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Students Monitoring Coastal and Inland Waters With the Basic Observation Buoy (BOB)

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The Basic Observation Buoy (BOB), a student-designed and built monitoring device, provides opportunities for scientific discovery through monitoring and data collection. BOB is a scaled-down buoy fitted with sensors that monitor aquatic and atmospheric parameters in protected coastal and inland waters. Water quality parameters, like temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity, are measured continuously to provide real-time data. Depending on the sensor type, information can be used for education or research purposes. The BOB program was initiated in the Chesapeake Bay region by Levin and expanded to the southeast U.S. coast in 2008, via a series of three workshops funded by the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) and the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence-Southeast (COSEE SE) and led by Spence (Spence et al., 2009) and Adams (Adams et al., 2010). These workshops assisted with the introduction and establishment of new programs in New England and the Great Lakes. BOB is a tool that provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) exploration in real-world situations for middle school to university students. Expected benefits include engagement of students in the scientific process, water quality monitoring experiences, analysis and sharing of real-time data, and the opportunity to contribute their findings to other coastal monitoring databases. Students can upload their data to an online portal supported by SECOORA and housed at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington ( or the National Geographic Fieldscope™ program (
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Keywords: Basic Observation Buoy (BOB); Ocean observing; Real-time data; STEM; Student-monitoring

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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