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Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

April 19, 2018

To the Sargasso Sea we go!

Kerry Whittaker, Chief Scientist


Fresh air and the good conversation of shipmates

Ship's Log

Current Position
Docked in Nassau, Bahamas

Course & Speed

Sail Plan

Hot and humid

Souls on board

Our first full day aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer with all 31 souls aboard! We spent a busy day getting oriented to the ship with safety drills and an introduction to life and operations on board. Tomorrow, SEA class C-279 will finally head to sea. We will depart the Bahamas on our way to Bermuda, and ultimately into New York City.  But, it's what's between the port stops that really matters! The class of C-279 sees this cruise track as a perfect opportunity to sail through the Sargasso Sea. The Sargasso Sea is a high-seas region, much of which lies beyond the jurisdiction of any single nation. The Sargasso Sea is bound by currents that circulate the North Atlantic Ocean. These currents, known as the North Atlantic gyre, restrict the Sargasso Sea from nutrients, leading to low productivity. Because of this, most of the Sargasso Sea is considered a 'blue desert.'  Yet, the Sargasso Sea is unique due to floating seaweed, or Sargassum that supports a diverse community of organisms.  Many organisms inhabiting Sargassum are found nowhere else in the world, and some are endangered species.  Due to its high biodiversity, the floating seaweed within the Sargasso Sea is an anomalous oasis within an ocean desert. 

During their time ashore, students have studied scientific literature addressing biodiversity of the Sargasso Sea, and have explored ways to measure biodiversity in the field.  The students of C-279 have also been thinking deeply about how scientific research informs policy and conservation. Ashore, students have designed research projects to investigate the extent of biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea, and how it is changing. This scientific research complements their policy coursework that examines how developing a 'Sense of Place' for the Sargasso Sea can help to support conservation and policy geared towards maintaining biodiversity on the high seas. After much hard work and planning on land, C-279 is ready for action! 

We depart tomorrow on a scientific mission to examine the unique biodiversity of this high-seas region. Students will use morphological and molecular methods in the field, taking an in-depth look at how diversity is structured over space and across environments. They will investigate such organisms as endemic Sargassum mobile and attached fauna, ocean microbial communities, and the Sargassum itself. C-279 will conduct this scientific research while simultaneously learning to sail as part of the ship's crew.  Student scientific and policy research will contribute to international conservation efforts in the Sargasso Sea, and the program will culminate in a professional Symposium in Woods Hole hosted by SEA.

All aboard are excited to leave sight of shore tomorrow. Follow along with us we get to know our shipmates, the Cramer, and the Sargasso Sea at large!

- Kerry Whittaker, Chief Scientist

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c246 • (3) Comments
Previous entry: First Day Onboard    Next entry: Setting Sail!


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by O'Neil on April 23, 2018

Shiver me Timbers!!! Those children look cold Professor Whittaker.

#2. Posted by Jandy Kerby-Miller Sprouse on April 25, 2018

Safe passage! Bon voyage!

#3. Posted by Liz Gill on May 07, 2018

Hi Geoffrey!



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