Marine Ecology For The Wet & Wild

January 15, 2007

The class teaches divers about northwest marine life

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering a rare opportunity for intermediate SCUBA divers. “Marine Ecology for the Wet and Wild,” is an extraordinary experience for divers who will go into the waters of the Aquarium’s “Passages of the Deep” exhibit, home to hundreds of marine animals. The class is from 8:00am to 5:00pm Saturday, February 10th, and includes a review of the 13 major groups of invertebrates inhabiting Northwest waters.

Vallorie Hodges, Dive Safety Officer at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, described what students in the class will experience, “We’ll be right up close to many common – and some uncommon Pacific Northwest fishes and invertebrates. This is an ideal place for divers to learn about marine life because you would have to log many hours diving in the open water of the Oregon Coast to find and identify the marine life you will see in one dive at the Aquarium.”

In this setting at the Aquarium, divers learn in more focused manner. “You see the animals through the acrylic, learn about them in a classroom and then dive into Passages of the Deep at the Aquarium.” Hodges says, “You really get to see them up close and walk away with a solid knowledge of what you see in Pacific Northwest waters.”

The class is led by Zoologist Richard Yost and Janna Nichols, a REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) instructor. Hodges says the popular class is fun, too. “Richard and Janna have a great chemistry and they play off each other.” She says, “Richard’s humor and Janna’s diving expertise make it as fun as it is informative.” Yost uses photos and video clips to highlight the characteristics of the animals and where to find them as well as habitat, behavior and interrelationships. Nichols will focus on fish identification and show the class how to do a REEF fish survey.

“This is a prime northwest diving experience… seated entry with a tender to help gear up, no currents and crystal clear water. And we guarantee you will see lots of animals,” said Hodges. The class is Saturday, February 10th from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and is limited to six participants. To register call Vallorie at 541-867-3474, Ext. 5302. Registration fee is $140.00 per person.

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