SEA Currents: featured
August 16, 2016
SEA Semester students find signs of hope in remote Phoenix Islands
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.
July 14, 2016
SEA, New England Aquarium collaborate to study Phoenix Islands
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….
May 26, 2016
Video: 2016 National Science Board Public Service Award Recipient
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.
April 06, 2016
SEA Honored with National Science Board Award
Sea Education Association/SEA Semester® is 2016 NSB Public Service awardee.
Today the National Science Board (NSB) announced that Sea Education Association (SEA) would be bestowed with its 2016 Public Service Award.
This esteemed award honors exemplary public service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering. SEA is the sole recipient of the Public Service Award this year.
February 18, 2016
BU Today Features Recent Transatlantic Voyage
SEA Semester® in the News:
“Studying Out on the Open Ocean”
By Amy Laskowski | Feb. 18, 2016
Siya Qiu didn’t know the difference between a jib and a bowsprit when she decided to spend a semester studying aboard the research vessel SSV Corwith Cramer. But after a six-week voyage that took her from Spain’s Canary Islands to St. Croix in the Caribbean, Qiu (CAS’17), a marine science major, soon became well versed on what it’s like to live at sea. Read the full story.
February 10, 2016
SEA Plastics Expedition Yields Insight on Marine Species Migration
Floating plastic debris in the ocean may be more hospitable to some marine animals than originally thought, according to a new study co-authored by a SEA Semester alumnus who gathered samples aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans during the 2012 Plastics at SEA: North Pacific Expedition.
The researchers found that the presence of barnacles on large plastic debris creates a more sustainable long-term habitat for rafting species to take hold and thrive on otherwise slippery surfaces, such as spherical fishing buoys commonly found drifting in the oceans.
January 11, 2016
Furman Features Student’s Phoenix Islands Voyage
SEA Semester® in the News:
“Setting sail to study one of Earth’s last coral wildernesses”
By Erikah Haavie | Jan. 11, 2016
Sam Hill ’16 didn’t see as many neighbors as he’d hoped during his 1,600-mile summer sailing trip.
“From Hawaii to the equator, there was nothing but a turtle and a pod of whales,” said Hill, a computer science major from Richmond, Va.
As part of an eight-week Sea Education Association program, “Protecting the Phoenix Islands,” Hill spent six weeks sailing aboard the 134-foot-long Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Robert C. Seamans, from Honolulu to the Phoenix Islands in Kiribati and on to American Samoa.
January 07, 2016
New Study: Far More Floating Plastics in Ocean Than Thought
Dr. Kara Lavender Law, a SEA Semester research professor of oceanography, co-authored a new study entitled, “A Global Inventory of Small Floating Plastic Debris,” published with international colleagues on December 8, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters. This study finds larger quantities of tiny plastic bits floating in the world’s oceans than previously estimated. But even this amount accounts for only 1% of plastic that likely enters the ocean annually, and scientists are still working to understand where the rest of it ends up.
The majority of data for this study came from plastic samples collected and analyzed during decades of SEA Semester voyages. Here, Kara discusses what these findings mean for future scientific research directions and anyone trying to make sense of the massive amounts of plastic entering the world’s oceans every year.
December 10, 2015
New Study: Microbes on Marine Plastic Debris Differ by Ocean
Microplastics—tiny fragments less than 5 millimeters in size—are now the most abundant form of ocean debris, prompting growing concerns from the public about the array of potential impacts on marine ecosystems. For SEA Semester faculty and students, one key line of research is better understanding the “Plastisphere,” the communities that colonize and thrive on these floating plastic islands.
A newly published scientific paper co-authored by SEA Semester Professor of Oceanography Dr. Erik Zettler reports an important finding: The make-up of the Plastisphere microbial communities appears to differ significantly on a global ocean basis. Notably, their analysis revealed genetic “signatures” that distinguish microbial communities found on plastic floating in Atlantic Ocean gyre environments from those found in the Pacific Ocean.
November 18, 2015
SEA Research Offers New Insight on Caribbean Seaweed Invasion
Massive quantities of Sargassum, a distinctive brown seaweed, have flooded Caribbean shores in recent years, setting off local concerns about economic impacts on fishing and tourism. The country of Trinidad has even declared these so-called inundation events to be a natural disaster. But little is understood about the ecological implications of Sargassum invasions or how they should be managed. New research published by Sea Education Association provides first-hand observations in support of these questions.