Environmental Monitoring Project- Sandcrabs

Picture taken at the Science Fair. Photo courtesy of Hill
Picture taken at the Science Fair.
Photo courtesy of Hill

San Lorenzo Valley High School students are offered various opportunities in a large range of areas, whether it is in athletics, theatre, or science. In the field of science, Ms. Orbuch offers one particular extracurricular activity that appeals to science lovers school-wide. Under her watchful eye students conduct local environmental monitoring projects. These students spend many hours, before and after school, looking at different factors that play huge roles in our environment. Some of the projects focus on weather patterns, river conditions, water quality and native animals populations. Each one of these projects have a topic to focus on while gathering data.

This month’s featured project is Sandcrabs. This project is being conducted by sophomores Mira Lion and Carly Hill. The girls working on this project are looking to see when the sandcrabs are largest and most abundant in population

Last year, when the girls attended the first monitoring meeting, they were given a list of topics. They saw the sandcrabs and were immediately intrigued. They were interested by this project because of how great an effect the sandcrabs have on the beach ecosystems.

Lion and Hill said that the point of this project is “to monitor the overall health of the sandy beach ecosystem at Seabright Beach. Because sand crabs are an indicator species, they are very sensitive to changes in their environment. This means that if the sand crab population is healthy, then it is likely that the sandy beach, overall, is healthy.”

While working on this project the students begin to have different feelings toward their work. Lion said, “This project is very fun. We get to learn more about the beach each and every day. It is very interesting to see how the sand crab population changes from month to month.” The girls find the project fun and the topic interesting, however it can be very hard. Lion also said, “The most difficult part of this project is figuring out how to present our data. Also monitoring the sand crabs requires a lot of people and time”

Hill said, “ I really enjoy this project. It has been a great experience so far, and I am very excited to move forward with the project and begin running new tests. The most difficult part of this project is formatting and presenting our data in an understandable way. Also, going monitoring at the beach when the weather is bad.”  The girls working on this project are having fun with what they are doing, and that is the most important thing while working on the Environmental Monitoring projects.

These SLV students working on finding more research about Sandcrabs at Seabright Beach are among the many students working on different monitoring projects around the area. All of these students put in many hours of work and are dedicated to their findings.  If you would like to be one of the students working on this project next year, contact Ms. Orbuch for more information.

-Amanda Rinnert

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