Bob Chen ~ Urban Oceanographer

UMass Boston vessel

Providing Vessels For Research

"We can leave right here from UMass Boston and get up to the freshwater end-member at the dam in about 45 minutes."

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers resources that have allowed Dr. Bob Chen to expand both his research and outreach. The university's ideal location right on the water's edge of Boston Harbor provides quick access to research vessels from the Fox Point Dock.

Harbor Connections
Harbor Connections provides curriculum development for teachers and hands-on, experiential learning for students in public schools in Boston and the surrounding area.
For Bob's research, the dock also serves as a sensor node, receiving multiple data strands from remote sensing devices in the nearby Neponset watershed. The dock node is hardwired to receive broadband, allowing it to serve as a gateway to multiple smaller sensing nodes.

The Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences Department research vessel R/V Neritic is outfitted to do real-time urban oceanography, with GPS and multiple sensing capabilities, measuring temperature, depth, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, CDOM, chlorophyll. A fiber optic radiometer measures reflectivity of seawater color. Additional instrumentation allows for looking at remote sensing satellite data, calibrating and correlating ship time with satellites passing overhead to develop algorithms.

Larger vessels are used by multiple programs to bring students of all ages out to the Boston Harbor Islands to conduct intertidal studies and basic species monitoring."Two thousand students per year go out and have an experience in the harbor," says Bob. "It's a blast for innercity kids who have never been on a boat."