East Researchers Collaborate in River Study

East Researchers Collaborate in River Study photo

High School East research students recently worked on a hands-on, collaborative research study at Short Beach in Nissequogue, led by High School East research coordinator Maria Zeitlin. Short Beach was selected for its relevance to High School East students as citizen science is inspired when students look into their own backyards.

“This collaborative ecosystem monitoring project is designed to celebrate the river and estuary ecosystems and educate participants on the uniqueness of Long Island’s wild and scenic rivers,” said Ms. Zeitlin. “On a single day, environmental education partners and students all along the Nissequogue river simultaneously collected scientific information, analyzed it and shared it to portray the status of the river and estuary ecosystem.”

Students use hands-on field techniques to perform scientific data collection to assess the health of this part of the river. They sample fish populations using seine nets, perform chemical analysis of water samples including phosphate, nitrate, and oxygen levels. They inventory site descriptions by drawing pictures and using photography. Students examine the physical attributes of the site with data collection relating to wind speed and direction, current flow, as well as sedimentation and turbidity of the water. Upon return to school, data was uploaded to a central website for comparison and analysis with the nine other districts that collaborated on the study.