Temperature Effects on the Metabolic Rate of Marine Zooplankton - Shelby Schmeltzle, Kutztown University
Shelby Schmeltzle, a Kutztown University senior, spent her summer researching the temperature effects on the metabolic rate of marine zooplankton at the Field Station! Here, she talks about the process of researching her project and how she got involved with research through her university. Check it out!
We recently learned about a very talented young scientist who has designed an experiment to investigate ocean acidification - something that we are deeply passionate about here at CBFS. Randy Bowman is an eleven-year-old student from Virginia who has attended a number of our summer camp and homeschool programs over the past few years. This spring, he designed an experiment which was accepted into NASA's Cubes in Space program that was launched on June 25th. Not only did Randy come up with some interesting results, but his project was awarded "Best Design" and he will have the opportunity to send a related experiment in a weather balloon in the second phase of the project. Randy joined us for Focus on Fish summer camp this past week and we caught up with him to learn more about his project. Listen to Randy talk a bit about his experiment in the video below and be sure to check out his blog!
This summer CBFS hosted an Intro to GIS course where students learn the basics of ArcGIS and ArcMap software during a two-week online course before arriving on campus for a week of practical application of their knowledge. During the week at the Field Station, the class typically uses a Trimble GPS unit to create profiles of local beaches and coastal areas.
Just before the GIS students arrived on campus this year, staff at CBFS learned that part of the marsh at their satellite campus in Greenbackville had caught fire. The GIS class took advantage of this unique opportunity to create a detailed map of the burned area on the Field Station's property. Students and staff found that the burn was perhaps not the worst thing that could have happened to our marsh, since most of the plants that were burned were Phragmities, an invasive species that has taken over many marsh areas on the east coast. For years, CBFS, as well as many other environmental organizations, have been trying to reduce the presence of Phragmities in our marshes to allow other native species to flourish.
While Phragmities will likely be one of the first species to regrow, CBFS is beginning to discuss how they will manage the recently burned land. As for the students, they were excited to participate in the effort. Anna Martin, a rising senior at Edinboro University of PA was excited "to be able to apply our newly found knowledge of GIS to a real life scenario, and this situation helped us tremendously, giving all of us some much needed experience." She envisions CBFS being able to use the maps that they created to monitor the regrowth of the marsh, and to assess the health in the future.
Photographs contributed by Anna Martin
Seven students from high schools across Accomack County have been selected to participate in Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s brand new Sea S.T.A.R. Stewards Program this summer. This internship is a coastal education and leadership internship program for local 9th and 10th graders. Students will spend time this summer working in environmental education programs at CBFS while researching and learning about our local watershed.
This year’s Sea S.T.A.R Stewards include Trenton Clark, Noah Jester, Kristen McCollum from Chincoteague High School, Lyssa Annis, Kara Beth Pruitt, and Jayde Thompson from Arcadia High School, and Brittane’ Patterson from Zion Academy of America. The students attended an orientation at CBFS this past weekend with their parents. Lyssa Annis notes that she is especially excited about being, “around and in the water and mud… I’ve always loved those things!” The students bring with them local perspectives of the Shore, including Noah who realizes, “I have lived on the Chincoteague Bay all of my life so this internship is a great opportunity to learn more about all of the things I have taken for granted every day.”
The Sea S.T.A.R. Stewards Program is funded by a generous grant from Toyota TogetherGreen and Audubon. In 2014 Parker McMullen-Bushman, CBFS's Adult & Family Program Coordinator was awarded a $10,000 award through the Audubon & Toyota Conservation Fellowship to fund the Coastal Watershed Alliance (CWA). CWA is a three-tiered program that will improve watershed health through education, teacher professional development and conservation job training for local students.
Watershed education embodies the Toyota TogetherGreen goals of improving water supplies and quality for the protection of biodiversity. The Eastern Shore contains 70 percent of the Virginia’s tidal wetlands. The watershed is vital habitat to threatened species, including Delmarva fox squirrel, diamondback terrapins, and piping plovers, as well as a source of natural resources essential to watermen, farmers, and local businesses. During this internship students will become more knowledgeable about their role in the watershed, and will participate in meaningful work to preserve it. For more information about the Sea S.T.A.R. Stewards Program or to get involved with Chincoteague Bay Field Station, visit the Coastal Watershed Alliance page.
What faculty did you work with at Kutztown University?
While at CBFS, I took classes with Dr. Cynthia Venn, Dr. Ajoy Kumar, and Dr. Sean Cornell. I did CBFS-based research projects with Dr. Sean Cornell and Dr. Adrienne Oakley. My very active and profoundly supportive adviser was Dr. Adrienne Oakley.
What skills or lessons did you learn during your time at CBFS that may have influenced the direction of your career?
My experience at the CBFS served as a comprehensive and in-depth introduction to the world of oceanography and field work in general. As a professional, I realize that the ability to have ample exposure to top-notch research vessels, facilities and faculty gave me a considerable advantage when starting out my career in this field. The technical and scientific knowledge that I learned at the field station is something that I use every day! Unequivocally, the field station offered me an invaluable educational experience and crystallized my love for oceanography.
Is there a moment that sticks out to you as most memorable from your time at CBFS?
I have so many great memories from CBFS. They range from playing in marsh mud and vibracoring in the Wallops jungle to beach picnics hosted by my professors and their families. Although, a moment that sticks out to me is when my class went door to door surveying and discussing opinions on beach management policies with local business owners. It felt so rewarding to take what we learned in our course and apply it to a current affair.
This spring Colie DeLong and Casey Michalowski, both Geology majors at Kutztown University, attended the Northeastern Geological Society of America conference to present on a collaborative research project that they began working on in CBFS's Marine Geology course last summer. Over the past few months, the students worked alongside Dr. Oakley to investigate Holocene sedimentation in the Chincoteague Bay through analyzing vibracore and CHIRP Sonar sub-bottom data. After their presentation at GSA, Colie notes that she, "received a lot of positive feedback. Now that I have a little bit of experience sharing research, I feel more comfortable with what I'm doing." Both Colie and Casey agree that the Marine Geology course opened doors for them to become research assistants, which is the case for many of the field-based courses that CBFS offers each summer. For Colie, not only did the course help her to pursue research but to also obtain a minor in Marine Science - she plans to take two more courses at CBFS this summer! She recommends courses at the Field Station because, "you get a lot of experience with equipment and field work... It also shows that you have a dynamic learning experience and it will look good on a resume." Casey remembers one of her favorite experiences from last summer's Marine Geology course: "We went to Assateague Island to dig holes in order to see how deep the water table was. By the end of this, I was in an eight-foot hold dissing with a horseshoe crab!"
When we visited Millersville University in October 2014, Dr. Kumar, Professor of Ocean Sciences & Coastal Studies, was hard at work on a project that was aimed to launch this summer. This past weekend he joined us aboard the RV Flatfish along with Dr. McCade, Professor of Applied Engineering, Safety, & Technology, and the Millersville Submersible Research Team to test out their pet project: Dora. Dora is an underwater ROV that will be used to help map and record benthic data in the Chincoteague Bay. The mini-submarine is a VideoRay Pro4 with an advanced commercial sonar system mounted on back to scan the sea floor to create digital models for detailed analysis. She's also equipped with a high-definition GoPro camera to capture video of marine life in their natural habitat.
This was the first time that the team was able to test Dora's capabilities in open water, as she's previously been tested in large swimming pools close to the Millersville campus. Overall, the team deemed the trail a success, with some minor adjustments that they plan to make in the coming weeks. Dora will be used during the Field Methods in Oceanography course this summer.
Everything you need to know about CBFS's educational programs, visiting Chincoteague Island, and more!