For the past eleven years, AP Biology students at Seekonk High School have been required to complete an independent research project to fulfill the Ecology unit of the course during the summer prior to the course. Students must apply what they learned in their readings to a local ecosystem, Burr’s Pond, which is attached to the Runnins River. Students spend time at the pond area during the summer documenting organisms, evidence of population dynamics, animal behavior, trophic levels, nutrient cycling, etc. Students put together a Burr’s Pond Summer Field Research Project Portfolio to be submitted on the first day of school. Student projects are displayed at the town library and supported by the Seekonk Land Trust.
Students then go to the Runnins River which is connected to Burr’s Pond during the first days of school. Students complete watershed surveys, deploy & retrieve Minisonde Probes at sites up and downstream of the pond. The probe is provided by the Watershed Access Lab at Bridgewater State College. Data from the probe (dissolved oxygen, oxygen saturation, pH, salinity) over a 24 hour period is graphed using Excell and analyzed in lieu of AP Lab 12, Dissolved Oxygen & Primary Productivity. The minisonde data is highly accurate and reproducible which allows us to engage in an ongoing survey of the watershed. This is the sixth year that the AP Biology students from Seekonk High School have presented their data at the Watershed Access Lab Annual Symposium Bridgewater State University.