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A Day in the Life of the Hudson River — 2014 Edition

by Kim Martineau

Once a year, Piermont Pier becomes a field station, and local students, a team of environmental investigators. Last week scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory led students through a series of field experiments designed to teach them more about the Hudson River. The students took water chemistry measurements and compared them to the Hudson’s tidal cycles. They cored sediments from the river bottom and pictured their stretch of the Hudson covered in glaciers. They mapped out how high the river may rise under several CO2-emissions scenarios.

Their investigations led to many questions by the end of the day.

“How can we slow down sea level rise?”
“Can we see extinction events in sediment cores?”
“Does plankton abundance vary with water temperature?”

Now in its 12th year, the event, called “A Day in the Life of the Hudson River,” was organized by the New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Past projects have included participants wearing waders and catching fish and invertebrates in seine nets, tracking the river’s tides and currents and examining water chemistry and quality. More than a field trip, “Day in the Life” allows students to use hands-on field techniques to describe their communities’ natural resources, and explore how their piece of the river fits into the larger ecosystem.

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Kim Martineau is a Science Writer at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Earth Institute, part of Columbia University.

Photo Credit: Kim Martineau

See also: LDEO, DEC Help Students Get Into The Hudson, 10/9/2013

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