Shipboard   Marine Science

supported by

The Environmental Protection Agency 
The New York State Marine Education Association
South Shore Estuary Reserve Office         Oceanside Teacherís Center
Dowling College

Lou Siegel                                                                Ed Wilensky

Click on images to enlarge

Fifteen educators met for seven, two and one half hour sessions at Oceanside High School.   
At each session a discussion of a particular parameter was followed up by a laboratory period during 
which participants familiarized themselves with the appropriate equipment

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Participants practice Millipore method of bacterial sampling

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Getting the feel for accurate wind measurements in the lab

Practicing titration of oxygen for this important parameter.

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Dissecting and compound microscopes were used to examine plankton samples in several biological keys.

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Our first field trip was to the Town of Hempstead, 
Marine Study Area in Oceanside.  Participants 
discussed planning and development options 
at this "natural" area nestled between a former 
landfill, housing, an organized recreational park 
facility and a golf course.  We examined the plant 
populations and zonation of the marsh and upland 
populations which are largely delineated by the 
exposure to salt water due to changing elevations.

   

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Each of the abiotic factors studied in lab was then 
measured in the field.  Here Ed Wilensky is 
demonstrating the use of a hydrometer to 
measure salinity and density.

 

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A throw net was used to sample the ichthyological (fish) community.

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The spotting scope did not have to be used to see the osprey swooping overhead

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Some residents guarded their nest while others looked for their next meal. 

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Our first shipboard experience was on the historic 
oyster fishing sloop, Christeen, at the Oyster Bay 
Waterfront Center.  Here we reviewed the basics 
of this traditional way of boating, sampled the 
biological specimens with a dredge and plankton 
net and measured the abiotic parameters.  It was 
a great day out on the water on this excellent 
platform for environmental education!

   

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Participants learned how to raise the sails and steer the vessel into safe waters

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A wide variety of organisms were caught in the 
bottom dredge including several horseshoe crabs, 
hermit crabs, mussels, clams, and seastars.  
Several specimens were held in a fish tank for 
closer examination by the participants. The life 
histories and classification of each were 
reviewed.  Lou Siegel demonstrated how to milk
eggs and sperm from the horseshoe crabs. 

 

The close up exploration of the marshes of the South Shore Estuary Reserve by kayak  included a paddle 
up a sinuous channel.  We were also able to observe historic ditching done to drain the uplands 
of mosquito breeding ponds.  Abiotic and biotic readings were again taken.  
The closed Oceanside sanitary landfill is in the background.

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Use of underutilized recreational fishing boats by schools and organized groups to explore the 
estuarine environment is a win for everyone. The final trip of the class was on the fishing boat, 
Princess Marie out of Point Lookout.  Stations are selected to demonstrate the variety of 
environments within the bay. 

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 Here we get a good look at the commercial fishing 
fleet at Point Lookout.  


As we travel from one site to another there is the opportunity to discuss issues related to landfills and 
electricity generation plants. A close examination of the picture below will reveal a mist over the water 
which is flowing from the outfall of the electric plant at left. The cooling water is returned to the bay at an 
elevated temperature.   The Hempstead Bays also host some of the last remaining bay houses which 
are on long term lease from the town.

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At each station we measure the abiotic parameters at the surface and bottom, then the biological parameters 
are sampled using the plankton and bottom dredge nets.  Below we can see the difference between the bottom  
sample at the station near to Jones Inlet where there is a high level of water exchange and that at the back bay 
station where water flow is restricted in the artificially deep, dredged channel.

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The dredge is towed behind the boat for several 
minutes at the selected site.  Here the net is 
retrieved from the stern of the boat.

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Diverse bottom dredge sample from Jones Inlet.

Black, anaerobic, mayonnaise like mud at back bay station.

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Participants sort through the dredge sample.

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After all of the data is collected it is time to sample the ichthyological community by offering them some food, on a hook at the end of a long stick.  Everyone loves fishing!

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The date, location, size and type of fish caught is
recorded.  A few scales are collected and placed 
into an envelope with the information. During a 
later lab session the scales are examined and 
drawn by the students.
 

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One special session was held for boat captains at 
the Freeport Maritime Center.  Here we see a 
representative of Nassau BOCES discussing the 
various types of trips which they offer and reviewing 
the boat requirements for a successful contract.

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The class on the historic Christeen oyster sloop at the Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay

Back to www.NYSMEA.org

For further information about the program
contact:  Lou Siegel