Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America, is located along the Atlantic Coast adjacent to the states of Maryland and Virginia. The bay is home to hundreds of species of fish, sharks, and marine mammals, and countless land and aquatic plants. Restoring and maintaining the health of this important ecosystem has been a major focus of scientific and environmental research over the last several decades.
Chesapeake Bay researchers are primarily concerned about the impact of nutrient runoff to the ecology of the bay. Nutrients are essential for any ecosystem, but when levels grow too high or become imbalanced, they can damage the very ecosystems they would normally sustain. Human activities, such as farming and road construction, have resulted in excess nutrient runoff into the bay. These excess nutrients fuel the growth of algal blooms. Dying algae sinks to the bottom of the bay, decomposing and lowering the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. In extreme cases, algal blooms are known to create "dead zones" where fish and aquatic plants are unable to survive. Mapping dissolved oxygen levels in the bay will help in assigning resources and undertaking mitigation efforts to prevent the proliferation of harmful algal blooms.
In this project, you'll learn how to analyze water quality data collected in estuaries. Using point measurements collected from across Chesapeake Bay, you’ll create maps of dissolved oxygen levels for the entire bay for the summer months of 2014 and 2015. First, you’ll explore the data using interactive charts to learn the general patterns and characteristics of the data. Then, you’ll interpolate these points into smooth maps showing dissolved oxygen levels. Interpolation is the process of taking data measured at specific locations and predicting the value of the dataset at every location between the measurements. Next, you’ll perform interpolation using both the Geostatistical Wizard, a guided step-by-step environment for performing spatial interpolation, and the Kernel Interpolation With Barriers tool. You'll then learn how to assess the quality of an interpolation model and how to compare two models. After completing the comparison, you'll share your findings with colleagues by making a layout poster showing your results. This poster would be ideal for use at conferences and other gatherings of experts.
|Map and explore oxygen level data using charts||Explore and evaluate dissolved oxygen level changes over time using a histogram and line charts.||20 minutes|
|Perform interpolation||Interpolate dissolved oxygen levels using the Geostatistical Wizard.||20 minutes|
|Assess and compare interpolation results||Compare and assess the accuracy of interpolation results.||20 minutes|
|Create a poster using a layout to share results||Share results and conclusions using a layout to generate a poster.||20 minutes|