COSEE and IOOS: Successful Collaborations: East Coast Partnerships
 Graphical depiction of many types of observing systems
Graphical depiction of many types of observing systems used to collect data describing the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes (Image © IOOS)
Several COSEE Centers have formed successful collaborations with Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems. Following is a brief report on the OOS program and a synopsis of some of the collaborations developed by East Coast COSEE Centers.

The Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) is a federal, regional, and private-sector partnership working to enhance the ability to collect, deliver, and use ocean information. IOOS delivers the data and information needed to increase understanding of the ocean and coasts in order to improve decision-making capacities to address safety, economic and environmental concerns. The goal of this multidisciplinary system is to provide continuous data on open ocean, coastal waters, and Great Lakes in the formats, rates, and scales required by scientists, managers, businesses, governments, and the public to support research and inform decision-making. NOAA is leading interagency and regional efforts to build the U.S. IOOS.

Each of the eleven Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (RCOOS) identify and address regional priorities with a management structure responsible for collaboration and coordination within the region. Forming collaborations with COSEE Centers became a natural part of this process. Following are a selection of some of these successful working relationships.

COSEE Coastal Trends

COSEE Coastal Trends developed an Observing the Ocean Education Module. The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (MACOORA) and Chesapeake Bay Observing System both use this module as part of their education outreach.

 Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems
Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems
COSEE-Ocean Systems

COSEE-Ocean Systems (OS) has collaborated with OOI scientists, creating many concept maps on ocean observing topics at COSEE-OS workshops. Future plans include a partnership with the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS). In addition, Annette DeCharon, COSEE-OS PI, is Chair of the NERACOOS Education and Outreach Committee (EOC), and has provided advice and support to NERACOOS on framing their Education and Outreach activities. Several EOC members are also members of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaboration (NEOSEC), which was originally a project developed by COSEE New England. The NERACOOS EOC created and analyzed a survey to identify target audiences for NERACOOS and corresponding key messages, and recommended that NERACOOS create an internal communication strategy to coordinate the efforts of its science team. As a result, NERACOOS recently hired Tom Shyka as its Outreach and Communications Specialist. -Contributed by Annette deCharon

COSEE SouthEast

COSEE SouthEast (SE) and the South East Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) were funded in 2002. After reading a newspaper article about SEACOOS, COSEE SE PI Lundie Spence organized a meeting. “We talked about outreach and education in addition to the research in coastal observing systems,” says Lundie. “The bottom line is that COSEE SE has been a major player in the education component of SEACOOS and now SECOORA, the regional association encompassing Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. We developed workshops, posters and lessons with COSEE Florida, aligning the research with waves, storm surge and circulation.”

Over the past three years COSEE SE has collaborated with NOAA IOOS and SECOORA on the development and extension of the STEM project Basic Observation Buoy (BOB), in both high school and undergraduate courses. High school students are learning about continuous monitoring of water quality parameters in their own investigations on docks in marinas, and in partnership with researchers in understanding the chemical dynamics of rice impoundments.

Currently, COSEE SE is part of the NOAA IOOS proposal for SECOORA in Education and Outreach. Water quality, currents and circulation, and storm surges are basic themes. -Contributed by Lundie Spence


Ocean Observing Systems represent a major paradigm shift, and therefore offer an opportunity to focus learning on new information delivery strategies and new insights into how people learn about the ocean. COSEE NOW has been actively involved in facilitating partnerships and programs with the scientists and educators involved in the Ocean Observing Community. Here is a brief summary of some of our key projects and partnerships.

Engaging the Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS) Community

In 2009, COSEE NOW launched a professional development series for the IOOS education community with its storytelling workshop. This pivotal workshop was followed by monthly phone conferences and a webinar series focused on mutual interests in exhibit design and development. Participants in this webinar series worked together to share expertise and knowledge around the design and development of effective exhibit/kiosk development using IOOS assets. These sessions were designed to: 1) develop collective expertise among a group of interested educators and scientists in effective practices associated with exhibit design and development, and 2) develop a common vision for what an exhibit project might look like using ocean observing systems data and resources. Webinars included discussion on the challenges of designing exhibits for use in informal learning institutions, using and sharing ideas and resources on the development of interactive exhibits or kiosks. We highlighted ways in which archived and real-time data resources from the IOOS network can be integrated into exhibits. We also discussed how these datasets might be used in exhibits to communicate the science of climate change

COSEE NOW also hosted a second webinar series on data visualization, taught by Drs. George Matsumoto, Shawn Rowe, and Ravit Duncan. These webinars engaged the IOOS educators in an active discussion about the challenges and effective practices in developing data visualizations for public audiences. In 2011 COSEE NOW will be launching a webinar series with IOOS educators and scientists focusing on the science and educational resources of each Regional IOOS Association.

Real-Time Data in Informal Learning

COSEE NOW’s informal partner, Liberty Science Center, developed a floor program explaining how buoyancy is used to propel the Slocum Gliders. This lesson is used in the exhibit Our Hudson Home. It compliments an interactive kiosk, focusing on the science behind how gliders move using density changes, and explains some of the concepts behind OOS data collection. The Scarlet Knight, the first glider to cross the Atlantic Ocean, will soon be exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, with the exhibit grand opening in October 2010.

Ocean Gazing Podcasts

The Ocean Gazing podcast is one of COSEE NOW’s primary educational outreach tools. The aim is to provide scientists with a forum for telling their stories about ocean observing science and the broader impacts that science is having on people beyond academic institutions. In each biweekly episode, Ocean Gazing integrates interviews, ambient sounds gathered in the field and the lab, music, audio recordings from listeners (from children to adults), and the unveiling of a mystery sound. COSEE NOW plans to repurpose and cast the existing body of 50 podcasts to tailor them to different audiences interested in OOS stories.

Real-Time Data in the Classroom

COSEE NOW team members continue to collaborate with a design team of graduate and undergraduate students, classroom educators, technologists, graphic designers, and education professionals to develop cutting edge online units that utilize data from ocean observing systems. Please check out the December issue of The Science Teacher to see a feature article on the COOL Classroom. COSEE NOW also is working on developing prototype interactive quizzes and Powerpoint presentations that connect the Ocean Literacy fundamental principles and concepts to ocean observing systems content.

Assessing the Needs of OOS Audiences

COSEE NOW collaborated with a consultant, Interface Guru, to conduct website usability testing with a group of tuna fishermen to better understand how ocean observatory data can be communicated via Web-based visualization displays, such as maps, charts and other data sources. This work was done to support the mission of MACOORA and COSEE NOW to: 1) learn the fundamentals of website usability testing, and 2) use the results of the test to improve visualization and navigation of data displays for MACOORA member institutions, including COSEE NOW. To learn more, please download the MARCOOS Usability Test Executive Summary and the summary presentation of the usability test results. In addition, COSEE NOW conducts an annual scientist survey to keep informed and in touch with the OOS science community.

COSEE NOW is invested in the improvement of effective communications between scientists and educators. Visit the COSEE NOW website to join our Networked Ocean World and link into a community interested in constructing knowledge of our ocean with real time data, conversation and collaboration. -Contributed by Janice McDonnell