Saturday, August 29, 2015

Intro - Samantha Edel

        We're just a conceited naked ape, but in our minds we're some divine legend and we see ourselves as some sort of god, seeing we can decide what will live and what will die, what will be saved and what will be destroyed, but honestly we're just a bunch of primates out of control.
- Captain Paul Watson

             Florida has always been my dream.  There was not a year my family missed the beautiful sunshine state or the magical world of Disney or what was always my favorite, SeaWorld.  Ever since I can remember I was fascinated by the marine life I saw right before my eyes jumping through rings and splashing around with that grin on their face.  Lights flashing and trainers whistling, it seemed like the most amazing job in the world. 

                 However, what I failed to realize until my later years was that a dolphins’ smile is nature’s greatest deception.   No aquarium no tank, however spacious it may be can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. With this knowledge I soon began to do more research and more until finally, I became outraged.  Four years later and with a lot more knowledge I continue to study ways that we as humans effect the Earth, continental and oceanic as well as the organisms surrounding.  I would like to attain a degree in Marine Science and Geology to therefore continue research and educate others on the extreme harm humans contribute to their only form of life as we know.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Angela, CUR - The Goldilocks of Trash Collection

My name is Angela Boney and as you can see from my original introductory post, I took the OCE1001 Lab during the fall 2013 semester. Throughout this semester I plan to read your posts and hope to provide some useful feedback. My individual research project pertained to plastic debris found on Florida's beaches - since then, the effects of trash (especially plastic) in bodies of water has become a small obsession.

After completing my AA at Daytona State College, I moved to Oregon this summer, and in and around hiking, gardening, and home renovations, I've been looking for the ideal long-term floating garbage research spot: one not too far away, safe to research on my own, and the right kind of trash.

Weeding in Oregon

I specifically mention "floating" because during a garbage collection event I participated in at Alton Baker Park (12 minutes from my house) we spent our time going through homeless people's dens along the Willamette River and were told to never collect along this route on our own. The only thing we found in the water was a bag - filled with beer bottles - tethered to a tree. So, based on my criteria, the site was close enough but not the type of trash I'm looking for and potentially dangerous on my own.

McKenzie River: 1st time I've had to wear a life vest while
collecting trash.
On another day, I participated in the McKenzie Watershed Council's annual river clean up. After driving 40 minutes I knew the site along the McKenzie River was too far gas budget wise, but due to strong currents and slippery rocks it also turned out to be too dangerous on my own, however it had the ideal type of trash: Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils, straws, broken pieces of plastic, fishing bobbers and tons of fishing line - all items that could wash down river and eventually into the ocean.

Beach in Florence, OR

As my list of imperfect river trash collection sites has been growing longer while I'm looking for the one that is just right, I did of course drive the hour and twenty minutes to the closest beach (which a true Oregonian calls a coast). Other than one lonely plastic food storage container rolling along with the wind, Florence's beach is rather a graveyard for washed ashore logs than a trash collection site.

In addition to finding the ideal research site, eventually gaining employment, and continuing home renovations, I'm also biding my time until I qualify for in-state tuition at University of Oregon. I'm debating between the Chemistry and the General Science program, the latter would allow me to take a myriad of courses in Biology, Chemistry, as well as ones pertaining to the Environment. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Oyster Mat: Part Two of Cost Effective
Continuing research:
 “What do I want this experiment to show?” This experiment is the second part to the “Cost Effective of Plastic Base Oyster Mats vs Concrete Base Oyster Mats”. So therefore part two is necessary to show if it is “effective in attracting oyster spat” in order to see if it will be productive or nonproductive.  So in order for it to really be cost effective, it must be productive. Also we will need to see if nature is going to except or reject the material being used.
The second part of this project is to see whether or not spat will except or reject the concrete base mat and if the numbers are greater than or equal to the plastic based mat. The number of spat and design set-up of the experiment statistical done should give us a final conclusion in just how effective the CBM is, which is also the final conclusion of how cost effective it really is.
The initial design of deployment was setup with the concrete base mats next to the plastic base mats. Six of each, two rows of three and placed beside each other. Approximately 7ft from water line at low tide. After further consultation with Dr. Debra Woodall and Annie Roddenberry, it was decided that this setup will not do, for statistical research, nor adequate spat attachment do to intertidal waters of the estuary project site.
Take two: The second set-up design of mat deployment experiment was based on a more statistical mathematical concept and nonrandom sampling method.
In the take two set up design the mats are alternated, plastic base, concrete based, and so-on with a total length of 22ft and 3inch. There is approximately 9inch in between each mat and from center of each mat to the water line (at low tide) is 24inch, at high tide the water depth level is approximately 3.5ft (1.0668m) over the mats and roughly 6 ¼ hours in between tidal change. Therefore the water level hits all mats at the same time at high tide , total water coverage at the same time and leaves them at the same time at low tide. (June 2, 2015)

Two weeks form second design set-up, June 16, 2015, was the first count, and the results show promise, there will be a count one month thereafter for five consecutive months. I will also be looking at things such as salinity (ppt), DO (mg/L), wind direction, air temperature, water temperature, new recruitment, shifting settlement, other species (diversity) and will record any observations I feel necessary and/or interesting for further research.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Robin, UR.. Oyster Mats

Hello Everyone,
Update on the natural based oyster mats. First let me remind you of the scientific question.

Is there a cost effective method of creating a natural oyster mat  vs  a plastic oyster mat?
           So it was broke down into two parts:                     Method & Time  +  Material & Cost
BUT: Before I get into the results let me explain why we should care !
What is Known about oysters

They filter our water naturally, provide habitat & food for other marine life, add stability to our coastal areas and provide food for us and jobs in the fishery industry. 85% of the oyster reefs are gone and is the most severely effected marine ecosystem in the world.

Oysters in their natural environment
and the natural base solution

"So the results of my findings"

While the numbers show promise, the effectiveness is still a work in progress, I will continue  my research through the summer by deploying them and watching for development of attachment of spat. Log any and all growth patterns as well as salinity, water temperature and anything else that might be of significance. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Amanda Adams, UR, The results are in!

Hello fellow colleagues, as I mentioned I am Amanda in the IMES program here at Daytona State. I did a fun IRP this semester on nutrients in the Central Park waters near my home. My scientific question is: Out of Cu2+, TIN, and PO3-4 which has the highest concentration in the waters of Central Park near my house? Also, do these levels exceed what the EPA deems safe?
To answer this question I had to take a little journey through the waters of Central Park to find out. 

I set out in a kayak with my field book, 250 and 500 mL amber-colored Nalgene H2O sample bottles, my phone for Lat/Long coordinates, and a cooler to keep my samples cold. After geotagging each sample site and obtaining my grab samples, I transported them to the lab where I tested all 5 samples for the above mentioned nutrients. I used the Hach DR/890 Colorimeter: method #8026 for Cu2+, method #10021 for TIN, and method #8048 for Orthophosphate. 

What the EPA deems as safe levels for the nutrients that I was testing are:
§  Cu2+     1.3 mg/L
§  TIN       0.52 mg/L
§  PO3-4    0.01 mg/L

My levels compared to the EPA’s are as follows:
Cu ²⁺
Central Park
site 2
site 3
site 4
site 5

*I couldn't get my graph to drop in here.

Answering my SQ: Out of Cu2+, TIN, and PO3-4, the only constituents that had high levels were TIN and PO3-4. PO3-4 was the only constituent that exceeded EPA standards at two of my sample sites; therefore it would seem that PO3-4 is the limiting nutrient in the lakes nearest my house.

If I had the opportunity to do it over again I absolutely would! The only modifications I would make would be:
§  Sample deeper than grab samples
§  Sample before/after rain to compare
§  Seasonal sampling (spring/summer/fall/winter) to see if lake turnover has an effect on nutrient concentration.

Thank you for following my research. This was enlightening and fun. I'm learning that science can be exciting and I can hardly wait to see what will unfold in the future.

T Singleton U.R. Tomoka Landfill and marshes with cattle exceed EPA guidelines!

The EPA’s Guideline for Orthophosphate is : 0.01 mg/L
and this is what I found!




According to these findings, both the areas of the cow pastures and landfill are over the EPA guidelines. However the cow pasture shows higher phosphate levels than the landfill.

According to Mark Vanheden of St Johns River Water Management District, one cannot do a “gotcha type” of water sampling and blame the landfill for anything. Any polluter can only be judged based on “what leaves their property.”  Well what leaves the landfill's property indicates a level of phosphate that is 0.02 mg/L over the EPA's guideline!  


Unfamiliarity of the locations and terrain complicated gathering field samples and data.
Due to time constraints, collected samples were taken back to the lab and frozen to be analyzed later.
Nutrient levels are influenced by agriculture and rain.
Future Research (updated since final presentation) what would I change?
The original report said for future testing to: “Sample only on non-cattle accessible areas".
This statement was not clear because everyone took this as these high phosphate levels should be disregard completely. Not at all! This matter would be another project in itself. Pollution from cow pastures could be monitored.  The data shows that the cattle accessible areas are a larger contributor to the overall water pollution when compared to the landfill.     

In the presentation, it was mentioned to “Take all the samples on the same day & without rain for 48 hours.”  Comments made after the project pointed out the importance of future research regarding the relationship between rain and no rain days.  

Also, including a larger sample size over a longer period of time for statistical analysis would expand these findings.

The model sampling method could be applied to other projects if errors are accounted for.

Other chemicals should be investigated because this project only checked for one thing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jody...UR--- A Final Report and Results

My name is Jody Benet and I am a student in my final semester of an AS degree in Environmental Science at Daytona State College. My final Individual Research Project for my Aquatic Environmental class this semester is titled, Golf Courses....Good or Bad for Surface water Chemistry and more specifically my Scientific Question (SQ) I am attempting to answer is How do concentrations of total Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P) in golf courses (GC) and residential ponds (RP) compare to each other and to EPA guidelines?

So this became the topic of my semester project. I now have tested the surface water in a pond inside  the golf course and a water body near a residential community in order to compare the impacts that the years of chemical applications have done or not done to the surface water at the golf course and compare those results with the EPA Guidelines for N & P. My results where unexpected and seemed to only raise more questions.
First let me start with the results of an assignment regarding chlorophyll concentrations earlier in the semester in which I used the same pond at the GC. We were asked to collect a water sample from a water body using gloves and a 250ml Amber Nalgene Bottle and brought it back to the lab on campus filtering it, extracting the chlorophyll from the filter with an acetone solution and then analyzed their concentration with the Turner Design Fluorimeter. Here is the graph displaying the classes results.  As you can see by my graph, the bar labeled Jody's golf pond had the highest chlorophyll readings with a concentration of over 35 micro-grams per liter. Which converts to 0.035mg/L which will make comparisons easier later on. This led me to assume that the N & P concentrations would be high in this pond considering that those nutrients are required for stimulating chlorophyll growth, and high amounts of chlorophyll you would think would be an indicator of high nutrients wouldn't you? Well we shall see.
Now lets look at the results of my N & P sample analysis. HERE
Here was my surprise... the GC pond had not enough phosphorous or nitrogen to register on the Hach Colorimeter while the residential water sample did. Here are my comparison results so you can see it all together. 

 EPA GUIDELINES       GC Site             Residential 

     N =   0.52 mg/L          0.00mg/L          0.027mg/L 

     P =   0.01  mg/L          0.00mg/L          0.030mg/L

The Science sometimes only poses more questions, so now instead of having answers I have allot
more questions. One of the reasons for these low concentrations could be that the nutrients N & P
have been used up or absorbed by the aquatic organisms and have not been replenished by runoff 
from the GC at the time of sampling. Some of the ways I could begin to answer these questions
would be to change the  sample techniques to a long term study called a composite study which
would require multiple samples taken over a long period of time to see if and when the nutrients
appear in the water because they have to right?, at some point be in solution in order for the aquatic
organisms to become so numerous as to have that high of an chlorophyll reading. 
But all of this is pure speculation and if this project has taught me anything it is not assume