A Helping Hand for the Marine Environment

A Helping Hand for the Marine Environment

A biology class unlike any other for STX students at Grenaa Gymnasium

Biologi B-elever på Kattegatcentret

On Monday, April 14, a group of STX students from Grenaa Gymnasium had a biology lesson beyond the ordinary. It took place partly underwater in the Kattegat Center’s oceanarium. The purpose was to prepare the students for a seaweed planting project in a few weeks at selected locations: Randers Fjord, Gjerrild/Bønnerup Strand and Knebel Vig.

Kattegatcentret, Grenaa Gymnasium and Viden Djurs are collaborating on a project that aims to both disseminate knowledge about the marine environment and test which areas are suitable for planting seaweed. Seaweed has a beneficial effect on the marine environment, and the project is just one of several seaweed projects around the country.

Sofie Weisbjerg Löfquist and Cecilie Just Mortensen, who are in 2nd and 3rd grade respectively, were among the students who had said yes to stepping out of their comfort zone by putting on diving equipment and jumping into the oceanarium.

“It was awsome,” says Cecilie. “A lot of fish came to us, even small sharks.”
“Yes, and the big beluga sturgeons,” adds Sofie.
“It was definitely a heavy suit and it was a very different feeling to get oxygen that way in the beginning, but you get used to it,” says Cecilie. “We also had a good briefing beforehand.”

The two students explain that before the dive they were in the Kattegat Center’s school laboratory, where they learned about the state of the sea and saw the exhibition “Dødvande” (Dead Water), which is about how seaweed absorbs nutrients from the water. In this way, seaweed can help to reduce the oxygen depletion that has become a major problem in many places in recent years, as it causes plants and animals to disappear.

Cecilie and Sofie say they didn’t know things were so bad with the marine environment. “So it’s nice to experience that you can do something yourself,” says Sofie.

Kasper Severinsen, a biology teacher at Grenaa Gymnasium, says that the local project is three years long and has received funding from NRGI, among others. “In practice, the Kattegat Center has carried out a number of preliminary studies, and the high school students will then plant seaweed plants according to specific guidelines. Next year, we will keep a close eye on how the planted seaweed is doing before we embark on planting new areas.” He goes on to say that the project on Djursland is just one of many across the country.

When the seaweed is planted out by Sofie and Cecilie, among others, one day in May, it will be with their heads above water. “The water will come up to our navels, so we can get by with just wetsuits. That’s why we were at the Kattegat Center today: to get used to the wetsuits.”

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