Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Chris Harmon

Mentor: Patricia Lein


Title: The Global Change in Ocean Chemistry


I choose to do this project after hearing a lecture about the effects of changing water chemistry in Advanced Marine Science. I decided that I wanted to learn more about the subject of water chemistry. Over the period of a few months, I went to local bodies of water to collect data for my project. I focused mainly on the levels of dissolved oxygen and pH in the water as indicators of changing water chemistry. Afterwards, I contacted Suffolk County Health Department to gather historical data about the water chemistry of Peconic and Shinnecock Bays.  My project culminated in a series of essays about this issue and its impact on global ocean health and featured a case study about the health of Long Island’s marine system. My research is displayed in the form of a scientific poster. Through this work, I hope to raise awareness about the need to protect the health of our oceans.


Scientific Poster (Poster, Screenshot)

PowerPoint Presentation


I had a lot of trouble deciding on a topic for my senior project. At first I wanted to do something in business because I figured that I wanted to pursue a career in business and it would help me if I could learn a little bit more about the different aspects of business while I was still in high school. However, after thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided that business was not something I wanted as the subject of my senior project. Fortunately for me, in Advanced Marine Science class we had a visitor one day: Alana Mitchell. She came in to talk to us about her new book and to tell the class a little bit about the dangers that the world is facing if we do not change the way we look at the Earth. After she left I talked to Patty about adopting water chemistry as my senior project. I had always been interested in the ocean and how it worked, and diving into the subject of water chemistry made it possible for me to complete my senior project, but also learn a lot more about a subject I was genuinely interested in. As soon as I sent my senior project proposal to Ms. Parkes, I talked to Patty about what to do for my product. We decided very quickly that it was best for me to create a scientific poster because I needed space to have text, diagrams and graphs. But I wanted the project to not only be about research, I wanted to do some work in the field. For the first several months of my time working on my senior project, I drove to several of the local bodies of water on Long Island. The purpose of these trips were to collect water and bring them back to my house so they could be tested for their levels of pH and dissolved oxygen. Another reason for this was because I wanted to add a section to my poster that described how Long Island’s local water’s were being affected. However, after collecting the data I made a big mistake. It was not until late December that I realized my mistake: I forgot to double-check the data to make sure it made sense. When I did double check the data, I realized that it was wrong because I had calibrated the probes incorrectly. However, this proved to be a small problem because I had received data from Suffolk County Health Department that detailed the dissolved oxygen and temperature levels of Peconic Bay and Shinnecock Bay dating back to the 1970’s. After I finished collecting the data, I went to work writing the different subjects that would make up my paper: water chemistry, climate change, the factors that change water chemistry, my local case study and the impact of changing water chemistry. I went through several drafts of each of these subjects until there were very few edits left. Then I added them all to a PowerPoint that was 56 inches wide by 30 inches tall for my poster. When I added the papers to the PowerPoint, I then wrote a mission state that detailed what I did, why I did it and my objectives while doing it. When I completed that, I added the mission to the top left corner of the PowerPoint. After that, I went searching for pictures that would help illustrate some of the points I described in my essays. When I was satisfied with the number of pictures I found, I added them as well to my poster. Then, using the data I had received from Suffolk County Health Department, I went to work putting the data into a graph. At first I was using a program called Grapher, where I had to input the data into a table manually. However, I was later saved from this process by Patty letting me know that since the data was on excel, I could have excel create the graph for me. When excel had finished create the graphs, I inserted them into the PowerPoint and dragged them into a position that flowed well with the rest of the PowerPoint. When that was finished, the only left to do was to put all the sources I used during the process of my senior project and add them to a Works Consulted page. Microsoft word made this process really easy because all I had to do was input the necessary information into “Citations” tab in the word document and it would create the “Works Consulted” for me. When my PowerPoint was completed, I emailed it to East End Blueprint Company to have it printed.

Works Consulted

Cloern, J. E. (2007, December 18). Eutrophication. Retrieved January 3, 2010 from The Encyclopedia:

Covalent Bonds. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2009 from

Davis, C. (2007, September). Ocean acidification - another effect of global warming. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from Time for Change:

Dissolved Oxygen. (n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2009 from Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education:

Doney , S. C. (n.d.). The Dangers of Ocean Acidification. Retrieved December 18, 2009 from Scientific American:

Drop in ocean pH confirmed. (2005, July 1). Retrieved December 30, 2009 from Royal Society of Chemistry:

Enviromental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Basic Information. Retrieved January 20, 2010 from Environmental Protection Agency:

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). pH Scale. Acid Rain .

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Science. Retrieved December 27, 2009 from Climate Change:

Eutrophication. (2005, March). Retrieved December 7, 2009 from Library ThinkQuest:

Eutrophication creating death zones in oceans . (2008, May 18). Retrieved December 17, 2009 from Merinews:

Evironmental Protection Agency. (2007, June 8). What is pH? Retrieved December 17, 2009 from Acid Rain:

Gattuso, J.-P. (2009, December 9). Relative influences of ocean acidification and temperature on intertidal barnacle post-larvae at the northern edge of their geographic distribution. Retrieved January 4, 2010 from Ocean Acidification:

Greenpeace. (n.d.). Global Warming. Retrieved January 20, 2010 from Greenpeace:

Hozyash, K. (2009, November 18). Who owns the dead zone? Retrieved December 28, 2009 from Rodale Institute:

Human Impact Triggers Massive Extinctions. (1999, August 2). Retrieved January 5, 2010 from

Investigating the Ocean Algae Blooms. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2010 from National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service:

Land Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2009 from National Estuary Program:

Layton, J. (2004, February 3). What is Ricin? Retrieved December 29, 2009 from How Stuff Works?:

Lenntech. (n.d.). Water chemistry FAQ Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved December 5, 2009 from Water Treatment Solution.

Lenntech. (n.d.). Water pollution FAQ Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved December 28, 2009 from Water Treatment Solutions:

Long Island Sound Study. (2009). Retrieved January 4, 2010 from New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Comission:

McFadden, R. (n.d.). pH- The Power of Hydrogen. Retrieved December 28, 2009 from Coastwide Laboratories:

Mother Jones. (2006, March 1). The Eutrophication Process.

Narten, T. (n.d.). Beginner FAQ: Practical Water Chemistry. Retrieved December 12, 2009 from

NASA. (2009, September 16). DEAD ZONE: Nutrient-rich sendiment flowing out of the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico can be seen from space. Gulf of Mexico.

NASA. (n.d.). The Ocean Heat Trap. Retrieved December 15, 2009 from Ocean:

Natural Resources Defense Council. (n.d.). Glossary of Environmental Terms. Retrieved January 20, 2010 from

Nelson, B. (2009, September 16). Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' to grow dramatically due to federal biofuel mandate. Retrieved December 27, 2009 from Mother Nature Network:

Ocean Acidification- Another effect of Global Warming. (2007, September). Retrieved January 2, 2009 from Time for Change:

O'Connor, M. I. (2006, April 27). Temperature control of larval dispersal and the implications for marine ecology, evolution, and conservation. Retrieved December 24, 2009 from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

Peconic Estuary Program. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2009 from Department of Environmental Conservation:

Perlman, H. (2009, October 20). How much water is there on, in, and above the Earth? Retrieved January 6, 2010 from US Geological Survey:

Role of the Ocean in Climate. (n.d.). Retrieved December 24, 2009 from Office of Climate Observation:

Rosenszeig, C. (2008). Sound Health 2008: {Climate Change}. Retrieved January 7, 2010 from Long Island Sound Study:

Self-Purification. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2010 from The Water Cycle:

Shah, A. (2000, February 21). Climate Change Affects Biodiversity. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from Global Issues:

Shah, A. (2009, November 18). Why Is Biodiversity Important? Who Cares? Retrieved December 15, 2009 from Global Issues:

Suffolk County Health Department. (1977-2007). Shinnecock Bay 77-07. Office of Ecology.

Tanner, C. (2008, September 1). Assessing the Role of pH and Elevated Temperature on Larval Development, Population Demographics and Connectivity of Three Coastal Mussel Species in San Diego. Retrieved December 29, 2009 from National Center for Environmental Research:

Than, K. (2009, January 28). Global Warming to Create "Permanent" Ocean Dead Zones? Retrieved December 15, 2009 from National Geographic News:

The Acid Ocean – the Other Problem with CO2 Emission. (2005, July 2). Retrieved December 27, 2009 from Real Climate:

The Encyclopedia of Earth. (2007, December 18). Fish Kill in the Salton Sea as a result of eutrophication.

US Geological Survey. (2008, March 13). Eutrophication. Retrieved December 7, 2009 from Toxic Substances Hydrology Program:

Water Chemistry. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2009 from Science at University of Waterloo:

Water Chemistry. (n.d.). Retrieved December 26, 2009 from

What are the Effects of Water Pollution on the Environment? (n.d.). Retrieved December 29, 2009 from Doityourself:

Zeidner, J. (n.d.). Finding a Cure for Brown Tide. Retrieved December 28, 2009 from

Community Member (Details)

Kim Shaw: Principal Environmental AnalystOffice of EcologySuffolk County Department of Health Services

Nancy Panarese: Senior Public Health Sanitarian, Office of Ecology. Suffolk County Depart of Health Services