Molluscan Ecology Program
 
 
 
 

VORTEX: Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience

 

What is VORTEX?

Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience or VORTEX is a multi-component training program focusing on the importance of oyster reef communities in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem designed specifically for science educators by the Virginia Insitute of Marine Science. Oyster reef communities are significant biological and ecological features in the tidal portion of Chesapeake Bay. Due to their historical prominence, oyster reef communities are an ideal model to integrate biological issues with water quality (chemistry), physical oceanography, economics, and regional history. The program includes a series of Mini-Workshops, Summer Workshops, and curriculum materials including a multimedia CD ROM, instructional publications, and numerous Internet web sites. All program components are designed to provide a basic biological and ecological background such that participants can integrate program cuuriculum materials into hands-on science and math lessons.

Overview of VORTEX Workshops

The VORTEX program has developed two summer workshops for oyster biology: Oyster 101 and Oyster 201. Both Oyster 101 and Oyster 201 are indoor-outdoor workshops designed specifically for Virginia science educators. Educators have the opportunity to participate in field and laboratory investigations, get updates on current oyster reef research and take home teaching resources for science classrooms while meeting teaching colleagues and scientists.

The VORTEX program presented a workshop focused on the veined rapa whelk June 28-29, 2005: The Science of Biological Invasions: Profile of the invasive veined rapa whelk. This workshop for secondary level science educators is designed to give educators an opportunity to experience current, topical science that is especially relevant to Chesapeake Bay. Participants will:

Program Partners and Co-sponsors

Program partners and co-sponsors to date include: the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Department of Fisheries Science, the Virginia Sea Grant Program, the Virginia Environmental Endowment, and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee.

Schedule of Upcoming VORTEX Activities

There are no currently scheduled VORTEX workshops. Several one day workshops will be presented during Fall 2005 in conjunction with professional meetings. Details for these workshops will be posted on this web site when they become available.

VORTEX Instructional Materials and Educational Publications

Rapa River Watch Activity Booklet for Educators. by Juliana M. Harding and Vicki Clark (2006). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062. VSG-05-09. VIMS-ES-58. 12/2005. This booklet provides data based exercises that integrate biological and environmental data to assess hypothetical estuarine habitats with regard to invasion potential by rapa whelks. This booklet is available from the Rapa Resources web site.

The Shell Detective. by Juliana M. Harding and Vicki Clark (2006). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062. VSG-05-11, VIMS-ES-59. 12/2005. The hands on exercises in this booklet encourage students to quantitatively compare the morphology of rapa whelks with native knobbed and channelled whelks and apply these observations to biological and mathematical concepts. This booklet is available from the Rapa Resources web site.

Veined Rapa Whelks: Aliens in the Chesapeake [CD-ROM] by Juliana Harding, Roger Mann, and Vicki Clark (2003). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062. VSG-03-14. VIMS Educational Series Publication Number 56. Veined Rapa Whelks: Aliens in the Chesapeake is a multimedia CD-ROM designed to provide information on the biology, ecology, habitat requirements, and distinguishing features of rapa whelks in relation to native Chesapeake Bay gastropods. This CD is designed as a resource for scientists, educators, and interested members of the general public in the Chesapeake Bay region as well as other habitats along the US Atlantic coast that are at risk for an invasion by this large predatory gastropod. View Rapa CD overview.

Predators in Action: Rapa Whelks vs. Hard Clams by Juliana Harding, Vicki Clark, and Roger Mann (2003). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-03-01, VIMS-ES-55. This booklet gives information and data-based exercises describing ecological and economic connections between introduced rapa whelk Rapana venosa predators and local hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The information is focused to answer the question: "How many hard clams could a rapa whelk eat in one year?" For more information on the VORTEX WAVE series and this particular publication, visit the VORTEX WAVE home page.

Rundown on the Rapa by Juliana Harding, Vicki Clark, and Roger Mann (2002). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-02-19, VIMS-ES-51. Rundown on the Rapa, a VORTEX publication written for the general public, explains what rapa whelks are, where they came from, and why they are of concern in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The booklet describes ways to identify rapa whelks in relation to local whelks, compares rapa whelk egg masses with those laid by local whelks, and examines life history traits of the rapa whelk that make it a successful invader. The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Rundown on the Rapa Activity Booklet for Educators by Juliana Harding, Vicki Clark, and Roger Mann (2002). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-02-20, VIMS-ES-52. This booklet provides hands-on classroom activities that can be used to reinforce concepts discussed in Rundown on the Rapa. All booklet activities are tied to middle and high school national science education standards as well as to specific Virginia Math, Life Science, and Biology SOL. The activities encourage problem solving and critical thinking skills.The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Shellfish Stalkers: Threats to an Oyster by Juliana Harding, Vicki Clark, and Roger Mann (2002). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-02-21, VIMS-ES-53. Shellfish Stalkers: Threats to an Oyster is a VORTEX publication written for the general public that describes some of the sources of mortality for Chesapeake Bay oysters. Common oyster predators, diseases, and habitat requirements are described with specific attention given to Virginia estuaries. The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Shellfish Stalkers: Threats to an Oyster Activity Booklet for Educators by Juliana Harding, Vicki Clark, and Roger Mann (2002). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-02-22, VIMS-ES-54. This booklet provides hands-on classroom activities that can be used to reinforce concepts presented in Shellfish Stalkers: Threats to an Oyster. The activities encourage problem solving and critical thinking skills.The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay: A Brief Primer by Juliana Harding, Roger Mann, and Vicki Clark (1999). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-99-05, VIMS-ES-44. This 10 page booklet describes oyster and oyster reef communities in the Chesapeake Bay in the context of the historic Chesapeake oyster fishery, the ecological connections between oyster reefs and numerous fish species (striped bass, bluefish and others) as well as blue crabs, and connections to water quality parameters including temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Shell Games by Juliana Harding, Roger Mann, and Vicki Clark (1999). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-99-13, VIMS-ES-47. Shell Games is a collection of three classroom activities using Chesapeake Bay bivalve shells to illustrate ecological and biological concepts through hands-on-activities. All activities are related to Virginia's Life Science SOL; some relate to the Mathematics SOL as well. The booklet is available from the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Office at VIMS for $1.00. To order a booklet, fill out the order form and send the completed form with $1 to: Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062. If you would like to order more than 10 copies of this booklet, contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu) for information on volume discounts for educators.

Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay [CD-ROM] by Juliana Harding, Roger Mann, and Vicki Clark (1999). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. VSG-99-06, VIMS-ES-45. This multimedia CD ROM describes oyster reefs, reef communities, and their roles in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Detailed descriptions of scientific research methods and techniques used to monitor and describe oyster reef communities as well as application of the resulting data are provided. The CD is written for science educators (grades 7-12) and members of the general public interested in oyster reefs and oyster reef restoration efforts.

Contact Information for the VORTEX Program

For more information about VORTEX materials, workshops or programs, please contact Vicki Clark (vclark@vims.edu).

 
 
 
 
Document last modified 12.23.2010
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