Field scientists spend a large amount of time collecting, observing, and studying organisms in the native environment. All science starts with observations, and it is these observations that allow us to know our “system” (i.e., your study organisms or ecosystem) so that we may design experiments and from testable hypotheses. Scientists can spend months to years in locations across the world “in the field” studying their organism/ecosystem–sometimes “the field” may be a jungle, or a remote island atoll, and in other cases it may be a foreign laboratory with research tools the researcher does not have access to in his or her home country. For instance, while completing my masters degree at California State University Northridge, I spent 8 months abroad in French Polynesia and Taiwan to study tropical corals, which are not found in the temperate waters of California.

The objective for the field trip is to help YOU understand the ecology and the ecosystems of coastal southern California. While I cannot ask you to go SCUBA dive on Catalina, spending an afternoon exploring the intertidal can be just as educational and rewarding. Students are required to participate in a field trip outing of their choice, either to a rocky intertidal site or to an aquarium. The goal for the students is to observe taxonomic groups we have discussed in the course; understand the physical and biological processes that affect organisms in the intertidal (or other habitats if you are at an aquarium); observe ecological characteristics and learn more about marine organisms. More importantly though, the purpose of this assignment is to have fun; you only can learn so much from sitting behind a computer!
Each student will be responsible for going on an “outing” of their choosing. This may include a trip to the rocky intertidal (Palos Verdes, Leo Carillo, Malibu Lagoon are good options at LOW TIDE ()) or you may go to an aquarium (Aquarium of the Pacific, California Science Center are good options) and do a write up about what you see and how it relates to the course. I do request if you go to an aquarium you ask for an educational tour or see if they have options for self-guided audio tours. This will help you learn more and identify unique aspects of exhibits and the animals/ecosystems they showcase.

Once completed, you are required to submit a field trip report (50 points) in the Field Trip Assignment page, which explains where you went, what you did, what you learned, etc. See the ‘Field Trip assignment’ or course calendar for due dates. Details on how to prepare your report are provided below.
Report Preparation
Each report should be one page long (~ 500 words), single spaced.
For each report, the following information is required:
Student name
Field trip date
Field trip location
Background information about location
How was time spent on field?
What did you learn?
Discuss positive/negative aspects of experience
Include photos! Great way to show me organisms you observed

Given the issues with COVID-19, I am very flexible regarding this assignment. I understand we you can’t go to the aquarium or the beach the way I wish we could. In light of that, some other options are virtual tools (see below). You can use these to “visit” exhibits at the aquariums and on the reefs of the world.
You can choose your own adventure here, but I’d like you to use the resources below to write a 1 pager and meet the following requirements:
(1)Discuss positive/negative aspects of experience
(2) You should also watch at least 1 lecture from the Aquarium of the Pacific and talk about what you learned.
You can check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Live Cams here:
Our local Aquarium of the Pacific also has live webcams to check out of their most popular exhibits:
And if you want to learn from experts, you can catch a recording of one of the AOP’s guest lecture series:
Lastly, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries provides 360-View Virtual Dives of some of our most important marine protected areas:

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