Guest speakers and jelly tanks: Oregon Institute of Marine Biology faces COVID-19 | New

Correction June 24: This story has been updated to clarify that the Charleston Marine Life Center is conducting an ongoing review of coronavirus conditions to determine an appropriate reopening date. It has also been updated to indicate that faculty can access CMLC for the purpose of filming organizations for their students.

Marine biology at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology is a great adventure of discovery, according to OIMB Director Craig Young. “It’s an opportunity to go to places nobody’s been before and look at things so bizarre you couldn’t even imagine them until you saw them,” Young said in a commentary. Youtube video promote the institute. COVID-19 has postponed this great adventure, but professors say it will likely resume in the fall.

Located in Charleston on the Oregon Coast, the OIMB offers interactive courses that allow marine biology students and other UO students to gain hands-on learning experience in a marine laboratory.

The OIMB normally offers courses in the fall, spring and summer. Although many OIMB spring semester courses have been canceled altogether, the OIMB offers courses like Invertebrate Zoology, Deep Sea Biology, and Marine Birds and Mammals as online courses during the summer semester. , according to Maya Watts, coordinator of the OIMB education program.

The professors who teach the upcoming OIMB courses work hard to make their courses attractive under the circumstances.

Nancy Treneman is an OIMB research assistant by courtesy appointment. She will teach the Summer Course on Algae Biology, in which she will direct and film an experiment that students will critique. “I didn’t really work on making it a perfect experience for the student to pick up on the flaws,” Treneman said. “I hope that gives them some idea of ​​what they can do when we can get back together.”

While professors implement a variety of strategies to make their lessons as engaging as possible, including live videos, microscope cameras, and guest speakers, Watts admitted that distance learning is no substitute for in-person lessons. “You just can’t imitate, unfortunately – even with great annotated video, even with great voiceover – going out on the pitch and flipping rocks and seeing the diversity that is out there,” Watts said. “You can’t emulate this experiential in-person learning from a distance. It is simply not possible. But I think you can do distance learning very well, so you can still feel what it’s like to be in a marine lab and in these habitats. But it is not a substitute. This is the next best thing.

UO Charleston Marine Life Center, an interactive marine science museum and aquarium, typically allows UO and OIMB students, as part of their lessons, to observe the many species of fish and invertebrates that inhabit the CMLC .

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CMLC is temporarily closed to the public and is currently not accessible to students. However, the CMLC will remain open to professors who wish to film the organizations for their students. Director Trish Mace said the center is finding ways to take advantage of the shortage of visitors by setting up new exhibits, including a jelly tank and a kiosk that showcases UO research.

Mace explained that installing a jelly tank would be difficult under normal circumstances, as it involves plumbing work and building a new wall. The reservoir will house moon frosts when completed, she said.

The CMLC is conducting an ongoing review of coronavirus conditions to determine an appropriate reopening date, according to Mace. Meanwhile, the OIMB plans to reopen for in-person classes in fall 2020, according to Watts.

Watts does not predict that COVID-19 will have a significant impact on students’ ability to graduate on time, although the UO does require marine biology majors to spend three terms at the OIMB.

When asked if the OIMB expects an influx of students registering for fall classes, Watts said classes may fill up, but the OIMB will accommodate students as needed. “Usually our classes are not completely full,” she said. “So I think having a few more students isn’t going to be a big deal. “

An increase in class enrollment will not prevent the OIMB from meeting UO and Oregon Health Association guidelines, according to Watts. “Class sizes are typically 20 students or less, so expanding into one or two classrooms is very doable for the OIMB,” she said.

According to Watts, several new protocols relating to the use of masks and the sterilization of equipment will govern the OIMB’s classroom and laboratory procedures.

These restrictions halted the majority of OIMB research. “It was difficult for a doctorate. student not being able to be in the lab 40 hours a week, ”said graduate student Nicole Nakata. Nakata and her research director, Professor Richard Emlet, applied to resume their research over the summer.

“OIMB, like UO, has the best interests of our students at heart,” Watts said. “Not only their safety, but their education. Finding the balance between these two is, hopefully, what we’re aiming for this summer and fall.


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