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Sea Education Association Research

Research at SEA

Undergraduate research is a cornerstone of SEA Semester, with an emphasis on field-based study in marine and social sciences. SEA faculty and staff are active in their respective fields through grant-funded research projects, participation in professional conferences and publication in scholarly journals.

Faculty encourage SEA Semester students to contribute new aspects to ongoing research or to develop their own avenues of inquiry, as they guide students through the entire research process from defining the scope of study to final presentation of their work. Many students continue their research upon return to their home institutions, using the field data collected at SEA as the basis of capstone or senior thesis projects. Others remain involved in the research they contributed to during their time at SEA, and are subsequently invited as co-authors on presentations and publications resulting from their work. 

We invite you to explore the major avenues of research conducted by SEA Semester students and SEA faculty and staff.


Recent SEA Research in the News

Below are highlights from recent SEA research. To view all of our research-related news, click here.

SEA Semester Faculty Report on Sargassum Beaching Phenomenon

Posted on: September 07, 2016
SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
Sargassum Watch Warns of Incoming Seaweed

SEA Semester professors Deborah Goodwin, Jeffrey Schell and Amy Siuda contributed to this Eos article on efforts to track Sargassum - including by satellite and from the deck of the SSV Corwith Cramer - to better understand and mitigate the recent phenomenon of Sargassum beaching events.

Read the article

SEA Semester students find signs of hope in remote Phoenix Islands

Posted on: August 16, 2016
By: Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu
SEA Semester

We like to say SEA Semester students adventure with a purpose.  Nowhere is that more true than on our recent expedition aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans to the rarely visited Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), in the island nation of Kiribati. 

SEA Semester students, crew and scientists, led by SEA Professor of Oceanography Dr. Jan Witting, together with researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the New England Aquarium, sailed 1,600 miles across the Equatorial Pacific from Honolulu to reach the remote archipelago, one of the last coral wildernesses in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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SEA, New England Aquarium collaborate to study Phoenix Islands

Posted on: July 14, 2016
By: Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu
SEA Semester

Scientists from the New England Aquarium are currently on board the SSV Robert C. Seamans as she approaches the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with SEA Semester class S-268. Our students and scientists, together with New England Aquarium scientists, will help gather data to help protect this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the world’s last remaining coral wildernesses.  Dr. Randi Rotjan, Associate Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium, Chief Scientist of the PIPA Conservation Trust and Co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee, recently sent SEA President Peg Brandon the following letter, which summarizes our unique collaboration and explains why it’s so important….

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Video: 2016 National Science Board Public Service Award Recipient

Posted on: May 26, 2016
SEA Semester

To help spread the word about Sea Educations Association’s National Science Board Public Service Award, presented in Washington on May 5th, the National Science Foundation produced this stunning video.

Watch Video

Marine Plastics Study Gets Noticed by Environmental Journal

Posted on: April 27, 2016
By: Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu
SEA Semester

It’s been well reported in this blog and elsewhere: vast quantities of plastic and microplastic debris (pieces smaller than 5 mm) have been observed and sampled in oceans around the world.  But accurately measuring it, on a global scale, is still a major challenge. 

SEA’s Dr. Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor of Oceanography, is doing just that. Working with colleagues at other institutions, she’s employing a rigorous statistical approach to standardize a global dataset and thus better estimate the size and scope of the problem – and gauge the danger it poses to marine life.

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