The Student Drift Study

Cobscook Bay is well known for its dramatic tidal range and strong currents. During the Nature Conservancy's Cobscook Bay Ecosystem Study, a computer model was designed by David Brooks of Texas A&M University and others to simulate the three dimensional circulation in the Bay. The predictions made by this model have not been extensively confirmed in the field. The Drift Study was conceived and designed to allow for groundtruthing of the model while involving high school students in a meaningful scientific project. Students at Shead High School designed and built the drifters and continue to participate in all aspects of the study, from data collection to data analysis.

Project partners include the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Cobscook Bay Resource Center, Maine Sea Grant, The Nature Conservancy, Shead High School, Texas A&M, and WCTC Marine Technology Center. Cobscook Bay fishermen have donated their time and their boats to this effort.

For each trial, drifters were dropped between Gove Point, Lubec and Birch Point, Perry at the start of flood tide and tracked for about six hours (one-half a tidal cycle) using skiffs and hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) units. The data collected were brought into ArcView software and used to create maps. Click on the links below to view maps of each drifter trial.

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