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Suggested Research Vessel Trips for Middle School Students

Most boat programs come with access to optional data analysis labs.  These can be taught by Project O staff after your trip, or we will provide curricular materials for you to teach them back in your classroom.  We also suggest additional programs that would be complementary, if you are interested in making a full day of it at our facility.
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NEW - Oyster Expedition (2.5 hours or 5 hours; seasonal)
Students will learn about oyster biology, oyster aquaculture, and the important role that oysters play in estuarine ecosystems like Long Island Sound in this special offering, made in collaboration with Mystic Oysters (Noank).  We’ll haul an oyster cage and record size and biofouling data, adding to a long-term growth dataset as we travel by sea over toMystic Oysters in Noank.  Students will tour this working oyster farm, and even have the opportunity to help out!  Hands-on activities will vary depending on what is happening at the farm that day, but could include oyster feeding and fertilization,prepping brood stock, or even fixing oyster cages.  We’ll also dissect an oyster to examine anatomy and feeding processes. Suggested lab: Plankton, Water Filtration, All Caught Up, Lobsters/Climate Change
Introduction to Oceanography (2.5 hours)
One of our most popular and versatile offerings! Students will literally and figuratively get their hands wet as they investigate the living and non-living components of Long Island Sound, while participating our flagship environmental monitoring program aboard the R/V Envirolab.  Your students will study living organisms in the stern of the boat by hauling a trawl net, doing a plankton tow, pulling a lobster pot, and (on some trips) sorting through a mud grab. In the bow of the boat, they’ll learn how to use a wide range of oceanographic equipment as they investigate physical and chemical aspects of the estuary, including temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and CO2.  Suggested lab: almost any
Sewage Plant Study (2.5 hours)
Students will explore human impacts on marine habitats using water chemistry.  Sample nutrient levels and test for fecal coliform bacteria near a sewage treatment plant. We’ll also measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and CO2, and compare with a location farther out in the sound.  Typically taught with a strong focus on water chemistry.
Suggested lab: Water Filtration
Seal Population Study (2.5 hours; seasonal)
Project Oceanology has been monitoring the seal population in Fishers Island Sound for over 15 years. Participants will census seals at several locations in Eastern Long Island Sound, and also collect data on seal activity levels. Discussion and analysis will focus on seal population distribution and trends in Long Island Sound, and on the behavioral ecology of seals. Suggested labs: Seal Thermoregulation, Pinniped Power
Gull Rookery Study (2.5 hours; seasonal)
Project Oceanology has been monitoring the nesting activity of gulls and other seabirds in Fishers Island Sound for more than 30 years. Participants will work in small teams to count nests, eggs, and chicks on a gull rookery. Discussion and analysis will focus on gull population trends, seabird conservation biology, and the ecological role of seabirds in Long Island Sound. Suggested shore: Marine Debris Shore Program

Other Middle School Programs

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