Atlantic Basin Water Critters & Water Quality Tests

Watch the super short videos below to learn about small marine life and how to test for some water conditions next to PortSide's ship the MARY A. WHALEN.

All this is explained by Emma Garrison. She has a background in marine biology and is a Brooklyn native passionate about the critters who manage to live and thrive in urban environments.

As an educator at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy,  Emma participated in a PortSide program exploring  this marine life with the Stuyvesant High School Environmental Club.

Water Quality tests

1.   Measuring Turbidity
2.   Measuring Oxygen in the water
3.   Measuring Nitrate

Water Critters

1.   Sea Squirt
2.   Sea Squirts and a Shrimp
3.   Pacific Shore Crab
4.   Sea Squirt: You Can See its Heart and Guts
5.   Dissecting a Sea Squirt
6.   Viewing the inside of a Sea Squirt
7.   Sexual Reproduction of Sea Squirts
8.   Sea Creatures that are Eaten
9.   Isopod Related to a Cockroach
10. Polychete Worm
11. Oyster Life Span

On Election Day, 11/6/18, we spotted a great blue heron in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook for the first time. This has inspired us to start a bird list of birds we spotted here.

If you want to add to this, please send us photos of birds you see here. Bird watching is a great thing to do while you wait for the NYC Ferry!  

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great website to help identify birds and learn more about them. We will be adding photos and links as we grow the list below.


Barn swallows, though not water birds, live under Pier 12 (the cruise terminal pier) and in an now-defunct drain pipe on the MARY A. WHALEN.  They arrive sometime in April (April 9 to 22 is the range we have recorded) and leave around August 22 to 24.

Have you heard of whiffling? This is a way that geese and ducks manage aerodynamics and find a way to lower altitude rapidly.  Check out this video of whiffling.

Street litter hurts water animals!

If you throw your cigarette butts onto the street (or other litter), that flows into the harbor when it rains, and fish and ducks eat the junk, and it's bad for them. Please don't litter!


Measuring Turbidity

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Measuring Oxygen in the water

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Measuring Nitrate

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Sea Squirts and a Shrimp

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Pacific Shore Crab

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Sea Squirt you can see its heart and guts

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Dissecting a Sea Squirt

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Viewing the inside of a Sea Squirt

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Sexual Reproduction of Sea Squirts

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Sea Creatures that are Eaten

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Isopod Related to a Cockroach

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Oyster Life Span

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