NCCOS scientists assisted with NOAA’s Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) Center-wide Core Competency (CWCC) Short Course in Ocean Springs, MS, August 3-7, 2016. The goal of the ECSC’s CWCC short course is to introduce ECSC students to practices and approaches used to integrate science that supports coastal resource management and policy decisions. This course looked at the various demands placed on coastal systems by human uses coupled with management approaches and policies for balancing these demands with ecosystem health and functionality.
The course was held at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). Students were provided instruction on field and laboratory-based methods and participated in a problem-based learning activity centered around a real environmental issue in the region.
NCCOS scientists introduced the students to a variety of field and laboratory methodologies for assessing water and sediment quality. The students were taught basic techniques for the collection of physical water quality measurements, whole water samples, sediment grab samples for benthic community analysis, plankton sampling, and macrofauna sampling via seine nets. Water and sediment samples were later analyzed in the laboratory where planktonic and benthic organisms were identified.