Tag Archives: marine biology research program

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.

Work-Based Learning: CONEDISON

MBRP scholars listening to a presentation on environmental management at CONED by Brian Brush.
MBRP scholars listening to a presentation on environmental management at CONED by Brian Brush, senior scientist.

The New York Harbor School’s Marine Biology Research Program provides Work-based learning (WBL) experiences to its students in the 10 through 12th grades. WBL gives our marine scholars opportunities to study complex subject matter as well as vital workplace skills in a hands-on environment. WBL experiences also provide students with career awareness, career options exploration, appropriate workplace skills development, and the opportunity to relate academic skills to real-life applications.

Some WBL activities appropriate for every grade level are: guest speaker visits to the classroom, career fairs, job site tours, job shadowing, work with professional mentors on research projects, and internships. Internships are considered the pinnacle of the WBL spectrum. As students see the connections between their lab/field work and what is required at the work site, they gain an understanding of the importance of learning and are able to make better decisions about their futures.

On May 4th and October 3rd our research scholars were invited to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) with the Consolidated Edison Corporation of NY  (CONED) by their EHS manager, Michael Kessler. They had the opportunity to view several high-level professional presentations ranging from the running of the facilities to environmental management strategies. Our scholars were then given a tour of the facilities. The CONED team including Alexander Potulicki (engineer) and Brian Brush (senior scientist) showed great interest in continuing to support our scholars. For more images click here.

Over the summer, approximately 15 Marine scholars participated in internships with partners such as Manhattan College, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Roger Williams University, and Columbia University.

On Tuesday, November 5th (Election Day), Marine scholars will attend the 2nd Annual STEM Career Day organized by the Office of School Programs and Partnerships. Students will have the opportunity to visit STEM companies around the city and learn more about STEM career pathways. Click here for more information.

On Saturday, November 9th, Marine Scholars will attend the 2013 LEAF Green College and Career Fair organized by The Nature Conservancy. Scholars will have the opportunity to meet representatives from regional organizations, colleges and universities about opportunities for green programs, careers, scholarships and jobs. Click here for more information.

The MBRP Employability Skills Check List is a document that outlines many of the skills our scholars will graduate with from the Marine Biology Research Program that will be valuable in their professional careers.

Marine Research Introductory Projects 2013-2014

10th grade marine researchers celebrate the end of the Wind Racer challenge.
Class of ’16 marine researchers celebrate the end of the Wind Racer challenge.

The 10th grade Introductory Marine Research students have gotten off to a great start. In order to develop critical thinking and project management skills, the young scholars have completed the Scientific Method Stick and Wind Racer challenges. In addition, they have received instruction on keeping a research journal, research portfolio as well as how to manage digital data. They are now ready to embark on their next marine research chapter: Aquatic Ecology! Stay tuned for more great accomplishments and a short video of these future marine scientists!

Project Worksheets:

01. Wind Racer and Money Management

02. Scientific Method Stick

Welcome Marine Research Students, Guardians, and Partners!

11th Grade Marine Biology Researchers
Class of ’15 Marine Biology Researchers

Welcome to the 2013 – 2014 school year at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. We have a lot to celebrate! The Marine Biology Research Program and its research students have a new home this year. We’ve moved to the Marine Science room on the first floor. This space is being transformed so that we can perform all of our programmed activities. We’re also almost finished with our Self Study document. This document is required of all CTE programs by the New York State Education Department in order for students to receive CTE certification on their high school diplomas. Lastly, below you’ll find a few documents you’ll need in order to be ready for the Marine Biology Research Program. Wishing you all the best!

Marine Biology Research Syllabus:


Materials List:


SUNY Albany College Credit for 11th and 12th graders:




2013 Science Symposium Participants
2013 Science Symposium Participants (Marine Biology/Science Research Program)

On May 15, more than 45 science projects went on display for the 2nd annual New York Harbor School Science Symposium. It was evident that the level of content and professionalism displayed by the presenting students was significantly improved from that of the previous year. A key factor for this year’s success was the addition of the judging component which raised the stakes, and the careful planning of the awards ceremony with our keynote speaker Chris Bowser (NYSDEC). We had over 15 adult judges comprised of parents, staff, and partners while our school administration provided key logistical support. In sum, the level of planning, teamwork, dedication, and volunteerism gave for a spectacular evening full of SYMPOSIUM SPIRIT! Thanks a million! For more details, award winners, and images of the Symposium click here. For our Symposium Booklet with a summary of the projects click here: NYHS Symposium Program

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.