Marine Biology Class Spends 10 Days Exploring, Studying, and Participating in Conservation Activities at the Jersey Shore

The finale to BIO330 Marine Biology this semester was ten days in southern New Jersey.  The students and Dr. Goddard explored the salt marshes, beaches and bay.

Classes on tides, waves, and currents were held at the Bayside Center in Ocean City, N.J.  But most of the time was spent exploring and on conservation activities.  The busy days included:

  • Building fencing along the Stone Harbor causeway with the staff of the Wetlands Institute to prevent female diamond back terrapins from being run over by cars as they seek places to lay their eggs.
  • Canoeing in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey and learning about the unique ecosystem and the endemic species found there.
  • Visiting with Rutgers University scientists who are studying oyster genetics to make them disease resistant and other Rutgers scientists who are developing aquaculture techniques for oysters, clams, and scallops to transfer to citizens who wish to start shellfish farms.
  • A night walk on a Delaware Bay beach with staff from the Wetlands Institute in which we rescued 500 horseshoe crabs from certain death. The crabs come ashore to spawn and if they become overturned and cannot right themselves they become desiccated and die or are eaten by gulls.  The eggs are essential food for thousands of migrating shorebirds and the crabs themselves are used for medical science. 
  • An ocean cruise on which we saw many dolphins including two babies.
  • Netting fish, hermit crabs, pipefish (relatives of sea horses), and crabs along a sandy beach.
  • Student reports on coastline protection, shorebirds, pollution, and local fisheries.
  • Helping the NJ Department of Environmental Protection restore shoreline in Sea Isle City, NJ.