Coastal Observations: a Biological Perspective


"To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be."
—Rachel Carson, marine biologist and nature writer

Education is at the forefront of everything we do. Our work is not complete without the need for it within the education world, whether it is the 3rd grade classroom lesson on sea creatures or the senior college lecture on the physics of ocean waves. Our coastal oceanography educational program has been designed around several variables.

Phytoplankton play a critical role in regulating global CO2 and climate. Thus, there is a need for updating oceanographic education at the undergraduate level to modern ways of estimating phytoplankton concentration in the global ocean. New and innovative techniques to study phytoplankton dynamics have been developed in the past decades, in particular with the introduction of satellite remote sensing of ocean color. Through the use of these techniques, scientists can learn a plethora of information about how the ocean functions.

We believe that there is a unique balance between the science and education of this program, and we strive to feed a multitude of audiences the knowledge of coastal oceanography.

The Ocean's Green Machines

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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One tiny marine plant makes life on Earth possible: phytoplankton. These microscopic photosynthetic drifters form the basis of the marine food web, they regulate carbon in the atmosphere, and are responsible for half of the photosynthesis that takes place on this planet. Earth's climate is changing at an unprecedented rate, and as our home planet warms, so does the ocean. Warming waters have big consequences for phytoplankton and for the planet.