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High School Physics Project:
Follow that Bloom

Plankton and Ocean Currents

Plankton, the microscopic plants and animals floating in the ocean, are the base of the complex food webs that support life in the ocean. Small fish and invertebrates feed on the plankton, and in turn, they become food for larger fish and animals. For this reason, scientists are interested in how and where blooms of plankton occur and how they move over time. Fishermen are also interested in knowing this because if they can locate the plankton, they can often find fish feeding in the same area. The location of plankton in the ocean is often associated with ocean currents.

But how can the movement of plankton that appears to be drifting randomly around in the ocean be monitored? In this project, you will learn how to read vector images of real-time CODAR (Coastal Radar) data. Then you will use your knowledge to predict the movement of a phytoplankton bloom off the coast of New Jersey.


cool classroom welcome units
biology project: gone fishing
earth science project: ocean weather forecast
physics: follow that bloom
learn about currents
calculate currents
analyze data
find the plankton
physics: middle school