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CMOP and Saturday Academy Prepare for First Coastal Margin Summer Camp

The Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction (CMOP) at Oregon Health & Science University is teaming up with Saturday Academy to bring coastal research to area middle and high school students.

Thirteen campers are taking part in a week-long summer day camp this week on the campus of OHSU's School of Science & Engineering in Beaverton to learn about coastal margin science. Activities include a day in Astoria aboard the research boat Forerunner to learn sampling techniques and use of sophisticated monitoring equipment.

CMOP, one of 17 Science and Technology Centers funded by the National Science Foundation, was established as a partnership between OHSU, the University of Washington and Oregon State University in mid-2006 to study the biologically rich but highly vulnerable environments where rivers meet the ocean.

Camp activities include:

  • Use of an online particle tracker to predict the location of a disabled vessel in the Pacific Ocean during a rescue mission and learn basics of computer modeling.
  • Conducting bacterial ice nucleation experiments.
  • Learning to use aquatic sampling gear.
  • Taking measurements of stream conditions and recording them on data sheets.
  • Collecting plankton using plankton "tows."
  • Sampling and filtering river water to extract RNA/DNA.
  • Writing computer programs to calculate numbers of fish meals allowable per week for human consumption based on mercury levels.
  • Use of microscopes to view plankton.


  • Tuesday, July 31, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., The Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS), 6550 Liberty Lane, South Tongue Point, Astoria. Students aboard Forerunner research vessel to collect water samples, learn about turbidity, salinity, temperature and sampling site depth, and how to use oceanographic observation equipment. Students on shore to discuss food webs, water chemistry and mercury.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cooley Science Center, Room 6217, School of Science & Engineering campus, 20000 N.W. Walker Road, Beaverton. Students perform RNA/DNA extractions and bacterial ice nucleation experiments, and learn about pH and dissolved oxygen.
  • Thursday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Cooley Science Center, Room 6217. Students to learn about mercury consumption, fundamental steps in computer programming using Visual Basic, and how to use online particle tracker for ocean rescue missions.
  • Friday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Cooley Science Center, Room 6217. Marine biology lessons; fish print art session; debrief.

Campers will be taught by practicing OHSU and CMOP scientists and staff members, and Saturday Academy teachers.