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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: research at sea


February 11, 2019

SEA Semester voyage with NASA scientist featured in New York Times

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the NEWS
A Young Island on Earth May Reveal Clues to How Water Shaped Mars
By Niraj Chokshi
The New York Times

Four years ago, an underwater volcano erupted in the South Pacific, creating a new island. And NASA took notice.

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February 08, 2019

SEA Semester / NASA research trip to Tonga reported by BBC

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
New Tonga island ‘now home to flowers and owls’
BBC News

Scientists have found signs of life on one of the world’s newest islands, just four years after it was spawned by a volcanic eruption.

Unofficially known as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, it lies in the kingdom of Tonga, and is already nurturing pink flowering plants, sooty tern birds, and even barn owls.

Tonga is made up of over 170 islands in the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia.

A team from the Sea Education Association and Nasa visited the small land mass in October, having previously kept watch through satellite imaging.

Read the full story.

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February 04, 2019

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai - A Science Perspective

Rachel Scudder, Chief Scientist

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(The following blog post first appeared in October, 2018, and is being reposted due to public interest. See also two student blog posts from Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 about the SSV Robert C. Seaman’s visit to this new island.)

Greetings from the Robert C. Seamans in the middle of the South Pacific.

Over a number of days in the past week the students, faculty, and staff of SPICE 2018, Class S-282, have been extremely privileged to spend time on Hunga Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai (HTHH). The students have done an excellent job of summing up our time there so far, but what we have been doing here is as close to the original explorers of old as you get in the modern day, so here is everything we’ve done all in one place.

February 01, 2019

Dolphins and Sunsets

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Thursday began with students conducting a Science Super Station, including deploying a carousel in order to collect samples from throughout the water column, with the deepest from nearly a mile below the surface. As detailed in an afternoon class presentation by Angus from Middlebury, Dayana from Williams, and Charlotte from Wellesley, this information can be critical in understanding oceanographic processes, such as the way temperature and salinity change as the ocean becomes deeper and deeper, and in turn helps us trace the origin of such water.

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January 31, 2019

NASA Scientists join SEA Semester Students on Research Mission

SEA Semester

SEA Semester in the News
NASA Blogs
NASA Earth Expeditions
Land Ho! Visiting a Young Island
By Ellen Gray

Excitement was in the air when research scientist Dan Slayback of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, approached a small trio of islands in the South Pacific island nation of Tonga. It was October 8th, and Dan had joined the scientists and students with the Sea Education Association’s SEA Semester South Pacific cruise to visit a three-year-old island he’d only seen from space.

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January 28, 2019

SEA & WHOI to Explore Ocean Twilight Zone

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will join this spring’s SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (MBC) program on a special collaboration to explore the ocean’s mesopelagic or twilight zone, further augmenting one of SEA’s most advanced scientific undergraduate programs.

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May 15, 2018

New Collaboration on Marine Debris

SEA Semester

In partnership with the University of Georgia, SEA was awarded a grant from 11th Hour Racing. Working with the University of Georgia, SEA will support curriculum and in-port research activities around waste management and ocean plastic pollution in the next Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems (SPICE) program.

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January 29, 2018

Plastics Paper Gains Widespread Attention

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

Congratulations to Dr. Kara Lavender Law, SEA Research Professor of Oceanography, whose article, “Plastics in the Marine Environment,” was among the top ten downloaded articles out of 1,075 articles published in the scholarly journal, Annual Reviews, in 2017.

In the article, Dr. Law presents a comprehensive framework with which to evaluate the sources, distribution, and environmental impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. The framework was a collaborative work of the Marine Debris Working Group of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, supported by Ocean Conservancy, of which Law was a co-Principal Investigator. The working group’s goal was to advance the scientific understanding of the problem in order to inform strategies to reduce or eliminate future contamination of the ocean by plastic debris.

For a limited time, the article may be accessed without a subscription here.

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November 16, 2017

Building Bridges for Conservation

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

SEA Alum Meghan Jeans Brings Multidisciplinary Approach to SEA

As a biology major turned lawyer, Meghan Jeans (W-144) has been working across disciplines, geographies and issues areas to build bridges throughout her career.  She brings that approach to SEA this fall as a visiting faculty member for Class C-276, Caribbean Reef Expedition.

According to Meghan, a multi-disciplinary approach is critical to both solving problems and preparing students for the real world.  She says it’s an approach that’s been critical in her own work. “I use my science training to inform and inspire the implementation of market-based and policy solutions to marine conservation challenges.” Whether stimulating public-private partnerships in support of conservation, building capacity within communities to manage resources sustainably, collaborating with researchers and resource managers to translate science into action, or working with decision makers to enact meaningful policy reforms, her multidisciplinary background has proven to be an asset.

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July 19, 2017

SEA Professor Co-authors Analysis of All Plastics Made

Doug Karlson, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

In order to help guide strategies to confront the problem of plastics pollution, scientists today published the first-ever global analysis of all the plastics made since widespread production began in the 1950s.

The study, published by Science Advances, traces worldwide plastics production, use and what we do with plastic after we’re done with it.

“Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made” was co-authored by Dr. Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor of Oceanography at Sea Education Association, Dr. Jenna Jambeck , University of Georgia, and Dr. Roland Geyer, University of California, Santa Barbara.

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