Basic Observation Buoy (BOB): Educational Water Quality Monitoring


What is BOB?

Basic Observation Buoy (BOB) is a floating platform with capacity to carry a suite of environmental sensors. BOB can be moored to bottom or to a dock in quiet waters. Based on concepts developed by Doug Levin, Ph.D., located at NOAA’s IOOS (Integrated Ocean Observing System) Program Office, BOB is an exciting collaborative among SECOORA scientists and educators.

The BOB project involves precollege to undergraduate level student-designed, built and deployed buoys that host data collection, storage, and transmission capabilities.

The target cost for a BOB is $1500, inclusive of the buoy structure, sensor(s), data storage, and transmission

Sensors determine the parameters collected by BOB and may include meteorological parameters, as well as wind speed and conductivity/salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll A, and turbidity.

BOB I Workshop: Selecting instruments for BOB, Image Credit: Lundie Spence

Background Documents

A Manual for Building a BASIC OBSERVATION BUOY (BOB)

Basic Observation Buoy (BOB) Objectives for 2010

BOB/FLO Sensor Suggestions

Building Buoys for Observing and STEM Education (August 17, 2009 MTS-IEEE Oceans Conference Proceedings)

Build-A-Buoy (BABs) Content Based, Hands-On, Education for Kindergarteners

Guide to the Elementary Basic Observation Buoy (eBOB)

BOB in Action

Email to add your projects here!

  • BOB has been incorporated into undergraduate and graduate courses at UNC-Wilmington
  • Old Dominion University (ODU) Project SEARCH (Science Education Advancing Research of the Chesapeake Bay and its Habitats) uses BOBs to collect water quality data.  Visit the Web site for images, documents, and more.
  • There is an after school BOB Club at Beaufort High School in South Carolina.  Beaufort BOB project highlighted in the Beaufort Gazette: Student buoy project keeps Beaufort River data collection afloat
  • University of North Florida developed a"Pro-BOB" which collects EPA-quality data
  • Mary Baldwin College has a NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) project in land use and water quality for teacher education working with Governor’s School.

The Future of BOB

  • Plan future design-oriented workshops that also focus on data entry protocols and research applications of BOBs.
  • Develop a citizen scientists network for monitoring.
  • Develop hubs for professional development workshops to extend BOB as a STEM activity to K-12 educators.
  • Sustain and further the BOB community, via SECOORA Web site and social networks, e.g., blog and Facebook.

For more information

 Contact Lisa Adams at Kennesaw State University.

BOB II Workshop: Deploying a BOB with Pasco Sensors, Image Credit: Megan Treml