Vis-a-thon 2020

Narragansett Bay Zonation

Jongsun Kim

Post-Doctoral, University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography


Emma Hogarth

Jongsun Kim research topic is modeling the lower trophic level ecosystem of Narragansett Bay, including running and improving the existing coupled ecological, biogeochemical, circulation model (COSiNE/NB-ROMS).

In this project, he created a visual zoning system of three theoretical boundaries of Narragansett Bay that describe different biological and physical processes.

Jongsun Kim, Initial Proposal Note

To show changes in the ecosystem of Narragansett Bay, three theoretical boundaries were defined and modeled. The divisions were based on different biological and physical processes and are shown using different colors for different processes.

Three Theoretical Boundaries of Narragansett Bay

The nutrient and accumulation in the brown zone is highest; which decreases through the green and blue zones. The significant difference between the brown and green zones is the sediment turbidity, allowing light to increasingly penetrate from the rivers to the ocean.

Process Overview

Top to Bottom Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Map, Narragansett Bay Nutrient Process Graph, The Final Model's Layers Detail

Process Overview

Top to Bottom Final Model Making Process, Five Layers of Narragansett Bay Nutrient Zonation

During Vis-a-thon, Jongsun made two boxes which contain layered acrylic panels that use both laser cutter etching and UV printing to describe the boundaries as well as the boundary of the Bay itself.

The Final Physical Model of Narragansett Bay, Model 1

Dot-matrix patterns were etched to different degrees with a thicker pattern of dots representing the zones amount of sediment turbidity with less sediment and more light passing through as you move from the upper zone to the lower zone.

The Final Physical Model of Narragansett Bay, Model 2

The second model was created using four sheets of acrylic, with the three boundaries UV printed and one layer etched to show the entire bay. LED lights were placed at the bottom of the frame, illuminating the UV-printed colors and the etchings on the panels to show overlaps between the boundaries. In applying this concept of boundaries, the results are shown as unmoving. However, the three different zones are not physically fixed. These patterns vary from year to year, and month to month, depending on river flow, the freshwater nutrient concentration and mixing rate.

Narragansett Bay Zonation Final Model

Tools Used in the Project

Laser Cutter UV Printer Geographical Information System (GIS) Adobe Illustrator RISD Co-Works


© Narragansett Bay Zonation, 2020

This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.