Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, Watching BOB Float Away

This activity provides a citizens science approach for instituting a long-term water quality monitoring program using BOB or e-BOB. Basic Observation Buoys (BOB) provide a cost-effective means for students to design, construct, and deploy a moored or drifting data collection system that can be used to monitor four water quality parameters: Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Conductivity, and Temperature. Google Earth is used to assist students in identifying a location to moor BOB to insure accurate monitoring of the selected region while minimizing the influence from adjacent residential and agricultural zones. Students will analyze the data collected by BOB over a 3 – 5 year period to assess the impact of residential development to the estuarine system. This activity is part of a Hydrosphere unit that includes an exploration of local river basins and the surrounding assets and threats to the water quality of the basin. This activity incorporates STEM components via student construction and maintenance of BOB, the utilization of scientific method skills (including hands-on data collection and scientific analysis), and analytical comparisons between the BOB data (collected by the students) with the NERRS moored water quality monitoring data site located nearby.

(The project outlined in this lesson was implemented to assess the impact of residential development on the surrounding estuarine environment and ecosystem known as Davis Bay. Davis Bay is located in Beaufort, North Carolina and is adjacent to the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve. The National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) governs and monitors the Reserve.)

Authors: Miriam Sutton; EARTH 2012

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