In this Newsletter...

We feature current research, events and outreach activities at SDSU's Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory.

In this issue:

Hip Hop + Science: Using science rhymes to expand student minds

Photo of the Month
Shout outs!

Photo of the Month:

Chelsea Rochman graduates with a PhD
M.S. Candidate, Amalia Harrington's thesis in progress. The experiment  was designed to examine how the presence and size of conspecifics impact relative survival of subadult (i.e. 50-60 mm carapace length) California spiny lobsters. The artificial shelters (shown in photo) had standardized dimensions, and she varied the number and size of lobsters in each shelter. Then she assessed relative survival after seven days. (Photo: Amalia Harrington)



San Diego Coastkeeper is teaming up with SeaWorld Cares for the 2nd Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day! Join this year on National Make a difference Day to enjoy a day on Mission Bay and help keep it clean! Participants have the chance to win SeaWorld prizes and can enjoy lunch from Rubio's following the event. Click here for more information and directions.

What: Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day
When: October 26th, 8am-11am 
WhereMission Bay, San Diego

Shout outs:

Congratulations to Alex Warneke! She is one of the few chosen candidates to join Fabien Cousteau and the Mission 31 team at the Reef Base Aquarius in November. Mission 31 is a historic 31-day mission in the laboratory, Aquarius. This mission is one day longer than the original Conshelf II mission led by Fabien’s grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, in 1963. It will showcase the value of saturation diving from underwater laboratories for ocean exploration, and highlight the severe challenges facing our planet. One of the last underwater habitats, Aquarius allows scientists the ability to live underwater and investigate the marine science of coral reefs. Furthermore, from Aquarius we will be able to bring the discovery of undersea exploration to a world stage through daily video conferences and social media tools. For more info, follow her adventures at Deep Sea News starting November 1st!

The Aquarius, where Alex will spend 31 days under the sea (Photo: NOAA)

Hip Hop + Science: 
Using science rhymes to expand student minds

 By Dr. Jeremy Long, Assistant Professor, SDSU

Attracting under-served students to scientific disciplines like ecology remains a significant challenge. Such students may feel disconnected from science because our lessons, textbooks, and papers are filled with unfamiliar terms and concepts. Yet these same students share a common interest in popular music, especially hip hop. Thus, a growing movement in science education uses hip hop to connect our youth to science. For example, the Science Genius organization successfully teaches science through rap to New York City Public School students. This recent movement has succeeded because of the expertise and foresight of a college professor (Dr. Christopher Emdin from Columbia University) and a popular rap artist (GZA, from the Wu Tang Clan). To “represent” the West Coast in this growing shift in educational strategy, my lab has begun to use music to teach science at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach. During spring 2013, I brought ~30 amazing students from Mar Vista’s Poseidon Academy to SDSU to train them on software to create scientific music videos about predator-prey interactions. They learned new software, met current SDSU students, and participated in their first visits to a college campus. Two of the awesome music videos produced, “That Seal Meal” and “Urchins All Day,” are publicly available on Youtube (see links below).

Sunset bongo tow.

Mar Vista High students are all smiles while learning how to add vocals to instrumental tracks at an SDSU computer lab (Photo: H. Jacobs).

This fall, we are repeating this exercise with several important improvements. First, we have assembled an all-star team of SDSU Ecology Graduate Students that will work with small groups of high school students. The high school students will learn about cutting edge local research while our graduate students will receive free educational videos about their projects. Second, we are developing curricula with San Diego hip hop artists including Parker Edison and Generik (see links below). During an upcoming class visit next month, we will team up with these artists to immerse the students in the world of hip hop and science. Highlights of this visit will include students tagging paper with scientific graffiti about research in my lab, students developing science lyrics with input from the rappers, and students sharing their lyrics with their peers (aka, a rap cypher). I believe that radical change is needed to better attract under-served students to ecology – more traditional, lecture based approaches are clearly ineffective. Or, in the words of Andre 3000 from the rap group Outkast, “Speeches only reaches those who already know about it, this is how we go about it.” In our case, “this” equals hip hop plus science.

Parker Edison raps to Jeremy Long’s Chemical Ecology class at SDSU (Photo: J. Long).
That Seal Meal
Urchins All Day
Parker Edison 


Dr. Jeremy Long's Youtube Channel mixes science with popular tunes.

As of September 15, 2013, Jeremy’s Youtube Channel has 32,059 views.
Mar Vista High students learn to edit scientific songs using the program Garageband (Photo: T. Shanklin).

Mar Vista High students learn to edit scientific songs using the program Garageband (Photo: T. Shanklin).

Jeremy is also partnering with a local film crew, Rowlberto Productions, to improve the production value of his science music videos.

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