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children interview for documentary
Students Hassan Osman (back left) and Takreem Virk (back right) film Dallas Organek interviewing Mike Vecchione to gain a deeper understanding of deep sealife. Photo by La'Shaun Willis, NOAA Fisheries Service

Local Students Conduct Interviews at NMFS’s National Systematics Laboratory for an Upcoming Documentary

When Mike Vecchione, director of the NOAA NMFS National Systematics Laboratory, received an email from Dallas Organek, a middle school student working on a science documentary for a class project, he was happy to help. He agreed to have an interview with the class team to discuss how deep sea creatures evolved. Dallas and his classmates Hassan Osman, Takreem Virk, and Daniel Aviles-Arce created a list of insightful questions and met up with Mike Vecchione and La’Shaun Willis, NSL museum specialist, on January 12, 2012.

students interview LaShaun Willis
La'Shaun Willis talks to the students about conducting research at sea for their science documentary. Photo by Mike Vecchione, NOAA Fisheries Service

This group of 5th grade gifted and talented students from the Fairfax County School District in northern Virginia came to the National Museum of Natural History and filmed these interviews to explore questions about the function and structures of float bladders of bathypelagic fish compared to pelagic and epipelagic speices, the differences in genetics between Artic organisms and bathypelagic populations, sleep cycles in the bathypelagic zone, and the differences in water salinity at different depths. This team of students is engaged in a year-long research project, and they are taping their own video documentary about how deep sea creatures evolved.

La’Shaun Willis offered interesting insights about what it’s like to go out to sea on a research cruise. She shared her experiences about life at sea and collecting data for research projects. Both the students and the NOAA scientists enjoyed the educational exchange.

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