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Hannibal Students Explore Scientific Method With Research Fishery Biologist

HANNIBAL – After studying the scientific method in class, Hannibal sixth graders had a chance to see it in practice during a presentation by a local fish expert.

Hannibal sixth grader Owen Skiff learns about the research techniques used by Maureen Walsh, a research fishery biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, who studies the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Hannibal sixth grader Owen Skiff learns about the research techniques used by Maureen Walsh, a research fishery biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, who studies the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Maureen Walsh, a research fishery biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, engaged the students with stories about invasive species, big fish and the Great Lakes ecosystem. She explained how she and her colleagues use the scientific method to study issues like fish depletion in Lake Ontario.

“Part of my job is to work to maintain a proper balance between predator and prey fish,” Walsh said. “The lake ecosystem is always changing, but fish depletion is not significant in the Great Lakes. We currently don’t have overfishing. Fisheries restock and remove different fish species as needed. There is a good balance right now.”

In addition to learning about the scientific method and how it applies to the ecosystem, the students also learned about the equipment and research vessels required for the job.

According to DMK teacher Shannon Rupert, the presentation was a great way to culminate the classroom lessons.

“It connected the scientific method to fish, which our students are reading about in ELA,” she said.