On November 19, 2016
SURPAS Teaching & Outreach committee with members Lorraine Ling, Saumyaa Saumyaa, Reza Taghavi , Fatima Pardo Avila , and Lisl Esherick volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for BiteLife Night.
Dr. Ling, from Department of Genetics, created a demo that explored coral reef physiology and coral bleaching. Corals have stinging tentacles to capture prey but that's not their main source of food/ energy. Corals get up to 90% of their energy from small dinoflagellate algae. The algae take energy from sunlight to perform photosynthesis to make sugars. These sugars are then transferred to the host coral.
The demo crew led an activity in which museum visitors played a game to choose among closed containers of various stuff and find the major energy source for reef building corals. Brine shrimp and dinoflagellate algae were viewed under a microscope. Lastly the demo crew emphasized how climate change connected with loss of symbiotic algae and led to coral bleaching.