Students in Dr. Jennifer Pollack’s Marine Ecology Class camped on the beach February 20-21, where they gathered and analyzed water specimens to conduct an annual health assessment of Oso Bay. Students collected specimens in an area located between Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Naval Air Station.
Dr. Henry Hildebrand, founder of the marine science program in 1957, started the annual sampling event known as “The Diurnal” as a teaching tool back in the 1960s. The tradition was continued by Dr. Wes Tunnell and then Dr. David McKee. Students conduct the 24-hour study, allowing future scientists to learn sampling techniques, and identify marine organisms.
“It is an honor for us to continue the long tradition of diurnal sampling on Ward Island,” said Dr. Jennifer Pollack, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology. “The event is a great hands-on learning experience for our students, many who are interested in pursuing graduate school in marine sciences. The data we collect are valuable for observing short-and long-term changes in environmental conditions in Oso Bay.”
During the study, students utilized five different stations to collect plankton using nets, and measure water quality. After the results are tallied and analyzed, the students will write an extensive research paper to describe the collections made and to compare this year with the previous studies.