St Andrews Science Discovery Day

SMRU hosted two activities at the Physics and Astronomy building as part of St Andrews Science Discovery Day on 4/3/2017, both titled of ‘Who are you and what have you been eating?’

One activity focused on the use of photo-identification to study populations of marine mammals. We had an explanatory poster on how and why we identify individuals of cetacean and seal species using natural markings. The kids & adults could choose to play one or more matching games with sperm whale flukes, killer whale dorsal fins, bottlenose dolphin dorsal fins and harbour or grey seal pelage photographs.

The second activity focused on how and why we study seal diet. A series of fake seal scats, made out of play-doh were filled with different grains and seeds, and lab coats and tweezers were provided to each children. After they had found all the fake otoliths in the scat, we could discuss what kind of and how much fish that seal might have been eating. Real otoliths were available to look through a magnifying lens.

6 PhD students, one research assistant and one post-doc were involved in facilitating the activities on the day.