Students Track A Buoy Drifting Near the Hawaiian Islands

  • 1 February 2012
Students Track A Buoy Drifting Near the Hawaiian Islands
A comparison of the fish communities
Fig. 10.2. A comparison of the fish communities between the beginning of the Ecosystem Survey taken in the Barents Sea in 2004 (a) and the survey in 2012 (b), indicates a significant change in distribution. The Atlantic (red) and central (yellow) communities (boreal fish species) have shifted north and east, taking over areas previously occupied by the Arctic (blue) community (arctic fish species). Data are available only for the shaded areas. (After Fig. 1 in Fossheim et al. 2015.)

A drifting buoy was adopted and deployed in November 2011 as part of NOAA's Adopt a Drifter Program, and is being followed by students as it tracks northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. In partnership with the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, HI, students from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, HI, along with two schools in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshall Islands High School and Majuro Cooperative High School), co-adopted a NOAA drifting buoy. 

Two students and a teacher from Leilehua High School were present at the launch of the drifter more than three miles out from Pearl Harbor while on board the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Research Vessel Kohola. Jennifer Faught, a member of the Adopt a Drifter Program team, was also aboard the vessel to assist with the launch.

The drifters transmit hourly sea surface temperature data and their GPS coordinates, and reveal the patterns of global ocean currents, which can be viewed at NOAA's Adopt a Drifter Program tracks the adopted buoys by satellite and students can plot their drifter's data, along with data from a network of 1,250 drifters, to discover things like how sea surface temperatures compare between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The drifters' path also helps students learn how the ocean circulates in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

For more information, contact: 
Diane Stanitski
Jen Faught




1315 East-West Highway Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


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