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USGS Helps Provide Teacher Research Experience in Long Island Sound

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Larry Poppe provides guidance as Teacher Research Experience participants examine a sediment sample
Above: Larry Poppe (standing at rear) provides guidance as TRE participants examine a sediment sample on the deck of the research vessel Loosanoff. [larger version]

During August 2007, Larry Poppe and Dann Blackwood from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Woods Hole Science Center participated in a Teacher Research Experience (TRE) program. Along with the USGS, cosponsors of this year's Connecticut program were the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of Connecticut, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Milford Laboratory, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Long Island Sound Resource Center (LISRC), and Connecticut Sea Grant.

Under the 2007 TRE theme of "Exploring the Habitats of Long Island Sound," five middle- and high-school science teachers and two students were invited aboard the NMFS research vessel Loosanoff for 3 days of collecting samples, video, and still images of the ocean floor for analysis. Classroom orientation and time on the Loosanoff provided teachers and students with insights into the Long Island Sound ecosystem and an opportunity to conduct all facets of a research cruise, including planning, deck operations, data collection, and logging.

Larry Poppe was principal investigator of the primary research project, which involved mapping the distribution, extent, and characteristics of shell beds around cape-associated shoals off the north shore of Long Island. These shell beds are ecologically and sedimentologically important. Ecologically, shell beds form a critical habitat that shelters juvenile fish and benthic infauna from mobile predators, they provide a hard substrate for sessile fauna and flora, and they supply food for boring species. These characteristics have been shown to produce a benthic complexity that benefits numerous species. Sedimentologically, shell beds form a transitional environment between conditions favoring coarse bedload transport and those favoring sorting and reworking.

Other research projects included appraising bottom variation at control sites for fish studies around Charles Island (principal investigator, Ron Goldberg, NMFS) and examining soft-coral habitats on isolated deep-water bathymetric highs (principal investigators, Ivar Babb and Peter Auster, NURC).

Results of the cruise will eventually be woven into teaching materials and posted on Web sites of the USGS' Woods Hole Science Center and the Long Island Sound Resource Center. Teachers will generate maps, videotapes, and other teaching materials from the research that will become part of an Education link on a new Web site, developed by the National Undersea Research Center and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, called "An Underwater Tour of the Long Island Sound."

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Science Center
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Long Island Sound Resource Center
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and University of Connecticut Partnership
An Underwater Tour of the Long Island Sound
University of Connecticut, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, National Undersea Research Center, and Long Island Sound Resource Center

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cover story:
Effects of Watershed Erosion on Coral Reefs in Guam

Mercury Contamination in Waterbirds Breeding in San Francisco Bay

Outreach Art and Science Combine in Gallery Exhibit

Teacher Research Experience in Long Island Sound

Scientist Shows Evidence for 300-Year-Old Tsunami

Meetings USGS Participates in Groundwater-Seawater Interactions Symposium

Staff Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team Welcomes New Hires

Good Showing by USGS Paddlers in Outrigger-Canoe Races


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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)