First-of-its-kind program where high school students and teachers from the same inland school have served as the sole investigators supporting the on-going eelgrass research and restoration program directed by Dr. Jane Disney of Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL).
This unique collaboration between MDIBL and Bangor High School has provided an opportunity for students to move from the periphery to the center of an important habitat restoration effort in Frenchman Bay.
Establishing a permanent study site allows future high school students the ability to continue this research and compare ongoing measurements with historical data.
Through a partnership with the Bangor School Department, COSEE-Ocean Systems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and MDIBL, students and teachers from Bangor High School have participated in a science and research program specifically targeting the restoration of eelgrass in Frenchman Bay. This ongoing program is the first of its kind where high school students and teachers from the same inland school have served as the sole investigators supporting the on-going research and restoration program directed by Dr. Jane Disney of MDIBL.
The teachers and students have developed their own study site in Frenchman Bay in an effort to tackle questions related to marine sediment composition and benthic organisms in established and proposed eelgrass restoration areas. MDIBL scientists work on issues related to maximizing eelgrass growth. The teams harvest and transplant eelgrass together, then share research findings and brainstorm next steps. According to Jane Disney, director of the Community Environmental Health Laboratory at MDIBL "This unique collaboration between MDI Biological Laboratory and Bangor High School is providing an opportunity for students to move from the periphery to the center of an important habitat restoration effort in Frenchman Bay. Everyone is gaining from each other's experience, insight, and perspective."
Activities in which the students and teachers participate include the following:
Water quality monitoring at several locations throughout the bay. This included conducing dissolved oxygen tests by the Winker Titration method, water transparency tests by Secci disk, temperature, and nitrogen sampling.
Plankton species identification under a dissecting microscope.
Biodiversity assessments of organisms affixed to eelgrass.
Sediment sampling and sieve analysis to assess physical properties.
Constructing biodegradable planting grids on which to secure eelgrass for transplant.
Harvesting eelgrass from one area and tying the grass to both metal wire and twine grids.
Placing the harvested eelgrass in Bangor High School’s designated location off Thomas Island.
COSEE-Ocean Systems, with a team of researchers and other experts from the University of Maine, New England Aquarium, and the Institute for Broadening Participation, was established to implement several integrated activities, each designed to improve COSEE's impact on rural and inland communities.