Southern Florida: Study Site For Coastal Communities

Focus questions:

Relation to the Theme: The key goal of this year's expedition is for students to determine where life is most concentrated on Earth (coastal communities), the dynamics and relationships that exist there, and the possible effects of an ever-increasing human population on those communities.

This year's curriculum builds on the knowledge gained during JASON VI, Island Earth. JASON VI took students on a live expedition to the Hawaiian Islands. There, scientists studied the formation of islands and compared this process with the formation of planets, particularly Earth. Volcanism on Earth produced water, gas, and land, creating the conditions for life to begin. Life continued to evolve as organisms became isolated and adapted to their surroundings. Volcanism and other forms of isolation occur on other planets and satellites, but Earth is the only "island" in our solar system able to sustain life.

JASON VII takes the next step by asking, "If Earth is the only planet in the solar system able to sustain life, where on this `island' is life most concentrated? What natural and artificial processes are occurring in those parts of the world, and how can we ensure that those areas will continue to sustain life?" To examine these questions, JASON VII will travel to southern Florida, an area composed of coastal communities including the Everglades, Florida Bay, the Florida Keys, coral reefs, and relic reefs in the Strait of Florida. The area is ideal for conducting baseline studies to determine the natural cycles and relationships in coastal communities and wetlands. Because southern Florida is heavily populated, it provides researchers with a study site to explore the effects of human activities on aquatic systems. Much of the technology needed to conduct this research is available in Florida-including the National Undersea Research Center/University of North Carolina-Wilmington Undersea Laboratory, AQUARIUS; fiber-optic cables; and microwave towers.


Rainbow Line

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Gene Carl Feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (
Revised: 30 Oct 1995