Exploring Changes on the Gulf Coast

April 11 2017

High school students attending summer camps and field trip programs at the DeFelice Marine Center in Cocodrie, LA. will conduct sampling for this expedition. Our goal is two-fold. First, students will learn how marine technology can be used in scientific research and exploration. Secondly, we will collect information in the estuary system that continues to be heavily impacted to meet the demands for repetitive coastal development, seafood production, navigation, oil exploration and extraction, flood control, etc. Hurricanes and oil spills have also radically altered the Louisiana coastal landscape. Students with LUMCON utilizing a Trident will observe how the impacts of these activities have contributed to significant ecological problems including coastal land loss, salt water intrusion, and the development of a large and severe hypoxic area along the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Student will use Trident to conduct video transects that can be used to assess the population structure and distribution of fishes and invertebrates around structures in the estuary and open water systems of Terrebonne and Barataria Bay systems. These data can help LUMCON scientists further understand these anthropogenic impacts while engaging students with the scientific process. High School students groups in LUMCON Estuary Awareness and Discovery Camp and LUMCON’s Field Marine Science Camp will conduct the summer time data collection and be responsible for selecting study sites in Barataria and Terrebonne Bay systems. Once every 3 months student groups will travel to the same sites to collect data to capture seasonal differences and annual differences in fish diversity and numbers.

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April 11 2017

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Expedition Background

The unique and highly productive Louisiana marine ecosystem is made up of vast coastal wetlands of both abandoned and active deltas that meet the Gulf of Mexico. These productive waters in turn create some of the most productive fisheries in the world. The sheer amount and diversity of life in the teeming coastal waters of Louisiana is hard for many fathom. With an OpenROV Trident, we will bring this underwater diversity to students first hand, while engaging them with exploration and data collection that captures fish population structure and behaviors around structures in a variety of habitats and across seasons.

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