Wetland Wonders at Ocean Commotion

Can you figure out the mystery coastal item based on the following clues? It contains a bivalve that a) makes pearls, b) is a filter feeder, and c) we eat here in Louisiana.

Over 1600 elementary and middle school students had the chance to read those clues at LSU Sea Grant’s Ocean Commotion on October 24 in Baton Rouge. Students, teachers, and chaperones then reached their hands into a box and tried to identify the item (oyster shell) they were holding. Other mystery items included a nutria pelt, cypress knees, an apple snail shell, and a magnolia seed pod- all from plants and animals that call Louisiana’s coastal wetlands home.

2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of Ocean Commotion, an annual event meant to give students the chance to get up close and personal with coastal and sea life and the challenges facing those environments. This year 70 exhibitors taught students about topics as diverse as boating safety, mosquito control, and microplastics. CWPPRA outreach staff talked with students about the diversity of species found in Louisiana’s wetlands and the challenges of invasive species, giving students an opportunity to think about how different species impact ecosystems in different ways.

 

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Threatened Species

Did you know:

There are about 17,000 known threatened species in the world.

Louisiana’s wetlands are a complex, fragile ecosystem of flora, fauna, and water. The swamps, marshes and bayous of Louisiana represent approximately 40% of all the wetlands in the United States. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, in addition to pollution and other anthropogenic activities threaten the health of Louisiana’s wetlands and its inhabitants. Some of the threatened species in Louisiana include Atlantic Sturgeon, Northern Long-Eared Bat, Piping Plover, Green Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Red Knot, Louisiana Pearlshell Mussel, Alabama Heelsplitter Mussel, Earth Fruit, Ringed Map Turtle, and Gopher Tortoise. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act has protected, created, or restored 95,806 aces, while also enhanced more than 351,676 acres. CWPPRA plans to continue working to help coastal wetlands and their inhabitants.

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