SEA Currents: research
Observations from the Sargasso Sea
Hello to all the extended families and friends of the Corwith Cramer crew!
What a great feeling to be sailing again! After yet another beautiful night, lit by a half moon, the breeze returned early this morning and we have had a fantastic day of sailing. We have a strong breeze on our port quarter, with the seas building gradually, and Mama Cramer and her crew are loving it. This wind is pushing us in the right direction. Late this morning we crossed the 25th parallel and are truly deep in the Sargasso Sea.
Dodging Squalls then Field Day Calls
Good Evening Parents, Friends, Lovers, Acquaintances and other blog readers that don’t fall under any of these categories,
All students aboard the Corwith Cramer are starting to get used to the schedule of rotating watch shifts. Altogether there is dawn watch (0300-0700), morning watch (0700-1300), afternoon watch (1300-1900), evening watch (1900-2300) and mid watch (2300-0300). Sleeping opportunities are precious and nap time is definitely taken advantage of by many. This morning my watch (A team!) relieved C watch at 0700 and the seas were still calm like the day before.
Undergraduate Research Week Wraps Up
To mark Undergraduate Research Week, we’re continuing to feature the inspiring investigations planned by our current class on campus, C-259, Marine Biodiversity & Conservation. (In case you missed it, here are Part 1 and Part 2.)
In just a few days, they’ll set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York City via Bermuda. Along the way, they’ll undertake a variety of scientific studies on the Sargasso Sea, that vast portion of the North Atlantic Ocean that is a major focus of conservation efforts.
Here’s a look at the final two projects that our student research teams plan to conduct:
SEA Professor Co-Authors New Study on Ocean Plastics Trends
The abundance of plastic debris in our world’s oceans has become increasingly well documented, thanks in part to decades of intensive data collection by SEA scientists and SEA Semester students. But determining just how much plastic has entered the ocean, and where it all goes, remains a challenge.
A new study co-authored by Dr. Kara Lavender Law, SEA Research Professor of Oceanography, sheds new light on one piece of this puzzle: Can plastics from the bellies of deceased seabirds provide an accurate sense of pollution levels in a given ocean environment?
Undergraduate Research Week Continues on Shore
Continuing our celebration of Undergraduate Research Week, we’re featuring the inspiring investigations planned by our current class, C-259, Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, when they set sail in just a few days from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York City via Bermuda. Along the way, they’ll undertake a variety of scientific studies on the Sargasso Sea, that vast portion of the North Atlantic Ocean that is a major focus of conservation efforts.
Here’s a look at two more projects that student teams plan to pursue while aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer:
Happy Undergraduate Research Week!
It’s no secret that field research is a mainstay of SEA Semester programs. But this week, in celebration of national Undergraduate Research Week, we wanted to shine a special spotlight on our students’ ambitious work.
Take the Sargasso Sea, that giant expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean that has in recent years become a major focus of multinational conservation efforts.
Our current class on campus, C-259, Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, is one week away from sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York City via Bermuda—right through the heart of this critical ecosystem. And, as they proved during presentations of their research proposals on Monday, they’re ready to do some serious science to aid the Sargasso Sea’s long-term protection plans.
Over the next few days, we’ll feature their research plans on this blog, starting with these two projects:
Up in the Rigging and Down in the Lab
When I applied for SEA Semester back in early 2014 I knew that I was signing up for a semester unlike most study abroad programs. What I did not expect was to have my entire world turned upside down by a plethora of new and exciting experiences. Even with a hundred more blog posts I do not think that we could tell you all of the amazing things that we have been able to try for the first time, so I will just tell you about a few that were perhaps unique to me.
SEA Semester Instructor featured in Boston Globe for graphics work
Skye Moret, a SEA Semester visiting instructor of information design, former crew member and student program alumna, made headlines this week in the Boston Globe for her important work to communicate huge scientific datasets via information graphics—in this case, eye-opening SEA research on the magnitude of ocean plastics.
Shipmate support during Junior Watch Officer Phase
I awoke to the “two, six, heave” of B watch hauling away on sails so I grabbed my video camera and headed on deck. I followed the watch for a couple of hours recording their every movement, even Nicole as she was the junior engineer doing all sorts of mechanical and dirty work with Tanner, the ship’s engineer. Just as the Junior Watch Officer (JWO) phase continues, so too does science continue.
Final Leg for S-257
Well, here we are in the third period of S257, with Otago harbor fading into the distance off our stern and just over a 200-mile journey ahead of us to Lyttleton. Six weeks of hard work are starting to come to a close as the students wrap up projects and papers for all of their classes. JWO/JLO phase continues and students are stepping up as leaders on deck and in lab to bring us home on this final stretch- a challenge that all are more than ready for, despite what they may think.