Jude Apple ~ Entrepreneurial Ecologist

COSEE Pacific Partnerships logo

Uncharted Waters

Dr. Jude Apple was first introduced to COSEE when he was in graduate school at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory, home of COSEE Coastal Trends. The general COSEE approach fit in very nicely with Jude's interest in education and outreach. After receiving his degree he continued on to an NRC postdoctoral fellowship at the US Naval Research Lab in Washington DC, then relocated to the West Coast and began a research appointment at Shannon Point Marine Center. When COSEE Pacific Partnerships began a search to fill a half-time position at Shannon Point, Jude jumped at the chance.

Through his COSEE Pacific Partnerships (COSEE-PP) position Jude engages in public education and outreach activities that are related to the responsibilities and objectives of COSEE-PP: promoting experiential and informal science education, engaging community college faculty and students, broadening the participation of underrepresented groups, and working with citizen scientists.

Informal Science

Jude trained as an instructor for Communicating Ocean Science to Informal Audiences (COSIA), a course developed through COSEE California. He has offered the COSIA course to graduate and undergraduate students at Western Washington University and it has been very successful, providing many of these young scientists with their first exposure to learning theory and research-based teaching pedagogy. The success of the COSIA experience is evidenced in quotes from participants, including "Before this course, I was not interested in informal science education. Now, I am looking into opportunities that allow me to use my new-found knowledge" and "Awesome class and life-changing experience." The COSIA approach has also been a valuable experience for Jude, for it has provided a framework for bringing together his training as a formal educator, commitment to hands-on, experiential learning, and experience facilitating in informal science education settings. "It’s changed the way I teach," says Jude. "As scientists we build careers on knowledge and the ability to give it to others. Teaching is not telling; it's facilitating." COSIA encourages scientists to appreciate the prior knowledge of a learner and provide an inquiry-based, student-led educational experience that "leads the learner down the garden path" to novel discoveries and understanding. This is essential for effective communication of science to non-scientists, and he will continue to offer the COSIA course at WWU.

Citizen Scientists
Another goal of COSEE-PP is engaging Citizen Scientists. Over the past year, a group of eight WSU Skagit County Beach Watchers have participated as citizen scientists on cruises investigating pelagic ecosystem function in the San Juan Island. These individuals – all avid birdwatchers – have conducted the marine mammal and bird surveys during transects through the islands. The participants have been super enthusiastic, braving freezing February weather and adverse sampling conditions, and also made an extremely valuable contribution the the development of a year-round dataset.
Jude has also led the development of a mobile touch tank and made it available to numerous public venues, which serves as the primary platform for COSIA students to develop activities for engaging with public audiences. Through professional development efforts for others, Jude has given workshops to Informal Science Education practitioners (e.g. aquarium educators, state park interpretive staff, Beach Watcher volunteers), offering COSIA sessions on how to engage public audiences more effectively and on the process of science and how to teach it.

Community Colleges

COSEE-PP has developed programs for both faculty and students at community colleges. Faculty are offered a week-long teaching institute, featuring interaction with scientists such as Jude, with each scientist offering lecture materials in cutting-edge science, as well as a related interactive hands-on learning activity. Faculty leave having developed action plans to implement the new content and activities in their classrooms. "We work to translate new knowledge into something practical," says Jude. This year there have also been community college faculty working at Shannon Point who are shadowing Jude, using the COSEE PRIME and REU programs as models for engaging students in mentored research experiences.

Promoting Research Investigations in Marine Ecosystems (PRIME) is a very successful COSEE-PP program that offers community college students summer internships at marine labs. There they are mentored by a faculty researcher, with whom they develop independent research projects. PRIME is aimed at a previously overlooked population – community college students, for whom there was no way to move into marine sciences in 4-year institutions – until PRIME. "It gives them one foot up into the 4-year experience," says Jude, "successfully introducing them to hands-on research." There are PRIME students placed at Shannon Point, OIMB and Hatfield Marine Labs. As a faculty research mentor, Jude works with PRIME students to develop independent research projects, which have included work on his study of hypoxia in Bellingham Bay and oceanographic cruises on the UW R/V Centennial. Jude has also mentored a PRIME student from Northwest Indian College (NWIC) student on a project investigating oxygen dynamics in restored salmon habitats, building on an ongoing role as research mentor at NWIC.

Marine Labs

One central and unique feature of COSEE-PP is its focus on marine labs. "Marine labs provide a great opportunity for bringing in students and doing hypothesis-driven research that you can't do in a departmental lab," says Jude. "Our field site is just outside the front door – go 20 feet and you're doing research." Marine labs convey something of a "frontier, summer camp feeling" adds Jude – their locations may be isolated but students know they are there to be immersed in marine science. This multi-site approach also gives COSEE-PP the ability to launch a program at one lab and then expand to others. There are five marine labs involved with COSEE-PP – Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Shannon Point Marine Center, Kewalo Marine Lab in Hawaii, and Humboldt State University Marine Lab.

Sara Deland
PRIME: Promoting Research Investigations in Marine Environment
How the PRIME program answers the specific needs of community college students
Jude Apple
Community College Faculty Workshops
Interactive content helps engage community college faculty with researchers