For one week in the middle of May the Aldebaran set course around the lake on behalf of Salem students in Years 5, 6, 10, 10PLUS, as well as 11 and 12 (Abitur & IB), broadcasting their onboard activities to each group of students. The online broadcasting went out to the younger students while they were homeschooling and live into the classrooms at Salem College, because Years 11 and 12 had already returned to campus. The ocean biologist Valeska Diemel gave us vibrant and inspiring insights into her research methods, demonstrated a multitude of experiments and responded individually to the many questions the students put to her. Employing Secchi discs, water samplers, plankton nets, underwater drones and microscope cameras it was possible to vividly demonstrate experimental methods, explain interrelationships, and explore topics such as biodiversity, nutrient cycles and abiotic factors. Many students were especially focussed on questions about the environmental impact humans have on the lake’s ecosystem in connection with nitrates and phosphates, plastic waste products and invasive species, as well was human-induced climate change. Students also gained insights into the practical matters biologists have to deal with on board and into the research questions which scientists are currently pursuing.
For everyone involved these were exciting and highly diversified hours on the lake, letting the anticipation of future projects with the Aldebaran grow even greater.