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SMORE: Students Monitoring Ocean Response to Eutrophication.

09/16/2011, 12:00 AM by Lollie Garay
Redd Middle School Students Houston TX<br/><br/>Credit: Teacher Lollie Garay
Redd Middle School Students Houston TX
Photo Credit: Teacher Lollie Garay


 What is SMORE?

 It's a research-based project that partners middle and high school classrooms with researchers Dr. Patricia (Tish) Yager (University of Georgia at Athens) and Dr. Marc Frischer (Skidaway Institute of Oceanography) to monitor and compare human impact on biogeochemical interactions in coastal waters. Eutrophication, the pollution of water caused by excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, impacts watersheds and in turn upsets the balance of marine microbial communities when freshwater meets the ocean.

 Project Manager Lollie Garay and her students at Redd Middle School (Houston TX) will team up with teachers Joy McCook and high school students at the Bradwell Institute (Hinesville GA), and Deb Greene’s students at Eben Hopson Middle School (Barrow, Alaska) to conduct the year -long water sampling and reporting. 

So, what do students in coastal Texas, Alaska, and Georgia all have in common? They’re all part of the same ocean!

 Working in their own unique coastal environments, students from three distinct cultures will be actively engaged in sample and data collection to monitor nutrient loads in freshwater sources and in coastal estuaries. They'll share their data and results with each other and with mentor scientists to develop an understanding of locale specific impacts on the global ocean.

 By learning about their local watersheds and coastal oceans, conceptual understanding of the intricate relationship between us, and the global ocean is strengthened, as well as the understanding of how all Earth systems interact. Moreover, it immerses students in global ocean science topics that are traditionally underrepresented in classroom curricula, such as the oceanic carbon and nitrogen cycles. Through SMORE students will experience the process of authentic research and, gain new knowledge about people and science in unique parts of the country.

 The idea for SMORE was born as a result of my efforts to integrate Dr. Yager’s research on critical biogeochemical cycles into classroom curricula and educational outreach. Tish Yager and I teamed up after we met on an international PolarTREC Antarctic expedition in 2007 (http://www.polartrec.com). Last year I joined her in the mid-Atlantic as a member of the ANACONDAS team (http://amazoncontinuum.org.  This year I worked with the Arctic Nitro team in Barrow where I also met Dr. Frischer. You’ll learn more about their research and the participating classrooms as the project unfolds!

 Throughout the SMORE project , students, teachers and mentor scientists will post blogs and podcasts to share their experiences. You’ll be able to ACCESS THEIR BLOG SITES BY SCROLLING DOWN THIS PAGE to watch as their stories unfold. We welcome your questions and comments and ask that you submit them through this site (Send Us a Message).

SMORE is funded through a 2011 Toyota Tapestry Award in Environmental Science and creates a platform for transforming abstract climate change debate into a learning experience that looks at human impact on global change from a different view- the ocean!

Join us on the adventure :)






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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.