Bacteria Monitoring

CSCR student researchers conduct bacteria monitoring and chemical analyses of the watershed from the fresh water that feeds Cohasset Harbor to the ocean water that refreshes our swimming beaches.

DEP_CSCR monitoring 2020

Program Requirements: Students interested in this participating in this program must complete a series of short training videos produced by IDEXX, the company from which CSCR (and scores of professional labs) purchases its bacteria monitoring supplies.

Research objective: Deliver quality-assured weekly bacteria counts at public beaches to Cohasset’s Board of Health and to the MA Dept of Environmental Protection; conduct statistical analyses of CSCR data, including statistical comparison of CSCR data to a professional lab with whom we split samples. 

Student Eligibility: This is an upper level research project that requires students to produce and deliver quality assured and quality controlled (QA/QC) data to local and state officials.

Student leaders in this project are college bound and college age students (rising college freshmen and rising college sophomores). Rising high school seniors who have a demonstrated record of responsibility and independence are also eligible for leadership roles in this project.

COVID note about Student Eligibility: If social distancing guidelines allow us to expand the number of students on a research team, this project will also be open to rising juniors in high school who aspire to be leaders of the project as they mature. Furthermore, younger but experienced CSCR students who have a track record with us and have consistently demonstrated their commitment, curiosity, and competencies will be welcome to join this project, should we be able to expand team membership to 6 or more students.

Dates: Board of Health beach testing begins Memorial Day and continues weekly until Labor Day; DEP monitoring, however, begins in mid-May and continues through the month of September.

Meets: 7:00 – 10:00 am, Monday – Friday, depending upon site(s) for which the students are responsible for monitoring. 

The IDEXX Water Monitoring Academy: The company from whom we purchase our bacteria supplies is IDEXX. They have created a series of tutorials and quizzes about their products- the chemistry behind the product (how it works), the methodologies or protocols to follow, and the product that best fits a monitoring purpose. Students are required to complete the courses in the Water Academy and submit their transcript when completed. To begin working your way through the video series, click the IDEXX video Academy link to register.

Don’t forget to collect screenshots (as seen below) for placement in the portfolio you will want to build throughout the project. Portfolios can then be submitted to your high school science dept as a petition for school credit or department recognition, per your school’s policies.