Holy Cow! Animal Reproduction and Aquaculture

By: Charlotte Peterkin, Cassy Schooling, Kathleen Love, and Karen Deng

This past week, we had the privilege of selecting an elective course within the governor’s school curriculum. We chose to participate in the animal reproduction course offered. In this course, we learned about all aspects of animal reproduction systems and the various cycles and hormones associated with ovulation, pregnancy, and estrous (the reproductive cycle of a female mammal). The accumulation of this course was the dissection of impregnated bovine reproductive tracts.

Repro.1We were given a tray, a razor, and the placenta of the cow. What happened next? We made precise cuts on the outer placenta and out spilled the amniotic fluid! After draining the fluid from the placenta, we located the fetus with its umbilical cord attached, nestled in the amniotic sac with caruncles surrounding it. We had an udderly good time!

Picture taken by Charlotte Peterkin

Having the opportunity to see later term fetuses was a unique opportunity that most people do not ever get the chance to have. Many people understand the theory behind reproduction and pregnancy, but you get a whole new perspective when you get to see all the parts and mechanizations for yourself!

Other students had the opportunity to participate in other elective courses, one of which explored the aquaculture and seafood industry. In this three day course, the students Repro.2listened to lectures describing the seafood industry, the anatomy of fish, and the science of raising healthy fish intended for eventual human consumption. The students each dissected a full trout in order to learn about the different organs such as the stomach, pyloric caeca, liver, and swim bladder. On the final day, they cooked mussels and shrimp as an exercise to learn about proper handling of seafood to prevent foodborne illness. Unfortunately, so many of the mussels were dead prior to cooking that they were deemed too risky to eat for fear of contracting foodborne illness. However, the students still enjoyed cooking both foods and enjoyed a delicious meal of steamed shrimp flavored with garlic, parsley, cajun seasoning and chesapeake bay seasoning. The food was shrimp-ly marvelous!

Picture taken Marissa Yee

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