Find Expeditions Start an Expedition About Open Explorer

Marine Science Camp

June 22 2015
This summer Marine Science Camp will focus on using technology to explore, with an emphasis on local habitats. Our "Underwater Investigator" campers will practice the scientific method—from forming questions to discovering answers about their local ecosystems. They will also have the opportunity to design their own add-ons to attach to the OpenROV that will help them study things in a new way—such as collecting plankton or mud that they can analyze on our ship or shoreside labs.

June 22 2015


Accept contributions for your expediton by providing us a few details. We will create an account on your behalf at WePay. If you haven't already registered with WePay, they will send you an email to complete your registration.

Funded by:
Preparation Stage

The kit has arrived!!! We actually got to visit the workshop and watch the magic in action. Loved watching the laser cutter at work pumping out parts. Thank you!

There are so many cool ways to explore! We are happy to have the beginnings of a new "exhibit" featuring technology used to explore the ocean. The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose just donated an awesome model of a SCUBA suit that could take divers deeper than they can go without protection against the pressure. We hope that this will inspire our campers (and all visitors) to explore and imagine the ways to reach new depths of discovery. The suit comes with an extra arm attachment with a working claw!


Underwater Investigators do projects every summer to explore the camp's theme. Last year we learned about how the Earth, and its inhabitants, have changed and continue to change. We discussed greenhouse gasses, their affects on climate, and how carbon dioxide also affects the ocean (acidification).

Part of our discovery of carbon dioxide and its affects included several demonstrations of the sources of carbon dioxide: respiration, combustion, and chemical reactions. Once we captured some carbon dioxide, we could watch its affects on water by bubbling it into a solution with a color-changing pH indicator.

Check out our campers capturing CO2 from a chemical reaction in the video below!

This year's theme is science technology and the scientific method--I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Reviewing some archives and found this promo for MSI! Very cool to see what has changed and what has stayed the same about our programs. Hands-on exploration will always be the best way to learn about the environment!

That sure looks like fun! MUD!!

During summer camp and our other programs, we show student scientists how to collect ecological data in a standardized ways in the field. Two tools that we use are transects (collecting data along a line) and quadrats (collecting data from a grid). Transects can be used through many habitats, along a beach or through a deep sea trench.

We sometimes combine methods, creating a grid along a transect line. This method allows us to limit the scope of our data collection in a systematic way; we collect data from quadrats along a transect line at regular intervals. From this data we can extrapolate and make comparisons. This is also an excellent tool to help students look more closely.

Pictured below are students using quadrats along a transect through a rocky intertidal area. They were able to distinguish between intertidal zones as they moved along the transect, and also found some cool animals (a sculpin and an anemone).


So cool! You should definitely check out Paul's work on setting up a transect for marine monitoring:

Starting to get (even more) excited about our Underwater Investigator camp. The theme of "marine science technology" is super fun and an exciting excuse to bust out all kinds of cool gadgets!

In addition to the ROV, we will be using light traps (for plankton), plankton nets, and Van Dorn bottles, some pictured below. Also thinking about getting out some more hydrology equipment, sand/mud coring tubes, and using photography in more projects, plus MSI's oft-used Peterson mud grab, otter trawls, and microscopes.


We should get @squishnak out there. She's part of a group developing a plankton sampler for OpenROV.

We had so much fun with the ROV demo on Friday! Our summer camp scouts (and their parents) had a lot of knowledge to share, and tons of excellent questions about the robot. A big thanks to the OpenExplorer team who came down to show off your bots and get our campers excited.

Thoughts for summer camp: we'll need plenty of time to practice setting up the ROV and piloting it. In addition to studying life in the Bay, we may have to explore some questions in the aquarium! The leopard sharks were fun to observe in the tank.


We are excited to test drive an OpenROV this Friday with our "Summer Camp Scouts"! The "Camp Scouts" are our most dedicated marine science campers who are helping us to discover new field trips and activities to enjoy during the summer.

We welcome our OpenExplorer followers and MSI Members to join us this Friday. Please visit our Eventbrite page: and use the code "gofish" to RSVP. (The fee for this event will help us reach our goal toward getting our very own OpenROV.)

Our summer camp scouts have helped us out with some great projects. During our last event we dissected some fish, sharks, and rays, from the Bay. During camp and throughout the year, our students study live animals in from our aquarium or as we catch them on our ship or in a seine. We are looking forward to being able to study the Bay in a new way with the ROV!


Is this a skate or a ray? It's gross and awesome.


This is a Bay Ray. The specimen were freeze-dried and reconstituted. We catch them on our ship and keep them in our aquarium--they visit schools and field trips enjoy seeing them when they visit us. If they die in captivity there is another opportunity to teach!

We definitely had some future surgeons in our group who did an excellent job looking into fish anatomy.

(PS: they smelled as gross as they looked!)

Expedition Background

Marine Science Institute’s mission is to promote respect and stewardship through experiential learning. What better way to experience the marine world than to dive in!

During the summer, our Marine Science Camp will focus on using technology to explore. Our campers will practice the scientific method—from forming questions to discovering answers about their local ecosystems.

With the support of OpenROV and its sponsors this summer will only be the beginning of the adventure as we inspire Bay Area students to look closer at the nature that surrounds us. The San Francisco Bay isn’t just for driving over on a bridge anymore. Come explore with us!


Science Camp. Very cool!

Booyah. Science, Engineering, and Exploring, There is Ocean Hope yet!!

MSI is soooooo 21st century! I want to go to Marine Science Camp!


@dmlmsi I wish I was in middle school again, too! I may be biased as the writer of the curriculum, but I would have LOVED the combo of tinkering + being outside + studying animals.

Other parts of middle school....