ORCA Interdisciplinary Projects

State of Possession Sound

The overarching theme of ocean research at ORCA is evidenced in quarter and year long research projects.  The most extensive of these projects is the State of Possession Sound, a student designed and implemented monitoring project in the local area.  Every two weeks, rotating groups of students conduct on the water sampling from the custom designed research vessel, Phocoena, funded by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation. ORCA has been conducting State of Possession Sound (SOPS) research for nine years as an in-house project, designed as a way to facilitate student engagement in scientific inquiry. Students work collaboratively onboard  armed with monitoring and sampling equipment to measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll concentration, phosphates and nitrates from various depths at five different locations. At each station, vertical and horizontal plankton tows are conducted, bird and mammal species presence and abundance are recorded, and a sediment sample is collected. This research lays the foundation for further independent work during student's second year.

Recent partnerships with the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Port of Everett resulted in the deployment of an underwater instrument that measures temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen every 15 minutes and transmits the data online.

Click here to view the first SOPS Update for Cruise 50.

Read the article about state of Possession Sound published in Current: The Journal for Marine Education, written by Ardi Kveven and Josh Searle.