Sunday, January 30, 2011

Panama Expedition: Pencils.... Down!

Taking a test is not typically a fun experience. Stress. Anxiety. GRADES.

But in any class experience, test-taking is a necessary assessment of knowledge and here in Bocas del Toro, we have a different approach. A FUN approach! We feel that the best way to test fish knowledge is... to go where the fish are. Have you ever taken an underwater exam before?

For us, the easiest way to learn our fish identification is to take our pencils... down! Equipped with clean dive slates, a pencil, and all of their fishy knowledge amassed to-date, the Three Seas students snorkeled a transect with a fish placed every 2 m along the line. Asked to identify family, genus, and species, students went face-to-face with each question. They also had to answer questions about life stage, feeding mode, sleeping habitat, propulsion, anatomy, etc.

I'm happy to report that the class did extremely well. You might even give them a star for their efforts; in this case, an Oreaster! :-)

So, your turn. Can you identify the following two species? For a bonus point, what do they eat?

Fish photos by Christopher Marks

Happy studying,


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