check out the latest


Big changes to Oyster Research Station monitoring expeditions on the BOP Digital Platform!

By Heather Flanagan
December 11, 2017

We know it can get tough out in the field, so we’ve made it much easier for you to collect and share your BOP Digital Platform data with the world!

Students from M.S. 88 monitor their ORS in the pouring rain. Students are lifting buckets of water while carrying umbrellas.

Bad weather couldn’t stop these students from M.S. 88 at an ORS monitoring expedition in Red Hook. But if you’ve ever misplaced your sling psychrometer or forgotten to snap a photo of your ORS, we’ve got you covered!

Thanks to feedback from YOU and the support of our growing pro-bono open source developer community, most fields are now optional on the data entry forms for each protocol in order to publish your data.  We want you to be able to share whatever data you’re able to collect when you make an expedition to your ORS!

We encourage you to collect as much data for each protocol as you can- the more data the better!  However, by reducing the requirements, we’re hoping it will be easier to get started and we’ll collect more data overall. We also think this will make the protocols and data entry more approachable for our elementary school participants.

Here are the key changes:

  • Protocol 1: Site Conditions has gone from 14 required fields to 1!
Protocol 1: Site Conditions
Required Optional
weather conditions all photographs
wind speed
wind direction
recent rainfall
all tide conditions fields
all water conditions fields
all land conditions fields
  • Protocol 2: Oyster Measurements only requires data for one tagged substrate shell- the number of live oysters and their measurements (plus the baseline data on your first expedition).
Protocol 2: Oyster Measurements
Required Optional
for at least one substrate shell- # of live oysters all photographs
for at least one substrate shell- measurements of live oysters submerged depth of cage
 one time- baseline measurements bioaccumulation on cage
mass of oysters + tag
  • Protocol 3: Mobile Trap was already fairly low on requirements- just do your best to identify and count every organism you find!
Protocol 3: Mobile Trap
Required Optional
A default of “0” is in the system for each organism- we hope you’ll find and enter in at least 1! your drawing or photo of an organism
  • Protocol 4: Settlement Tiles only requires a photograph and organism IDs for one tile.
Protocol 4: Settlement Tiles
Required Optional
for at least one tile- one photograph of a settlement tile with the grid overlay other three tiles- photographs
for at least one title- identification of each organism at the center of each grid point on the overlay other three tiles-identification of organisms
tile description
  • Protocol 5: Water Quality dropped from 5 required fields to 1- now only water temperature is required.
Protocol 5: Water Quality
Required Optional
water temperature depth of water sample
dissolved oxygen
other water quality parameter measurements
  • Photography. We know taking photos can be tricky with muddy hands, so now the only required photo is one settlement tile.  But we love to see your photos so keep them coming if you can!  Our friends at Cloudberry contributed some awesome pro-bono design work to help make taking and uploading photos easier- we’re hoping to roll it out later in 2018, so stay tuned!
A preview of a new mobile phone screen showing a feature to help take photos of land conditions for Protocol 1: Site Conditions.

A preview of Cloudberry’s design for a photography helper for the platform.

You can visit the recently updated Expeditions How-To Guide in our wiki for a step-by-step guide to creating and submitting an expedition.

And remember- you don’t need to do all five protocols!  When you’re creating an expedition, just click the checkboxes for the protocols you’d like to include:

A screenshot of the "Create an expedition screen," displaying the checkboxes you can use to check or uncheck protocols to include when you're setting up an expedition.

You can check or uncheck protocols on the “Create an expedition” screen to choose which protocols you want to include in your expedition.

We hope these changes make it easier for you to publish some data this winter!  And if you’d like to ask a question, give feedback, or learn more about getting involved with coding for the BOP Digital Platform, we would love to hear from you!  You can reach out to Heather Flanagan, BOP’s Digital Learning Specialist at: <>