Reptilia is a class of vertebrate animals that lay their eggs on land. Examples include birds, lizards, snakes, and turtles. When trawling along the bottom of Mosquito Creek, students from Titusville Middle School found a diamondback terrapin, the only turtle species in North America that lives in brackish water. Students took turns holding and taking pictures with their new reptilian friend before releasing it back into the water.
Eubacteria is a domain that contains many varied types of single-celled organisms. Some produce their food through photosynthesis, some consume other organisms, and others are decomposers, which recycle nutrients in an ecosystem. Sam, one of CBFS’ educators, showed a bacterial colony to a group of eighth graders from Allen Middle School during their Maritime Forest trip, where students split up into groups and looked for other types of decomposers in the ecosystem.
The phylum Mollusca is comprised of soft-bodied invertebrates that excrete a hard shell from their mantle. In their live organism lab, students from Danville High School were surprised to find that squids are part of this phylum. One student said, “I had never seen one of those before. The texture of it and the squishiness of it was really odd to hold in real life.”
Informal Division: Angiosperm
Scientists are constantly discovering the way different organisms are related to each other. That means there can be some debate in terms of how to classify types of life. Angiosperms, or flowering plants, were once considered a phylum, but are now just a handy way to categorize plants with flowers. Salt Marsh Cordgrass, which can be found all over the area’s marshes, is a part of this informal classification. (Yes, cordgrass has flowers. They’re just very small!) Students from Green Acres School explored how the grasses turn into peat when they visited Chincoteague’s marsh ecosystem.