Stability of Sea Urchin Dominated Barren Grounds Following Destructive Grazing of Kelp in St. Margaret’s Bay, Eastern Canada

Laugan Miller

Jim Spickard

Research Methods



Stability of Sea Urchin Dominated Barren Grounds Following Destructive Grazing of Kelp in St. Margaret’s Bay, Eastern Canada


The regrowth of kelp forest was observed in St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia Canada. This area had had no macroalgae for several years but was starting to see some regrowth. Within 10 months sea urchins had wiped out the regenerating kelp forests. There was also experimental kelp that was destroyed as well. This report says that in an area, even at the lowest biomass of sea urchins, regeneration of kelp forests seems unlikely. There were two questions looked at in this research. The first question was would the newly regenerating sporophytes become reproductive and re-establish mature forest? The second question was regeneration occurring on a wide scale in St. Margarete’s Bay? The research showed that no new kelp was able to grow because it was all consumed by sea urchins. While I want to look at how predators can affect sea urchin levels resulting in less kelp deforestation I think it is also important to look at if its possible for kelp forests to regrow with any sea urchins around. This research showed that even if there is some regrowth of kelp forests sea urchins are able to wipe them out before they grow big enough. This made me interested in a follow up question to my research question of how long it would take kelp to grow big enough that sea urchin levels wouldn’t have as big of an effect. With this, how hard would it be for humans to manage this.


Chapman, A. R. O. “Stability of Sea Urchin Dominated Barren Grounds Following Destructive Grazing of Kelp in St. Margaret’s Bay, Eastern Canada.” SpringerLink, Springer-Verlag,


Research example #6

Blowe, E., & Price, T. (n.d.). Career and Technical Education: Academic Achievement and                     Graduation Rates of Students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. SAGE Open, 2(3),                     1–8. Retrieved from

In this article by Eleanor Blowe, a current high school administrator, and Ted Price, a doctorate professor in Virginia Tech’s Education Department, they address the ever-growing pressures that are being placed on our students today. The study was promoted by their interest in the government’s restrictions on education and how they are causing CTE courses to diminish. To get a better understanding of why this new legislation should be changed they looked into student achievement and graduation rates for CTE and NON-CTE students in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The student achievement was based on their scores from the English reading and mathematics assessments that are outlined by Virginias standard of learning(SOL). Using data from 2008, 2009 and 2010 that were collected from the 131 school divisions in the area they were able to conclude that students enrolled in CTE programs or courses “demonstrate higher mathematics, reading and graduation pass rate”( Blowe, 2012.7). This article is well written, very informative and easy to read; anyone who is looking for more information about the benefits of CTE can understand the text. However, when discussing this article, the reader must understand that there these statements are based solely on the data from schools in Virginia and should not be applied to all students in the US. Blowe and Price’s developments provide me with concrete data that shows a CTE program in the United States that promotes academic success along with career skills.

A Grand Canyon in Funding–The Dollar Gap in Education

Ivy Morgan and Amy Amerikaner from the Education Trust  conducted an analysis of school funding equity across the United States. and within states. What they found was shocking for the largest economy in the world!

They have found that an $1,800 gap per student exists among school districts that service a larger population of minority populations. This is equivalent to a 13% drop in funding. While on its face 13% does not seem statistically significant, Morgan and Amerikaner explain that a sample of 5,000 students with an $1,800 gap per student equates to $9 million in lost revenue per year. This significantly impacts school district operations and  promotes further barriers to education resources.

While funding gaps promote  education inequality nationwide, not all states follow the same patterns. Morgan and Amerikaner also conducted an analysis of state by state funding for disadvantaged populations and found that some states have carefully avoided falling into this trend. Nebraska significantly contributes to the funding gap for students of color, with a nearly 24% difference in funding. 14 states across the nation display similar funding patterns that promote educational inequality among populations of color.

In contrast, Utah spends 21% more per student funding in their highest poverty districts. 14 other states follow similar funding patterns to address the needs of their highest poverty districts. It is important to note however, that Utah does not receive federal funding due to their failure to follow federal mandates. This is significant not only in the fact that Utah instead diverts local revenue towards their low-income districts, but also because federal mandates have historically contributed to educational inequality.

What is disturbing about this report, which was published in 2018, is that it correlates to an earlier report written by Linda Darling Hammond at the Brookings Institute from the late 90’s that identified educational disparity among populations of color. The fact that this funding gap has only broadened is deeply disconcerting, and emphasizes that policy-makers must proactively address funding gaps in disadvantaged populations.



The Dream of W.E.B. Dubois–Has it been realized?

W.E.B. Dubois was a prolific figure in addressing racial education inequality. Since the end of segregation, racial inequality in education should no longer exist. However, Linda Darling Hammond argues that educational inequality continues to be pervasive in education.

Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education written in 1998, emphasizes that lower achievement levels among minority student populations indicates that racial inequality has created significant gaps in student success. Hammond articulates that racial inequality is pervasive in unequal access to key educational resources, skilled teachers, and quality curriculum.

It is important to remove the fallacy that children fail as a result of a lack of interest by the student, and instead place a lack of funding as the underlying cause of this student failure. This is evidenced through the largest funding gaps being present in industrial states as opposed to rural states. Student success is more prolific in large industrial states where funding is centralized to metropolitan centers, and decentralized in historically disadvantaged communities.

This study accounts for rural student success; even urban schools which have a high percentage of low-income and minority students have lower elvels of student success and typically lower funding revenues to access key educational resources, and that minority students are less likely to have access to these resources.

In conclusion, more funding needs to be allocated to historically disadvantaged communities in order to address racial inequality in education. Increasing per student spending on a nation-wide scale will address the achievement gap that remains pervasive among disadvantaged communities and promote a culture of success.

Addressing Socioeconomic Status as a Barrier to an Equitable Education

A common fallacy which is perpetuated in Dominant American Culture is that due to a free public school system, all students have access to an equitable education. However, absolute mobility–the fraction of children who earn more than their parents–has sharply declined. Statistics from the 1940s indicate that absolute mobility was recorded at nearly 90%, compared to 50% in the 1980s.

Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss from the Economic Policy Institute have expanded on this phenomenon in their paper “Education Inequalities at the School Starting Gate” which was written September 27, 2017.

Employing data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on kindergarten classes from 1989-1999 and 2010-2011, which measured gaps in skills by social class. These gaps existed in both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and was measured against 12 case studies of communities that created comprehensive educational strategies for low-income children.

Utilizing socioeconomic status (SES) as a metric in their study, they found that paternal activities, parental expectations, and pre-K participation reduced the gaps between high-SES and low-SES students, but do not necessarily eliminate them. This indicated that family characteristics and investments, while contributing to student success and the SES gap, do not definitively explain why the gap continues to grow. Garcia and Weiss also state, that while parental participation in pre-K programs and time spent with younger students “cushioned” negative effects resulting from low-SES, they did not compensate for achievement gaps completely.

Garcia and Weiss conclude that policy-makers have neglected to address inequality in education, and that greater investments in early childhood development and education with comprehensive support for children throughout their academic careers would significantly address achievement gaps for disadvantaged children.

This study ardently supports early childhood education and engagement. Public consciousness of educational inequality has increased in recent years, and is evidenced through initiatives for universal pre-school, Governor Newsom’s endorsement of the First Five Program, and the shift from No Child Left Behind to Common Core. However, while these initiatives place an emphasis on early childhood education as a mechanism to critically advance education gaps from an international perspective, this paper specifically emphasized the importance of early childhood education for disadvantaged communities in addressing SES gaps.


Killer Whale Predation on Sea Otters Linking Oceanic and Nearshore Ecosystems

Laugan Miller

Jim Spickard

Research Methods



Killer Whale Predation on Sea Otters Linking Oceanic and Nearshore Ecosystems


This research looks at the relationship between sea urchins, sea otters, and killer whales in Alaska. This was important to look at because recently sea otters have been declining in Alaska. The birth rates of sea otter’s in these locations is equal to that of sea otters found in stable environments. This means there must be increased mortality rates to justify the declining populations of sea otters. Researchers ruled out migration because there were no new sea otter populations and ruled out disease because this would have been seen by dead carcasses washing up on the beach. The research looked at three key points of evidence leading to their results which was that the decline in sea otter populations was due to increased predation on sea otters. Calculations showed that this otter decline could have been due to just 3.7 whales. The most likely shift of killer whales preying on sea otters is due to the killer whales losing a prey item. Some prey items of killer whales include stellar sea lions and harbor seals and these species have both had a decline in populations since the 1970s. The relationship between sea otter populations and the collapse of kelp are most likely caused by the offshore oceanic realm. This changed the system from a three level trophic system to a four level trophic system which means sea otters were no longer the top predator. This freed sea urchin populations to expand. This article was helpful to my research because I know that I not only have to look at possible predators of sea urchins but their possible predators and what would cause them to shift to eating sea urchins.


Estes, J. A., et al. “Killer Whale Predation on Sea Otters Linking Oceanic and Nearshore Ecosystems.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 16 Oct. 1998,

Research Example #6

Cannon, Terry (2008) : Reducing people’s vulnerability to natural hazards communities and resilience, WIDER Research Paper, No. 2008/34, The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki.

This research paper from 2008 explores the concepts of vulnerability, community, and resilience in the context of natural hazards and disasters. The importance of these concepts are discussed individually as well as when they are combined. This paper seeks to get to the root of each concept as a way to better understand and prepare for processes of natural disaster. The author, Terry Cannon, points to the ways such concepts are misunderstood and the necessity for understanding the underlying contributing factors to what has been generalized as “vulnerability”. Cannon’s research has a preliminary focus on community capacity, capability, and vulnerability prior to disasters in order to better understand how to strategize during and after natural disasters. Cannon states, “There is the danger that outsiders, impressed by the mere fact of survival, romanticize the virtues of resilience. The task surely is not to marvel at this, but to create the conditions that make coping unnecessary and resilience much more than a return to vulnerability.” (1) Cannon’s research faces concepts of exploitation by addressing all factors, not just those that are visible within afflicted communities. This is helpful in my research design as the majority of the research revolves around the exploitation of vulnerable communities. In reading this research, my question still stands, but from looking at the research through what Cannon calls a framework of capacity and vulnerability analysis, I can avoid misconceptions and generalizations about the communities in which my topic is centered.

Research Example 6

Literte, Patricia E. “Revising Race: How Biracial Students Are Changing and Challenging Student Services.” Journal of College Student Development, vol. 51, no. 2, 2010, pp. 115–134., doi:10.1353/csd.0.0122.

This research investigates the relationship between biracial college students and race-oriented student services (e.g., Office of Black Student Services). These services are organized around conventional understandings of race that assume there are five, discrete racial categories, namely, Black/African American, Latino/a, White, Asian American, and Native American. Drawing on interviews (n = 60) with students and administrators at two universities, this article examines the problems that arise when students’ racial identities are incongruent with universities’ views of race. This study can assist practitioners in the development of services on campuses that are characterized by increasingly fluid racial terrains in the post–Civil Rights era.

The article’s topic is how racial identity of college students affect student services on college campuses and how this may also affect the identity of the individual. As quoted from the article, “This study brings to light (a) students’ efforts to construct meaningful biracial identities within institutions of higher education that reify monoracialism and (b) universities’ negotiation of the complex terrain of race and ability to respond to the needs of rapidly changing student bodies”. The research question is how is an individual’s racial identity influential in student services, both shaping these services and shaping their identity?

For this research project, the author needs to collect shallow and deeply held opinions and attitudes, as well as reports of acts, behaviors, and events. The author used interviews to collect this data, as well as collecting archival documents and informal observation. The method of data analysis was categorical. The author used data coding and analysis, but mentions that codes codes were established after data was collected and preliminarily reviewed sentence by sentence.

I think this is an interesting source. I chose this article because I think it will be interesting to see how racial differences may affect our research project regarding how student services can be improved at University of Redlands. I think that in order to have more credibility, the author should have surveyed more individuals (or at least get a sample size from more than just two schools). But overall, an interesting topic and insight on how racial identity may affect the services offered on campus.

Research Example

Glick, Peter, and Susan Fiske. “The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating Hostile and Benevolent Sexism.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 9, no. 2 (2015). doi:10.1111/spc3.v9.2.

This journal article analyzes the nature of different types sexism in society. The authors, Peter Glick and Susan Fiske present a different point of view of sexism as we know. They differentiate hostile sexism such a catcalling from “benevolent” sexism, such as holding the door open for women but not for other men.  The harm in both of each type separate type of sexism is discussed, as this article goes into the potential consequences of such rigid gender roles. “Benevolent Sexism” may not be as straightforward or may have good intentions behind it, but this study found that even this kind of sexism can be harmful to women’s mental health and overall outlook. The subtle sexism that exists in many societies can still be detrimental to women’s success and confidence.  This study also found that men with negative attitudes and stereotypes towards women were usually less stable in their personal lives when it came to their careers and relationships. The author’s research is outlined and its very clear and concise so it is clear to the readers how they went about collecting their data. This article was interesting to me in particular because I would like to example gender differences and how individuals view their future in relation to their gender.

Research Example

Langen, Annemarie Van, Roel Bosker, and Hetty Dekkers. “Exploring Cross-national Differences in Gender Gaps in Education.” Educational Research and Evaluation 12, no. 2 (2006): 155-77. doi:10.1080/13803610600587016.

This article explores the major gender difference gaps in education internationally. It was no surprise to the author of the article, Annemaria Van Langen, that the biggest achievement gap among boys and girls in school was in subjects such as math, science, technology and engineering.  The study goes into what kinds of schools are more successful when it comes to narrowing the gap between boys and girl’s achievement in various areas.  It was found that schools that typically have girls participating in STEM subjects at a young age and are encouraged relative to how their male peers are usually want to pursue a career in STEM later on.  Schools that shown qualities and activities that put their students on the same level regardless of gender typically had more girls who had a greater intrest in these subjects. However, the variation in participation in STEM subjects between genders was still significant even in more progressive schools. Male students always had a higher level of engagement in these subjects across the board. This article goes into the possible reasons this may occur and analyses the potential reasons why this happens.