Charlie Cilek, a student at Rockford High School, traveled to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) on Dauphin Island, Ala. to participate in DISL’s month-long residential high school marine science course. While there, Cilek lived on campus and participated in over 150 hours of supervised academic activities.
During the intensive program, the students were introduced to the field of marine science through a variety of disciplines. Many aspects of the class were highly academic, including lectures, group and individual projects, and presentations. While in class, the students studied plankton, oceanography, salt marsh ecology, marine botany, and marine vertebrates and invertebrates, just to name a few.
In addition to the classroom coursework, the group used the surrounding ecosystem on the barrier island for hands-on field experiences. Activities included beach profiling, reef fishing, and trawling aboard the DISL’s 65-foot research vessel, the R/V Alabama Discovery, to observe and identify local species. The group also took a trip to the New Orleans Aquarium, and went snorkeling in the seagrass beds of Panama City, Fla., a highlight of the course.
The students gained extensive knowledge from their time at DISL, and solidified their interest in marine science. In addition, the group left DISL with amazing stories, memories, and friends to last a lifetime.
For more information on the Dauphin Island Sea Lab visit www.disl.org.