"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Science Projects

>> Friday, April 4, 2014

Since leaving Santo Domingo, the students have embarked upon individual scientific research projects.  Each student has come up with his or her own original scientific question, developed a hypothesis, and planned out a procedure to test this question.  The topics chosen are as diverse as our students themselves, and range from fuel efficiency of the ship’s generator, to the abundance of bioluminescent plankton in the waters around the ship.  But don’t take my word for it, I’ll let the students tell you all about it:

Herbert says:

For this project, I’m trying to see if nitrates in the water affect dissolved oxygen content in the water near major cities and rivers.  Nitrates are an important component of agricultural fertilizer, and thus are found in agricultural runoff and sewage.  Nitrates have been known to cause large algal blooms that deplete dissolved oxygen levels in certain areas of the ocean, killing large amounts of marine life.  This has become a major problem in places such as the mouth of the Mississippi river where agricultural runoff from the entire Mississippi watershed has created a large ‘dead zone’.  This project aims to examine whether or not this has become an issue near other large rivers or cities.

Sophie says:

I will be studying how the ocean breaks down plastic trash.  Understanding what happens to the huge amount of waste we produce is important and interesting.  As often as I can, I two a plankton net behind the Gamage to sample the water.  I look at the sample under our dissecting microscope and count and classify all the microplastics.  I’m also keeping a log of macroplastics spotted from the boat or caught in the tow.  I record our location, any major currents, and the nearest large human population.  Through this project I hope to better understand our waste’s effect on the ocean.


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