Tag Archives: hudson river estuary

New York Harbor School: College AND Career Ready!

Marine Biology Research scholars Nicolle and Tahirah
Marine Biology Research scholars Nicolle and Tahirah

Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Work-Based Learning at the New York Harbor School has just raised the bar! Marine Biology Research (MBRP) scholars Nicolle Martinez and Tahirah Abdo will be graduating with 8 SUNY Albany research college credits, a CTE technical endorsement in Natural Resources Management, first and second awards at the NYC Science and Engineering Fair,  and attend Ivy league and top colleges with full scholarships! This is testimony to both team work, as their projects were supported by the whole MBRP team, and their own personal leadership and ambition. In total, our MBRP senior scholars have received to-date over USD 500, 000 in scholarships, have participated in internships around the city, presented at regional and national conferences, and worked with leading marine scientists to complete their research – all while leading research efforts to find solutions for the restoration of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. Thank you to all our Professional Advisory Committee members, University & Industry Partners, the NY Harbor School Staff, the NY Harbor Foundation, and family members for all your support!

Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History
Finals Round at the American Museum of Natural History

New York Harbor School Science!

Nicolle presenting at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair this past Sunday, March 1st.
Nicolle presenting at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair this past Sunday, March 1st.

On Sunday March 1st, Nicolle Martinez and Tahirah Abdo, 12th grade Marine Biology Research scholars, competed in the premiere Regional Science Symposium – The New York City Science and Engineering Fair. After 2 years of determination, set backs, and perseverance, these two students represented the Harbor School among more than 450 of New York City’s budding scientists and engineers. Among the high schools in attendance were Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech., Townsend Harris, and other top STEM schools from around the City. Although only two students represented Harbor this year, most of the Marine Biology Research students complete a research project. Writing a college level research paper and presenting in front of an audience are prerequisites to obtain the program’s credential. If you’d like to view Nicolle and Tahirah’s research papers, please click here.  Next year we have contenders in topics such as: oyster genetics, sea squirt genetics, mycelium fungus buoys, and many, many more. A big thank you to all our Harbor staff, Professional Advisory Committee members, friends, and family for all your support. And congratulations MBRP!

For your calendars: On May 13th the New York Harbor School will be hosting it’s 4th annual Science Symposium!

Tahirah at Sheppard Hall, City College during NYCSEF
Tahirah at Sheppard Hall, City College during NYCSEF

MBRP – Genetics, Remote Sensing, and Mycofoam

Our 10th grade marine research scholar, Zain, extracting DNA from a tissue sample of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica.
Our 10th grade marine research scholars Zain, Cézanne, Pierre, and Raphael extracted DNA from tissue samples of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica.

The Marine Biology Research Program has started 2014 with spunk. A select group of 10th grade marine research scholars are currently working on a project comparing the genetic differences between three eastern oyster groups – Muscungus Bay, Fishers Island, and wild type oysters from Soundview Park, Bronx. The importance of this project is to determine genetic similarities or differences caused by years of selective breeding. This project may also inform restoration efforts of the types of oysters that may best adapt to the Hudson River Estuary. Our 11th grade scholars are learning to configure and calibrate a professional water quality remote sensor to measure chlorophyll – an important environmental variable for oyster restoration. Lastly, a team of 10th and 11th grade scholars met last week with Ecovative scientist Sue Van Hook to brainstorm how to replace the use of Styrofoam with biodegradable foams made of fungus. Aside from these great projects, our young research scholars have been hard at work in our marine science lab to get the re-circulating systems up and running. We expect to have many exciting projects for this year’s Science Symposium in May. Thanks to Sam Janis from the Harbor Foundation, Pablo Garcia, long time field staff of the NY Harbor School, Pete Malinowski, NY Harbor School’s aquaculture teacher, and the Urban Barcode Project folks for their support.

Marine Biology Research 2013 Fall Semester in Review

...after a long day's fieldwork...
…after a long day’s fieldwork…

The 2013 Fall semester at the Marine Biology Research and Harbor SEALs Programs has been full of progress. Starting with the generous support of our scholars, we were able to move our lab to the Marine Science room in 3 days. On October 12 we set off to restore eel grass at Brooklyn Pier’s Park with our team leader, Nicolle. Continue reading Marine Biology Research 2013 Fall Semester in Review

Marine Biology Research – Geographic Information Systems

12 grader, Kendall, of the MBRP searches for optimal sites to install wind turbines in the US.
12 grader, Kendall, of the MBRP searches for optimal sites to install wind turbines in the US.

During their final year in the Marine Biology Research Program, 12th graders have the opportunity to learn Geographic Information Systems (GIS). With the support of industry professional, Jim Hall, and industry partner, ESRI, students are learning how to manage geographical data with the leading industry software, ArcGIS. Some of the applications learned thus far are locating optimal sites for renewable energies and using maps to find pollution sources. GIS is a powerful tool employed by all professions, especially Marine Biology. Whenever there is a “where” question, GIS is involved in the solution. Our next exciting activity will be geocaching. Geocaching is a hobby whereby Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are used to locate hidden objects around the world. Marine scholars will be searching for hidden objects around Governors Island. At the end of the school year, students will be eligible to take the SPACE GIS practical assessment developed by Digital Quest, another industry leader in GIS. This assessment will grant students certification in GIS. For more images and lesson resources click here.

12th grader, Makayla, using a map she assembled to find pollution sources dumping in a river.
12th grader, Makayla, uses a map she assembled to find pollution sources in a river.

Marine Research Class of ’14 Highlight

Marine Research students monitor water quality indicators in the HRE weekly
Marine Research students monitor water quality indicators in the HRE weekly

Intermediate Marine Biology Research (MBRP) students monitor the Upper Hudson River Estuary (HRE) on Governors Island. With water quality gear in hand the students set out to monitor the waters on a weekly basis to determine the state of health of the HRE in the heart of NYC. The students replicate their sampling and collect their data on data sheets. They then process the information in the lab and work towards completing a college level research paper which they will submit at the end of the year to the NYC Science and Engineering fair in order to compete for scholarships and prizes. Some of the projects involve monitoring physical-chemical water parameters, zooplankton, and fish. This kind of experiential learning helps them to develop critical thinking skills and prepares them for college and industry while keeping it real. For more images of their work click here.

Day 02 – Harbor SEALs HRE Monitoring

Tahirah and Orlando pull up their group's water sample from the East River
Tahirah and Orlando pull up their group’s water sample from the East River

The Harbor SEALs completed their 2nd day of monitoring of the Upper Hudson River Estuary. Team work was in full display as the SEALs worked in subfreezing temperature. The data is available for the public here. Once the samples are taken, students quickly measure the dissolved oxygen using the Azide modification of the Winkler method, measure temperature, and enterococcus bacteria. It is quite a scene to watch the level of intensity the students obtain on a given sampling day. For more images of the SEALs at work click here.

On another note, congratulations to the winners of the invertebrate larvae identification contest. 10th graders Tahirah and Nicolle successfully identified the nauplius larvae as pertaining to a barnacle.

Harbor SEALs before their lab work..
The Harbor SEALs.

Day 01 – Harbor SEALs Monitoring Kick-Off + More

Nauplius caught on Pier 101 on Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Nauplius caught on Pier 101 by MBRP student researchers on Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Last Wednesday, New York Harbor School’s Harbor SEALs kicked off their first day of full scale monitoring for the Hudson River Estuary  Water/Air Quality Monitoring Program. We had  a total of 21 volunteers working the jam packed schedule. In all, 4 different localities were sampled at exactly the same time in order to compare water conditions and determine the influence of the currents from the different bodies of water flowing through the Battery. We thank all the volunteers – adults and children who participated. We also thank the EPA for its support of this important project. We are in the process of developing a page on this site to post the data.

Additionally, last week our 11th grade Marine Biology Research students found a nauplius larva during their weekly sampling run at Pier 101. With a water temperature of 4 C and winter in full force, we were surprised to see that the Harbor is preparing for an early spring. Can you identify what Infraclass of organisms it belongs to? E-mail your answer to mgonzalez@harborseals.org. The first correct answer will win a prize (high school students only, sorry;).

Harbor SEALs Citizen Scientists Train to Monitor the Hudson River Estuary

Harbor SEALs get water samples around rip rap.
Harbor SEALs get water samples on Governors Island.

Whether at night in freezing temperature or by day, the Harbor SEALs get their water quality data. Entrusted by the EPA to monitor the dissolved oxygen, bacteria, and nutrients in the water, these Volunteer Citizen Scientists are adding pieces to the environmental puzzle surrounding Governors Island and the Upper Hudson River Estuary. With the data they’re collecting, the SEALs will provide answers to the following questions: 01) do the waters of the East River cross over to the west side of Governors Island, 02) do the waters of the Hudson cross over to the east side of Governors Island, and 03) is there a difference in the nutrient and bacteria load between the east and west sides of Governors Island and Lower Manhattan? These questions are important if we are to look for ideal localities in which to re-populate oysters and other species. Stay tuned for more Harbor SEALs updates in the coming months. For more information and to join the Harbor SEALs Citizen Science Program, click here.

Harbor SEALs - EPA Citizen Science Sampling Stations
Harbor SEALs – EPA Citizen Science Sampling Stations