Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Scientist and Education Award Winner Leads Student Phytoplankton Study
by Rob Gutro for Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD (SPX) Feb 14, 2012


This SeaWiFS image of our world depicts the Global Biosphere - the ocean's long-term average phytoplankton chlorophyll concentration acquired between September 1997 and August 2000 combined with the SeaWiFS-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index over land. This image shows where there is more or less plant life on our planet. On land, the dark greens show where there is abundant vegetation and tans show relatively sparse plant cover. In the oceans, red, yellow, and green pixels show dense phytoplankton blooms, those regions of the ocean that are the most productive over time, while blues and purples show where there is very little of the microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. (Credit: NASA). For a larger version of this image please go here.

Dr. Tiffany Moisan is a NASA scientist who thrives on studying the ocean and has a passion for educating and inspiring students in ocean sciences. Last year, Moisan received an award that enabled her to work with the education community and bring students into the field for a hands-on learning experience.

Moisan, together with other scientists and educators, has created a curriculum that will enable other schools to do the same thing. It is called Rising Tides and is available in book form on the Internet. It was distributed to Virginia schools and describes coastal oceanography.

Dr. Moisan works in the Ocean Sciences Branch of the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The laboratory is located on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

In 2011, she was awarded an Education Internal Research and Development (IRAD) award. She developed a curriculum for middle school to undergraduate students that utilized an ocean optics radiometer to measure reflectance and solar stimulated fluorescence. She led a collaboration with John Hopkins Talented Youth Program, Baltimore, Md., and Ocean Optics Company, Dunedin, Fla. that distributed the instrument and accompanying curriculum.

The curriculum's goal was to create a hands-on project to inspire and teach students in biology, optics, physics, and oceanography, and to explain climate change processes within the carbon cycle.

In November 2011, Dr. Moisan and students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), Alexandria, Va., worked together in the field to conduct physiology experiments to understand how phytoplankton respond to diurnal changes in light, temperature, and tides to understand how coastal productivity changes over the day.

Moisan said, "Students got hands-on experience by using mini spectrometers to understand the physics of color and the biology on phytoplankton the base of the food chain. I believe a wider distribution or library of these spectrometers can be created for many schools to use at an affordable cost. We watched with pleasure as students were able to connect microscopy samples with in situ instrumentation to ocean color satellites."

The students joined Dr. Moisan at the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel pier, located on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia.

Students experienced how scientists sample the ocean. Samuel Thompson, a student in the Undergraduate Student Research Program joined Rachel Steinhardt of Sigma Space Corporation, Lanham, Md., to collect water. The samples were analyzed quickly in a garage, set up like a laboratory, where filtration and physiological measurements were conducted.

The students worked as research scientists in the field and applied concepts of oceanography that they had been reading about in class. They were amazed to see a combination of high-tech instruments like the spectrophotometer being used alongside homemade devices such as a simple winch on the pier. The scientists were doing what is necessary to collect data and making adjustments as they were working in the field.

"Working alongside the scientists emphasized that engineering skills and creativity are as important in research as core knowledge in math and science," said Lisa Wu, Director of the Oceanography and Geophysical Systems Laboratory, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

"For some students, knowing that NASA works in Earth's inner space as well as outer space was an eye opener. The fall algal bloom was a bonus."

Later, students returned to their high school laboratories to witness a dinoflagellate bloom under a microscope. The students also compared the water quality analysis to NASA satellite imagery.

Several of the students are following up with applications for summer internships that would expand on this work with her during the summer.

NASA contributes a tremendous data set - called "ocean color" - to the oceanographic community. Ocean color is the characteristic hue of the ocean according to the presence and concentration of specific minerals or substances, such as chlorophyll.

Together with global or regional maps of pigment distribution of phytoplankton all over the world and other products, NASA gives unprecedented global coverage of phytoplankton information to scientists and the public.

NASA scientists study the ocean using satellites and at colored dissolved organic matter, ocean biology, calibration of the satellite, modeling of the physics of the ocean, etc.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a unique Fairfax County public school offering a comprehensive program that focuses on scientific, mathematical, and technological fields.

The TJHSST students that accompanied Moisan attended the Oceanography/Geophysical Systems Lab at the school. The lab explores the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of the Earth's last frontier.

As a Governor's school, TJHSST serves as a resource for other elementary, middle, and high schools from the five nearby Virginia counties, as well as around the nation and with the international community. Its goal is to connect educators, scientists, and students in real-world scientific inquiry. This is done through video conferencing as well as face to face during professional conferences or field trips.

Moisan said, "NASA's relatively modest investment in this activity has produced profound results. It's a great way to interest students in STEM studies, and I hope we will be able to continuing to do so in the future.

Hands on activities such as these are needed in STEM." Moisan said she wanted to be a scientist ever since she was young. At Texas A and M University, where she worked in an oceanographic laboratory as undergraduate, she decided to become a phytoplankton ecologist and pursue higher degrees. She's traveled to exotic places such as the Antarctic to study phytoplankton, something that she hopes all students will be inspired to do.

Students can gain the fascination about science at an early age, which will help motivate them to pursue jobs in the science and engineering field. "There is no greater feeling than discovering something on your own," she said.

.


Related Links
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Phytoplankton research at NASA
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Science Aircraft to Travel the Globe in 2012
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 14, 2012
With missions scheduled throughout the year, 2012 is shaping up to be an extraordinary time for NASA's Airborne Science Program and Earth system science research. Multiple aircraft and specialized instruments will operate in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America this year in support of studies conducted by NASA and the Earth science community, improving scientists' understanding of o ... read more


EARTH OBSERVATION
China publishes high-resolution full moon map

Manned Moon Shot Possible by 2020

NASA Mission Returns First Video From Lunar Far Side

A Moon Colony by 2020

EARTH OBSERVATION
No future for Mars?

Scientists say Obama Mars cuts to hit research

Venezuela Mars mission after 2030

Obama budget slashes Mars exploration

EARTH OBSERVATION
Sierra Nevada Delivers Flight Test Vehicle Structure

Space tours to the Moon - why not?

NASA PIT Crews Essential to Commercial Space Endeavor

Jacob Bleacher Gives Free RATS Talk at Library of Congress

EARTH OBSERVATION
Space-tracking ship Yuanwang VI concludes trip

China's new rockets expected to debut within five years

China announces new launch rockets

China's satellite navigation sector annual output predicted to reach 35 bln USD in 2015

EARTH OBSERVATION
Europe's ATV space ferry set for launch to Space Station

Unique Testbed Soon Will Be in Space

Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle is integrated on Ariane 5

Astronaut Don Pettit Shares Passion for Science from Space

EARTH OBSERVATION
Europe delighted as new rocket notches up success

NASA Seeks Game Changing Technology Payloads for Suborbital Research Flights

Rockot to launch two Sentinel satellites

April new date for SpaceX capsule launch

EARTH OBSERVATION
Elements of ExoPlanets

New super-Earth detected within the habitable zone of a nearby star

Russia to Start Own Search for Extrasolar Planets

Planets Circling Around Twin Suns

EARTH OBSERVATION
Firm in Apple dispute seeks to ban China iPad imports

Apple shares surge despite factory inspections in China

US, EU approve Google purchase of Motorola Mobility

Iceland promotes clean-energy data centers




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement