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Students’ water samples in Valdez inform regional studies
by Marci Suazo |
During a place-based learning lab in January for an Introduction to Oceanography course at Prince William Sound College, students sampled water at the Valdez docks to analyze the water's chemistry, such as pH and salinity. Samples will be shared with the Alutiiq Pride Marine Institute to be used in their Chugach Regional Ocean Monitoring project.
Jacy Chaplin, a student in the course and general studies major, moved to Alaska from Iowa seven months ago. He was excited to be involved in the learning lab. "This is literally our classroom. I could be inside doing something in a lab but I'm out here on the ocean doing classwork, and it's stunning out here."
The data students gather in the class will be used in regional and national datasets. “We will monitor benthic settlement plates as are used by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to monitor for invasive species. These projects offer very exciting opportunities to do some fairly accessible oceanographic fieldwork and participate in large-scale projects,” says Amanda Glazier, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science and biology. The class will also participate in a semester-long project of monitoring settlement plates, temperature, conductivity and salinity in Valdez Harbor.
The oceanography course is one of many future environmental science courses that PWSC foresees. The school, a UAA community campus, is currently developing an Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Sciences and an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Natural Resource Technician. It is currently going through the accreditation and development process.