Your Learning Connection | Vol. 6
Do YOU love Lumpfish too?
Close your eyes and picture a fish in your mind. Did you do it? Maybe you thought of a goldfish, with waving fins, or a clownfish, with bright colors. Well, the lumpfish is not so fancy! Lumpfish are a little wacky looking, with a bumpy body and small fins, but this unassuming fish plays an important role in salmon farming. Join naturalist and lumpfish researcher Mike Doherty to learn more about lumpfish and their adaptations in this video:
What is a cleaner fish? Learn more about this unique relationship with salmon, and test your knowledge of mutualism here: Lumpfish: It’s a Match!
If you thought that was cool, check out Lumpfish 101, where Ocean Matters Ltd., a company committed to promoting cleaner fish like lumpfish, share more about this symbiotic species.
Want to learn more about how animals interact in the wild? We recommend visiting Galapagos Conservation Trust’s blog for some special examples of Symbiotic Relationships.
Sink or Float Experiment
Have you ever tried floating on your back in the ocean, a lake, a pool, or even in your bathtub? You may have noticed that when you take a deep breath you float up a few inches, and when you breath out, you sink down. What makes something sink or float? Why would seaweed float on the top of the water, lobsters sink to the bottom, and jellyfish float somewhere in between? Conduct your own Sink or Float Experiment with some of the materials in and around your house to see what you can discover.
Neutral buoyancy occurs when an object’s density is the same as the density of the water (or other liquid). Many bony fishes have an organ called a swim bladder, which is filled with gas, that helps them to remain buoyant so they don’t sink to the bottom of the ocean. SCUBA divers are also trained in order to maintain neutral buoyancy using breathing and measuring devices. To learn more about neutral buoyancy, visit Sciencing’s Types of Buoyancy page.
Time for a challenge! Can you create an object that is neutrally buoyant using things you can find around your house? Try out our Neutral Buoyancy Challenge, and let us know what you find! Send a picture of your neutrally buoyant object to [email protected] and we will post it on our social media.
Be a Bud Biologist
We often think of spring as the season for new life. Birds migrate back to the north after winter, insects abound, and many seasonal plants begin to sprout new leaves, branches, or flowers. While some trees keep their foliage year-round, some are just growing new leaves for the summer months. Learn more about the two different types of trees from Naturalist Serina in this Coniferous vs. Deciduous Trees video:
Can you find coniferous and deciduous trees in your neighborhood? Spring is the perfect time to head outside and take a closer look at the plants of our backyard. If you look at the ends of branches and stems, you may be able to spot some buds. A bud indicates new growth on a plant or tree, and may become a flower, a new branch, or a leaf. Become a bud biologist and see if you can find all of the species in our Spring Bud Scavenger Hunt.
Want to take a closer look? The timing of bud bursts can provide scientists with more information about climate change, bird behaviours, and more. Learn how to record data on plants in your own backyard in order to help answer some of the large questions about weather, seasons, and climate at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest’s Backyard Phenology page.
Flowers are a beautiful sign of spring, and making a Flower Press is one way to make them last and bring a part of nature into your home. Preserving flowers and plants isn’t just a way to make art, it can be a great way to study the parts of a flower and one way to record what specimens are found in different locations.
Once you get the hang of pressing plants and flowers, head to the Florida Museum’s Herbarium Page to learn more about making an herbarium sheet that can be part of your own plant library. The largest herbarium, or collection of preserved plants that are stored and catalogued for study, is Kew Gardens, with about 7 million preserved plant specimens! Can you make an herbarium sheet for your favorite plant? Send us a picture of your flower pressing or herbarium sheet to [email protected]. We’d love to see what you find!