February 1, 2018

Studying the coast and designing sensors: MIT Sea Grant IAP courses

MIT Sea Grant staff taught two courses this January for MIT's The Independent Activities Period, or IAP. IAP is a special four week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month. Students, staff, and faculty often use this time to explore new fields and gain experience.

Julie Simpson and Carolina Bastidas taught a course on New England Ecology where students were introduced to research methods to study the ecology of local salt marshes and rocky shores. The class surveyed a section of the New England coast, conducting transects in the freezing cold to understand the plants and animals living there. The course gave students who primarily study engineering the basis to understand the ecological services New England communities provide us.

Tom Consi taught a course called Sensing for Resilience and Sustainability. Students learned the fundamentals of how to design and build sensor systems for environmental monitoring. Whether you are analyzing data from existing sensors, building a sensor network from off the shelf parts, or designing a new sensor system, it is essential to have a good working knowledge of sensors and the electronics and software necessary to read, transmit and store sensor data. Students built sensors to monitor sound pollution, weather data, and water quality.

Pictures from the courses can be found on MIT Sea Grant's Flickr Page.

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MIT Sea Grant education engineer Tom Consi works with MIT IAP students to build a marine sensor that will measure weather above the surface of the ocean and several ocean water parameters like water temperature and salinity below the water. All the pictures from MIT's IAP course can be found on MIT Sea Grant's Flickr Page