‘Ecosystems Around the World’ is focus for Colombian Student Projects

EarthzineOriginal, St. George's School 2013 VPS

Seniors gather to reflect during the kickoff of the ecosystems poster project. Image Credit: Maria Carolina Rojas.

Seniors gather to reflect during the kickoff of the ecosystems poster project. Image Credit: Maria Carolina Rojas.

For the second year in a row, high school-aged students at St. George’s School in Bogotá, Colombia, participated in a poster project, “Earth Observation: Science from Another Perspective.” Fifty five students, organized into nine groups, focused on Ecosystems, one of the Societal Benefit Areas from the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The result was the creation of a scientific poster from each group.
The objective of this literature review project was to identify an ecosystem somewhere in the world with a current problem that could be addressed through Earth observation tools and technology.
Part of the student research, in addition to conventional research activities like reading about Earth observation related to the chosen ecosystem, was to send a series of questions to selected expert scientists. The objective of this exercise was to receive feedback about the progress of the projects, and engage in a conversation with the international scientific community.
As the result of an Earthzine review process, a number of posters were selected to be presented here. Earthzine hopes to continue to work with high schools around the world to facilitate similar student research projects.
The Spanish version of this text can be found here.

Poster Projects

Reef Decline as a Result of Climate Change?

Cropped image from the reef decline poster. Credit: St. George's SchoolDuring the past 10 years, there has been climate change, which has altered the marine environment and its characteristics. These modifications, which can be monitored via satellites, have damaged the symbiotic relation between the zooxanthellae algae and the coral.
Richard Chasey, posted on April 23rd, 2013

The Possible end of the Aral Sea

Cropped part of the Aral Sea poster. Credit: St. George's  SchoolSince the government of the Soviet Union decided to change the course of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers for irrigation in the 1960s, the Aral sea has shrunk rapidly, becoming one of the worst ecological tragedies of the last century. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has caused a lot of problems in the ecosystem. It has reduced its area by about 90 percent, and a lot of species have died. Everything occurred because of political decisions in changing the river course for irrigation.
Richard Chasey, posted on April 23rd, 2013

Impact of Farming on the Great Barrier Reef

Image from the Great Barrier Reef Poster/ Credit: St/ George's SChoolThe agricultural activity that takes place in Australia near the Great Barrier Reef leads to river pollution, which is then transported to the Reef. This has a series of negative effects on the ecosystem, especially on species of hard coral.
Richard Chasey, posted on April 23rd, 2013

Mexican Gulf Oil Spill Ecocide

Cropped image from the Gulf of Mexico Poster. Credit; St. George's SChoolThe oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon well had a huge impact on its surrounding ecosystem. This includes the death of animals covered in oil and a general imbalance on the ecosystem, as phytoplankton which are the basis of the food chain were deeply harmed.
Richard Chasey, posted on April 23rd, 2013

Organizers at St. George’s School wish to thank the following people for their generous dedication and valuable contribution to the project:
Temilola (Lola) Fatoyinbo, Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist
Biospheric Sciences Branch
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Liane S. Guild, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Ecosystem Science
Biospheric Science Branch, Earth Science Division
NASA Ames Research Center
Stefan Loehr, Ph.D.
Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Adelaide, Australia
Juan L. Torres-Pérez, Ph.D.
Marine Biologist
NASA Post Doctoral Program Fellow
NASA-AMES Research Center
Earth Science Division
Sherry L. Palacios, Ph.D.
Biological Oceanographer
NASA Post Doctoral Program Fellow
NASA Ames Research Center