Aquatic science camp teaches high school students about ecosystems

Summer Aquatics Camp
David Keyser, a Liberty Academy student, tests a treated water sample in the UHV biology lab during the spring Aquatic Science Camp. The university plans to host its Aquatic Science Summer Camp on Aug. 11 and 18.

The University of Houston-Victoria is hosting a free summer camp that will explore humanity’s impact on aquatic ecosystems.

The Aquatic Science Summer Camp will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 11 and 18 in the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The camp is funded by a grant from the Trull Foundation.

Dmitri Sobolev

“This camp is an exciting opportunity for students to explore how the actions of humans can impact the world around us,” said Dmitri Sobolev, a UHV associate professor of biology. “By seeing that impact themselves, they can gain a better understanding of how human activities and the natural world are connected.”

On Aug. 11, students will go to the Tres Palacios River to collect water samples, which will be treated in UHV’s biology labs. On Aug. 18, students will test the samples to measure photosynthesis and oxygen levels.

The goal of the experiments is to show how fertilizer used upstream can have a negative impact on aquatic life, Sobolev said. Water can only hold a certain amount of oxygen, and fertilizer runoff from agriculture boosts the growth of microscopic plant-like organisms. That overgrowth eventually dies, which depletes the oxygen and leads to the death of other organisms that need oxygen to survive.

“Students will get a clear look at how something as simple as fertilizing fields to grow food or cotton can have an unintended consequence on natural ecosystems,” Sobolev said. 

There is room for up to 20 students in the camp. To learn more about the camp and how to sign up, contact Sobolev at 361-570-4218 or  

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.