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Hundreds of BOP middle school students showcase original research at the Third Annual BOP Research Symposium

By Heather Flanagan
August 7, 2017

BOP middle school students monitor oysters all over NYC and dive deep into our STEM curriculum– but that’s not all!  They also conduct original research projects based on their field experiences and analysis of student-collected, city-wide data from the BOP Digital Platform, which dazzled judges at this year’s Symposium this past June.  This year marked our third symposium and it was our biggest one yet, with over 400 people in attendance.  The Symposium is the culminating event of the school year for teachers and students participating in the NSF-funded BOP Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (BOP-CCERS).

BOP middle school students (along with some awesome elementary and high school students!) presented research on a broad range of topics, from coliform to nitrogen to sustainable design, designing experiments using hydrophones, water quality testing equipment, and even jars of dead mussels!  Everyone at BOP and our amazing team of volunteer judges were truly in awe of how the common, shared experience of monitoring an oyster cage spurred students’ natural curiosity and drove their lines of questioning in so many different directions, yielding exciting, high quality projects.  From all of us at BOP Schools, we want to give a huge thank you to all of the teachers, students, and scientists who participated, along with the New York Harbor School for hosting (and NYHS students for tabling about their CTE programs), and all of the parents, partners, and friends who helped make this happen!

Where can you check out this amazing student work?

  • On the BOP-CCERS tumblr, we’ve created an archive of every student poster- check out 2017’s posters here, or click here to see posters from both years.  (You may need to give the page a minute to load to see all of the posters!)
  • To browse a collection of photos from this year’s symposium, check out our Flickr album.
  • To view posters by school, click on the school’s name in the list of presentations below.  That link will take you to all of that school’s posters from this year and last year (along with any additional posts about the school’s participation in BOP).

Central Park East II

  • Are the oysters more stressed in the harbor or in the tank?
  • Where is the best water for oysters to grow?
  • How much salinity can shrimp tolerate?
  • What’s Killing Our Oysters?
  • How will a filter affect oysters in a tank?
  • Will wild fish change their behavior in a tank?
  • How does the mobile trap work?
  • How does pollution affect biodiversity?
  • How does runoff affect turbidity in the estuary?
  • What is the ecosystem role of the blackfish?
  • How does biodiversity come together to create an ecosystem?
  • How do you raise a successful oyster tank in brackish water?
  • What Sounds Are Made In An Oyster Tank?

Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts (13K265)

  • How do ammonia levels affect turbidity and survival of oysters?

PS 59 The Harbor View School

  • 3D Oyster Model
  • History of Oysters
  • Oyster Filtration Experiment
  • Water Filtration Experiment

IS 281 Joseph B. Cavallaro

  • Tracking the Salt Front

ISLA Middle School BX342

  • Harlem River Oyster Measurement Growth — Class 601

John Ericsson Middle School 126

  • How does temperature and nitrogen impact oysters?
  • How does pH impact oyster growth/mortality at different locations?
  • How does salinity impact oyster growth/mortality at different locations?
  • How do nitrates impact oyster growth/mortality at different locations?
  • How does temperature impact oyster growth/mortality at different locations?


  • The Effect of ORS Location on Population Density of Various Harbor Species

MS 88

  • Designing a Resilient Gowanus
  • Stormwater Garden Modules for Gowanus
  • The Effect of Location on Biodiversity

MS 390

  • Protocol 1: Site Conditions Quality Control

PS 71

  • pH Affects Oyster Environments
  • Oyster Drills Depend on Cage Location
  • Seasons, Oyster Growth, & Mortality

PS 288

  • The Effects of Eel Grass on Oyster Mortality
  • The Potential Effects of Surface Permeability on Water Quality in Lower Bay
  • The Adventures of Coliform
  • Acidity and the Potential for the Presence E-Coli in Oysters

PS 371K

  • Oyster Lives Matter! Experimenting With Biofilters to Decrease Ammonia-Related Deaths

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance

  • Microplastic Presence Within Jamaica Bay’s Oysters and Water Columns

Soundview Academy

  • The effect of acidity on oysters
  • The effect of pollution of oysters

West End Secondary School

  • Oyster Lives Matter
  • Underwater with WESS
  • Down the Drain
  • Natural Filters
  • Oysters in the Harbor
  • New York Harbor Dilemma

The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria

  • Pollution Taking Over the Growth of Oysters
  • Who Killed our Oysters?
  • Biodiversity: Summer vs. Winter Who Wins?
  • Hudson vs. Harlem
  • Comparing Biodiversity in the Hudson and the East River
  • Organisms’ Residential Shelter
  • The Effect of Different Habitats on the Growth and Weight of Oysters
  • The Effect of pH on How Long the Oysters will Thrive
  • The Effect of Salinity on the Oyster’s Growth in Length
  • Oyster Dissection, Anyone?
  • Oyster Community
  • The Effect of the Temperature of the Water on the Growth in Length of an Oyster
  • The Effect of Salinity on Substrate Mass

Interested in bringing BOP to your school or organization?  Get involved with BOP as a school or community scientist by monitoring an Oyster Research Station! We recently added new training sessions for the fall- learn more here, or if you’re already excited to get started, sign up for a “Basic Training” session here!  For educators, we have over 70 lessons and 10 units on the BOP Digital Platform.  Sign up for free as a “team lead” to access our hands-on, inquiry-based lessons that can help you incorporate environmental restoration into your regular school day!  And whether you’re new or you’ve already joined and need a platform refresher, check out our wiki for help guides.