BUZZ: Students Sound-off with Water Sensors

FIU School of Journalism & Mass Communication Prepares for Oct. 9 Event on Miami Beach


A few minutes ago, Pamela Cruz was dipping her audible water sensor in a plastic cup filled with a mild amount of salt water.


Now, at the edge of Biscayne Bay at Florida International University’s North Miami campus, in waters that hold higher levels of salt, her coqui sensor buzzes.

“I really like these sensors,” Cruz said. “When I heard it I got really excited because we made it work. We are a part of something big.”

Cruz and roughly 40 of her fellow high school students from MAST at FIU, a public high school that’s located on the FIU campus, spent much of Wednesday and Thursday this week testing coqui sensors in preparation for using them to measure expected flood waters next week on Miami Beach.

Thursday’s experience was to see how well the sensors could pick up salt water and, through their chirps, indicate the level of salt water in the sample.

“We are testing out the water samples based on the salinity of the water because salt conducts electricity,” said high school student Eli Sosa. “The more salt, the more electricity. We get feedback through speakers that on electricity increase the hertz.”


And with the knowledge of how to work the sensors and report their findings, students will be armed on Oct. 9 to join a group of 30 other Miami-Dade high school and college students as part of a citizen science, crowd hydrology event led by FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

More than 70 high school and college students from Miami-Dade County will spend several hours examining potential flood waters on Miami Beach on Oct. 9 as part of King Tide Day, the day when tides have led to massive flooding throughout parts of South Florida.

Students, staff and King Tide Day participants will be able to submit photographs and data about potential flooding through a mobile web app, which will help map and investigate effects of the King Tide and other flooding events throughout South Florida.

The event will be hosted by, a collaboration of four journalism professors at Florida International University, a dozen Miami area scientists, journalists, and technology professionals.

“King Tide Day presents us with a unique opportunity to measure and report on the impact of sea level rise in Florida and beyond,” said Dr. Raul Reis, Dean of FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “This event organized by reflects FIU’s commitment to positioning ourselves at the forefront of climate change studies.”

WHO: Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication
WHAT: King Tide Day
WHERE: Miami Beach
WHEN: Oct. 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.