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Zoology considers the Albatross

Zoology students have been studying albatross, including their wingspan (the largest of any bird), their life cycle, adaptations to their environment, and their food web.

They also also learned how to plot actual data from satellite tags on birds to determine how far they traveled, where they went, and based on their life cycle made hypotheses about why they may have traveled where they did. For instance, if they stayed close to the Hawaiian Islands, they were likely feeding a chick, where as if they went to California or Japan, they were likely looking for food for themselves.

More recently, Zoology students studied bathymetry and some features found under the ocean surface, and are now going to compare the locations of these birds and the topology of the ocean floor to see if they tend to hang out in areas that are deep or shallow and connect this to their feeding habits.

As part of this project, Zoology students took over the FabLab to make life-size models of the albatross to demonstrate the huge wingspan that averages around 11 feet that allows these birds to travel thousands of miles at up to 80 mph, as well as the ability to live at sea, never touching ground, for years at a time!

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