Turbid Waters

SoundGeneration high school interns went out on our research vessel yesterday to test the waters of the Long Island Sound! They took a range of measurements to keep track of the quality of the water, including temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Here, students use a black and white checkered disk, or a Secchi disk, to measure turbidity by lowering it over the side of the boat into the water. Turbidity tells us how clear or cloudy the water is. If the disk can be lowered very far into the water and still remain visible, then the water is very clear and not  turbid! Several factors can influence turbidity, such as wind and rain churning up sediments on the bottom. The water in the Long Island Sound tends to be much more turbid than clear tropical water because there are a lot more plankton, microscopic plants and animals, floating in our water. More plankton means a healthy Long Island Sound ecosystem, since they’re at the bottom of the food chain!