Pahoa Student Does Plankton Research

Juniper Ozbolt of Pahoa, HI recently completed the spring semester of her sophomore year of high school at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine. Coastal Studies for Girls is a Semester School for 10th grade girls. The school features rigorous academic courses and an integrated marine science and leadership curriculum based on fieldwork and experiential place-based learning.

 While at CSG, Juniper completed a scientific research project examining the diversity within the phytoplankton community during the spring phytoplankton bloom. Juniper and her research team collected data at several sites, structured their study and analyzed their data with the guidance of CSG Marine Ecosystems instructor, Kerry Whittaker PhD. The girls each prepared a scientific paper explaining their findings. They documented the significance of their findings by pointing to research indicating that the oceans’ phytoplankton populations are the crucial building blocks of the ocean food supply and also produce over 50% of the oxygen on the planet. They presented their research results in a public forum held at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. The title of Juniper ‘s presentation was: Phyto Zoo: a Look at the Spring Bloom. The other Spring 2015 Coastal Studies for Girls Research Topics included: Human-Driven Ocean Acidification Decimates the Base of Marine Life; Microplastics: A Macro Problem; Invasive species on the Coast of Maine: Green and Asian Shore Crabs; and Hypoxia in coastal waters.

 The presentations were live streamed to viewers across the globe. In addition to producing original marine research during her semester at Coastal Studies for Girls, Juniper also completed a semester-long leadership course, earned honors credits in Literature, History, Math and Foreign Language and traveled with her classmates on a 10-day expedition along the Maine coast and islands. Juniper describes her CSG Semester with these words, “I was encouraged to be my authentic self at CSG.

 Each semester, Coastal Studies for Girls accepts 15 girls from across the country to live in the farmhouse on the shores of Casco Bay. Together they create a community of engaged learners dedicated to observation, inquiry, connection and action.

 Juniper returns to Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science in the fall as a junior. To learn more about Coastal Studies for Girls, or for information on applying, please visit www.coastalstudiesforg

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