Week 3 Update, Dr. Rob

Hi Everyone,

Another fun week at YSA! We started off Monday getting muddy in the salt marsh, and followed up on Thursdaywith some collegial discussion about what we are going to sample in our upcoming field study.  We decided to have three groups: 1) Drone group (Charlie & Josiah): where we will 3D map the marsh using the Phantom 3 drone, 2) biodiversity group (Cooper, Ian & Varun): empirically measuring plant and animal abundances and sediment chemistry to look at intertidal zonation and ground truth the drone data, and 3) mud group (Tristan & Ashwin): looking at competition and disturbance of animals in the soft sediment.
We also returned briefly to the marsh today to get some preliminary drone measurements, attached are a few images of the Pix4D output.  Pretty amazing stuff.  I’m hoping to get better resolution than this by flying the drone at a lower altitude.  Josiah, I will chat to you about this on Thursday and also show you a program called ArcGIS.
We also continued with our jellyfish polyp experiment.  All students took turns at counting the polyps and did a wonderful job. Attached is the latest data – some interesting trends are emerging and it looks like some of the cold polyps are starting to show signs of producing baby jellyfish (called ephyrae). This is the experiment that I would like to have the students present at the CERF scientific conference in Nov.  More on this soon but I would like Ashwin to lead this effort and be first author on the presentation.  He has been very keen on this effort from the start and thoroughly deserves it!
This Thursday after regular YSA we are hosting our Open House from 5.30-7pm.   I realize this is a school night but if any of the students can to present their work to the public that would be great.  Even if it is for a short time.  I will provide pizza and other delicious snacks 🙂  I will also allow some time for homework at YSA so that it is not too late a night for the students.  Please let me know if your student can help out at the Open House. It will be fun!
Coming up next in YSA:
– Now that we have our two main group projects in full swing, I would like to shift gears and have the students work on individual or small group projects.  I have mentioned a few ideas to the students already, but this is something we can start on Thursday.
– Computer server parts have been ordered and should arrive by Wednesday. We will start to assemble the computer on Thursday and will take lots of video and images.  Might even Facebook Live the construction!
– We are confirmed to present a display at the Fourth Friday on April 28 at Expo 216.  As we get closer to the date I will provide more information but this will be a great opportunity for our young scientists to present their research and hard work to the public.
– I will send out invoices later this week for YSA tuition. YSA now has a Square account so in addition to checks, tuition payments can be made with credit card.  Please let me know if you have any questions.
– In the coming weeks, I would like to start an online YSA newsletter (called the ‘Tentacle Times’) so that the students can share their science with everyone.  If there are any students that would be interested in helping me put this newsletter together or contribute pieces (e.g., Charlie’s 3D printing tip of the week??) please let me know.
Thanks again for all your support. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with your children, they are fun colleagues to work with!
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Best wishes
Dr. Rob
Rob Condon, PhD
Executive Director,
Young Scientist Academy