Join the Marine Science Institute crew for a three and a half hour expedition on the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta aboard the 90-foot research vessel, the Robert G. Brownlee!
We will be leaving Stockton at 11:00am and traveling to the Big Break Regional Shoreline Park where we will have lunch and visit the nature center and large, walk-on map of the delta.
At 1:30, we will board the research vessel and cruise out into the delta. We will rotate through four 35 - 40 minute learning stations, just as the students do on their field trips.
Ichthyology (Fish) Station: The group will deploy a 16 foot trawl net to catch fish. Using teamwork they bring their catch onboard into a touch tank for closer observation. The group then breaks into smaller work groups to closely observe, study, and touch the fish. Students use a dichotomous key or other identification aids to identify the fish the have collected.
Plankton Station: In the plankton station, we will be studying plant (phytoplankton) and animal plankton (zooplankton). Students will examine organisms collected with a plankton tow in the Delta in our onboard lab. Using a microscope and digital display, student will observe and catalog a number of different species
Benthic Station: The group will do a mud grab (Peterson Grab) to gather a bottom sediment sample. The students then have an opportunity to touch the “bottom” of the Delta and look through the sample for organisms. The sediment is then washed away, and the invertebrates are collected and placed into buckets for closer observation.
Hydrology (Water Chemistry) Station: Students deploy a Van Dorn bottle in order to collect samples of Delta water. The instructor leads the group in a discussion on how variables of water chemistry can change over the course of a year and how this might affect organisms in the delta.