Science Camp Activites

Scientists from JISAO and the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) collaborate to provide campers with science experiments that enable students to explore the chemicals and physical aspects of the ocean environment at the annual NOAA Science Camp.

Research Vessel Stanley P. Hayes with students on itStudents don life jackets and board the Research Vessel Stanley P. Hayes to perform some of the activities of a typical research cruise. Campers tow a bongo net through the water to catch and then examine plankton. 

The role of these microscopic creatures in the food chain leads to a discussion of red tide and water quality. Niskin bottles are lowered from the deck of the vessel to collect water samples which are tested for dissolved oxygen. The water's turbidity is examined by lowering secchi disks into the lake, and samples from the bottom of the lake are taken with a mud grabber.

Campers learn about global and regional environmental problems and discuss how individual and community efforts can effect improvement.

Tropical Atmosphere/Ocean (TAO) Buoy Demonstration

There are approximately 70 TAO buoys in the Tropical Pacific Ocean. They send atmospheric and oceanographic data to shore in real-time via satellites. The data are used to help scientists understand El Niño/La Niña events and other variations in the global climate.

students wtih buoyAt science camp, a TAO buoy is used to demonstrate how these data are measured and collected. The buoy is outfitted with a rain gauge, ATRH (air/relative humidity sensor), anemometer, radiometer, and SST (sea surface temperature) module.

Data transmissions from the buoy are captured in real-time via an uplink receiver and laptop. The laptop is located on the dock where campers use the data to calculate the amount of heat lost from the lake surface due to evaporation. The campers examine sample sensors (the equipment mounted on the buoy), learn what each sensor measures and why that information is important. Students also learn about El Niño and discover the connection between local weather and the global climate.

Nearby, a sonic buoy release is set up and campers perform recovery and pre-deployment release maneuvers—the same maneuvers scientists use when deploying and recovering buoys at sea (photo).

JISAO Scientists Discuss NOAA Science Camp

Each year JISAO funds 10 need-based scholarships making it possible for more kids to attend camp