to love the ocean just like trainers, educators have inspired me.
Sydney is our newest addition to the Helping Ninjas! Stay tuned for more photos and posts from Sydney this summer as she travels to Dolphin Island to further her education as she begins the new journey with her career in Marine Biology.
My Adventures at Dauphin Island Sea Lab!Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is at the east tip of Alabama on a small island called Dauphin Island. Where the Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.
To pursue excellence in marine science education, research, coastal zone management policy and public engagement.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab Mission
In easy terms, their mission is to teach and inspire others to take care of our oceans!
DISL has an Estuarium and offers scientific training, college classes during the summer as well as different summer camps for kids of all ages!
DISL are the headquarters of the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center
I’ve been at Dauphin Island Sea Lab for about a week now and I’ve already done so many neat things. This is my second summer taking classes through my home college, Auburn University, for credit towards my marine biology degree. They’ve given me so much field experience and knowledge about marine life that I will definitely use later in my career.
One of the courses I’m taking is Coastal Wetlands Ecology, which is the study of the biology, chemistry, and hydrology of the wetlands of our planet!
Did you know that wetlands aren’t just freshwater like what we know as swamps and bogs?
There are many wetlands that have salt water, too, like the salt marshes and estuaries around Dauphin Island!
Did you know that estuaries are nurseries for thousands of baby marine animals?
It is extremely important to want to protect them just like we want to protect our oceans. Without our estuaries, there wouldn’t be anywhere for the babies to grow up!
Grand Bay National Refuge
We took a day trip to the Grand Bay National Refuge right outside Pascagoula, Mississippi where there are some of the most extensive and diverse salt marshes in the country!
Photo of a salt marsh at Grand Bay National Refuge
Outside of the Coastal Resource Center at Grand Bay, we saw dozens of marsh plants, fiddler crabs, fish, shrimp, flowers, and carnivorous plants, like the sundews I photographed!
Sundews are a small carnivorous plant of boggy places, with rosettes of leaves that bear sticky glandular hairs. These trap insects, which are then digested.
Sundews have sticky residue on their leaves to catch tiny bugs to eat.
The Grand Bay National Refuge is also home to a now rare type of habitat: the longleaf pine forest. It’s almost completely gone in the southeastern part of the country because it was harvested for human development and it needs fires to keep it healthy, which haven’t happened naturally for a very long time. The fires actually burn the grasses surrounding the longleaf pines in the forest to prevent overcrowding and to promote a healthy ecosystem. The forest management at Grand Bay is scheduling burns in the forest to try and bring back this rare habitat so that it can someday be back to what it once was!
It’s important to note the negative impact that humans have are not solely on the oceans and other well-known ecosystems, but also on the lesser-known ecosystems like the longleaf pine.
The other course I’m taking is Marine Ecology, which not only looks at our wetlands, but everything else about the ocean that we know and love! We learn the interaction between organisms and their environments in the deep ocean, coral reefs, seas, open ocean, polar seas, etc.
Anything that happens to do with the marine environment, we study in this class!
So far, we have done experiments looking at the settlement of larvae of different animals and how this is affected by currents and the tides and on predation of hermit crabs. It’s important to understand the interactions between organisms when they are threatened by climate change so that we can create recovery plans, which consist of all the information known about that specific organism, it’s environment, the threats it faces, and what we can do to help!
It’s amazing what just washes up on the shore!
Found this one all by itself.
That’s all for Week One! Thanks for reading and tune in next week for Week Two of My Adventures at Dauphin Island Sea Lab!
Plastic is ruining our oceans because there are so many pieces of plastic in our oceans. For instance, a couple of months ago I read and found out on Twitter™ that there was a plastic island twice the size of Texas and most of it was single use plastics.
My advice to help the ocean is don’t “throw away” stuff because there is always a way to recycle it.
Tom Szacky, author of the book: The Future of Packaging, and CEO of Loop™ and co-founder of TerraCycle™ said:
“We vote multiple times a day for the future we want, based on the things we buy.“
I have to agree with Tom. We make choices each day, possibilities are frequent and forthcoming, as we nod yes or no. What we brush our teeth with, wash our hair, dine in or dine out, what to wear, where we shop – for items, that we inevitably have to have. Preferences are made every second…
Today I was at a Helping Ninja party and I had a headache. I used lavender and it helped my headache. It took it away a little bit. I would like to use it again because it smells good and helped my headache.
Lavendar also can do these things, we learned this from HealthLine:
• Relieve pain. It can help ease sore or tense muscles, joint pain and rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. Simply massage lavender oil onto the affected area. Lavender oil may also help lessen pain following needle insertion.
• Treat various skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema and wrinkles. It also helps form scar tissues, which may be essential in healing wounds, cuts and burns. Lavender can also help soothe insect bites and itchy skin.
• Helps with Inflamation According to Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Naila Malik, it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce itching, swelling and redness.
• Keep your hair healthy. It helps kill lice, lice eggs, and nits. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCB) says that lavender is possibly effective for treating alopecia areata (hair loss), boosting hair growth by up to 44 percent after just seven months of treatment.
• Improve your digestion. This oil helps stimulate the mobility of your intestine and stimulates the production of bile and gastric juices, which may help treat stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, colic, vomiting and diarrhea.
• Relieve respiratory disorders. Lavender oil can help alleviate respiratory problems like colds and flu, throat infections, cough, asthma, whooping cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis. It can be applied on your neck, chest, or back, or inhaled via steam inhalation or through a vaporizer.
• Stimulates urine production, which helps restore hormonal balance, prevent cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), and relieve cramps and other urinary disorders.
• Improve your blood circulation. It helps lower elevated blood pressure levels, and can be used for hypertension.
• Keeps mosquitoes away Lavender oil can help ward off mosquitoes and moths. It is actually used as an ingredient in some mosquito repellents
Did you know? 8 million tons of plastic is thrown in the ocean every year.
Did you know? More plastic has been produced in the last 10 years is more than we used in a century.
Did you know? There is a plastic floating island in the ocean twice the size of Texas!
Written By Helping Ninja, Ethan, Age 9 and Leo, Age 10
We learned this today at our Helping Ninja Party. We watched clips from a video called Plastic Planet and also watched Our Planet. Both were so cool. And a few facts, disturbing.
Today was our last day of school at our elementary school. We rode the bus home together to have a party to celebrate the start of summer. We learned that we can help oceans this summer even though we live in Indiana. We can collect plastic or choose not to use it at all.
Today we ate popcorn and pizza and had zero waste. We recycled the paper box that the pizza was delivered in. We chose to use aluminum sodas and we rinsed and dried and recycled our soda cans. We used paper straws. We used 100% cotton fabric napkins. We composted our pizza crust and grape stems.
We learned about plastic in the ocean. Even when you don’t think its there its there in micro plastic. EVERY PEICE OF PLASTIC EVER MADE IS STILL HERE TODAY. We want others to learn how to help the ocean!
Afterwards, we decided to make a video. We thought it might help others learn what we learned. So, we made a video to share with others what we have learned about plastic pollution. Helping Ninjas Sawyer and Vedh starred in the video – Vedh filmed and directed it and helped to produce it!
Check it out!
You can watch it on our Helping Ninjas YOUTUBE CHANNEL or here: