June 13, 2014

Shredder the Shark Spills Her Guts to Kids in Seward and Anchorage

Tags: Core Program

Fisheries biologists study fish diets to understand marine food webs. The big chunks of undigested food in fish stomachs can be identified visually, but when it can't be, scientists use molecular genetics to do the identification. In partnership with the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Prinicipal Investigator Mike Canino developed an exhibit expaining how scientists study gut contents of fish to understand food webs (learn more about the original exhibit created for NPRB project # 924).

For his current project #1220, Canino created a new version of the exhibit that features fish and crab species for children to identify using bead sequences that simulate DNA sequences. He spent a day each at the Alaska SeaLife Center and at the Anchorage Museum training education staff and interacting with young visitors and their parents. Canino uses the exhibit to explain the basics of DNA then invites kids to examine Shredder's gut contents. Some items can be be identified visually; for the ones that can't, Canino guides kids through the process of matching the unknown sequences to the reference species. 







The exhibit will be housed at the AlaskaSeaLife Center for the near-term; please contact if you are interested in learning more about the exhibit.