Pilot Project

Summer 2001
Pilot Research
Pilot Goals
Pilot Methods
Pilot Benefits
Funding Needs
Related Projects
Pilot Mgt


2001 Pilot



The overall goal of GlobalHeartbeat project is to develop an innovative, multi-disciplinary marine education program for high school and undergraduate college students. The program includes hands-on, inquiry based laboratory experiments, curriculum guides and materials, and an extensive use of the World Wide Web for sharing of information, data presentation and analysis, and dialogue between  scientists and students. It utilizes a well-respected ecotoxicological research technique in which recording and analyzing crab's heartbeats are used as indicators of ocean health. This is the basis for  developing science education activities, materials, curriculum, and an online forum.


  • To build awareness in students of what is happening environmentally in urban oceans and how it affects health of living organisms in coastal communities by starting with the CA coastal area and expanding participation to other regions.
  • To increase understanding how marine organisms serve as biomarkers/early indicators of  pollution
  • To take established scientific procedures and make them more readily available, cost-effective, usable, and understandable for the education arena
  • To help students use authentic research tasks and make real contributions to scientific body of knowledge as they assist scientists in gathering additional data (similar to GLOBE)
  • To develop and distribute multidisciplinary curriculum materials and Web-based resources that promote education about coastal pollution and human health
  • To establish an interactive Web-based network for information dissemination, data posting from the crab monitoring research, and dialogue among participants.
  • To build science-school partnerships
  • To promote formal and informal educators' involvement in these topics by sharing activities and ideas among  various centers of learning and the Sea Grant network



The program involves the following activities:

  • Training educators to use already established crab heartbeat procedures
  • Developing a Web site and related resources,
  • Developing a database for posting and sharing data,
  • Creating a curriculum guide for teachers and students
  • Conducting a pilot program for university students
  • Adapting these procedures for school implementation and implementing the program in four high school sites
  • Evaluating both the university pilot course and the first year of the high school program



The oceans are a valuable resource and affect all of us in one way or another. Oceans are particularly stressed in urban areas, where coastal ecosystems suffer from environmental problems such as habitat loss or degradation, toxic chemicals, pathogen contaminants, and overall decline in water quality and biodiversity. It is increasingly important to reach out to the public, in general, but more specifically to young people, and particularly in urban ocean areas, to increase awareness, education, and concern about the value of the marine environment.

We need more programs that encourage students  to be citizen-stewards in protecting the future of the oceans. This awareness can be fostered through bringing what has been learned scientifically in the research community and "translating it" into  environmental education curricular materials and programs for schools. This project proposes to develop innovative and cost-effective education materials based on monitoring of coastal marine organisms to educate students about the ocean. Global Heartbeat will help students understand the connections between environmental health and water quality and the health of living organisms, including human health as it pertains to their own coastal communities. We envision students, educators, and scientists around the world, linked in online learning spaces in which they interact and collaborate in research about our oceans. 

The  College of Exploration, 230 Markwood Drive, Potomac Falls, VA 20165
Tel: (1) 703 433 5760      Email: peter@coexploration.net