Lab 2.6 Display of Oceanographic Data Assessment

Estimated time to complete: 20 minutes
Materials needed (none)

How well have you learned the data skills (graph interpretation) covered in this exercise? If you have mastered them you are ready to go on to more advanced modules and use graphs to understand how the ocean operates. Test your knowledge by examining the graphs below, and answering the questions.

  1. The below graph shows pressure data collected at the bottom of the ocean in the Southern Ocean, near Antarctica [source: Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level]. Pressure changes as the water gets deeper over the sensor. Can you see any pattern(s) in the pressure data? If you do, describe the pattern(s), without worrying about the reason for the pattern(s)

These data are from the Oregon coast. Examine the figure and answer questions 2-4 based off it:

  1. What are the highest and lowest values of temperature?
  2. What are the highest and lowest values of dissolved oxygen?
  3. Is there a relationship BETWEEN dissolved oxygen and temperature? If so, describe the relationship.


  1. Based on this vertical section of temperature, choose the correct station profile graph for the location marked X

The map below shows the abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off of the coast of New Jersey in August 2005 [source: Jaclyn Toth Sullivan, Stockton University]. Scientists used aerial surveys to locate groups of dolphins (called pods) and counted the number of dolphins per pod. Each bubble represents the number of dolphins in one pod.


Use the bubble map to answer questions 6-9 below:

  1. At what latitude and longitude was the largest pod of dolphins located?
  2. How many dolphins were in the largest pod?
  3. Were more dolphins found north or south of 39° 30’ N?
  4. Were the largest pods close to shore or further out in the ocean? (note: land is light gray, water is darker gray)


  1. Imagine that you measured the concentration of dissolved oxygen at a range of depths at one location in the ocean and you would like to show which depth has the lowest oxygen concentration (called the “oxygen minimum zone”). What type of graph should you use?
  2. If you wanted to see how the oxygen minimum zone changed depth across the ocean, what type of graph should you use?
  3. If you wanted to compare over the course of the year the change in salinity and the change in temperature in an estuary what type of graph should you use?
  4. A series of research cruises measured the mass of microplastics in plankton tows throughout the Caribbean Sea.
    • What graph type should the researchers use to display their results?
    • The researchers also measured the concentration of PCBs (a type of pollutant). How could they graph their data to see if there is a relationship between the amount of microplastic and the concentration of PCBs?