Hualalai Academy eighth-graders recently studied albatross bolus collected from Laysan albatross fledglings on Laysan Island in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
The students sorted the objects found in the indigestible mass that the young albatrosses regurgitate before their first flight. The bolus contain squid beaks and fish bones from the prey they were fed, but they also contain large quantities of indigestible material that their parents collected at sea. The nonprey items consist largely of plastic fragments, fishing net fragments, fishing line and various other objects classified as marine debris.
The students in the ecology class were studying methods of sampling — taking a small sample or snapshot of an ecosystem and then generalizing the information to talk about the larger ecosystem.
The seventh-grade zoology class was studying coral. Students made an edible coral reef with marshmallows as polyps, gummy spaghetti as tentacles, green sprinkles for zooxanthellae and white frosting as the calcium carbonate hard reef structure. The students then ate their reefs like a parrot fish.