Echinoderms are some of our closer invertebrate relatives and include seastars, brittle stars, as well as sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sea lilies. After learning about some of the features which defines this phylum, including their spiny skin and arm regeneration, Marine & Environmental Science campers got to interact with live individuals of the sea cucumber Synaptula hydriformis and brittle star Ophiophragmus filograneus from our area’s very own Indian River Lagoon. The campers also learned about the water vascular system of which echinoderms are known for, and got to experience first hand the movement of their tube feet as the brittle star moves across their hands. They recreated this system using some common food items. Older campers were also given the opportunity to discover the internal structure of the sea cucumber through dissection.
Also during the week, Marine & Environmental Science Campers learned about how light passes through the ocean and its relationship to fish vision. They discussed the phenomenon of bioluminescence and how and why animals glow in our oceans. Campers also learned about the structure and function of the fish eye, with older campers given the option of dissecting a fish eye.