University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


First Days at Camp – Team-building & Exploring Ocean Concepts

Team-building & Exploring Ocean Concepts

Team-building & Exploring Ocean Concepts

Blog post by Shaniqua Gladney & Makenna Martin with photos provided by OCG Staff.

The campers and staff have been very busy the last two days learning about each other and the ocean! We use the first days of camp to introduce important ocean concepts to provide the campers with a strong foundation of knowledge to build upon. They will see these same concepts in action as they venture out on field trips later this week.

The Ocean Concept activities took place at the Clam Bayou Education Center where campers rotated through six ocean depth “zones”: Beach and Littoral, Coastal, Epipepelagic, Mesopelagic, Bathypelagic, and the Abyssopelagic zone. The different zones of the ocean range from the surface, all the way to the deep sea, which is approximately 4000 m.

The students explored the main characteristics of each zone and what tools oceanographers can use to study each zone. Some of the characteristics include depth range, light penetration, pressure, oxygen concentrations, sedimentation rates, nutrient concentrations, food sources, and animals that live within these zones. All of these characteristics affect what organisms can live in these areas, and what adaptations they might need to survive different ecological pressures.

Campers and staff having fun with a team-building exercise

Campers and staff having fun with a team-building exercise

Throughout their journey, the students were able to use gear and instrumentation that true oceanographers use to collect data for their personal research. These lessons were designed to prepare every girl for the adventures that they will encounter over the next three weeks as Oceanographers-in-Training.

Clam Bayou nature preserve was filled with so much excitement and curiosity, helping to drown out the gloomy, overcast day in St. Pete. The students all displayed inquiring minds, asked many questions, and showed that they were absorbing all the knowledge that the science mentors had to offer. Through our daily wrap-up session, a trivia challenge, the girls showed that they grasped many difficult oceanic concepts, some that take scientists years to understand!

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Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.