Elizabeth Bullock: Introduction, December 8, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Elizabeth Bullock
Aboard R/V Walton Smith
December 11-15, 2011


Hello! My name is Elizabeth (Liz) Bullock and I work for the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program (TAS).  Before I worked at NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)  I was in graduate school at Clark University in Worcester, MA studying Environmental Science and Policy.  As my final project, I created an environmental curriculum for the Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI).  Through this experience, I realized how much I love both science and educating others about the importance of the natural world.

I have been invited to take part in a research cruise on the R/V Walton Smith.  I will be participating in the Bimonthly Regional Survey / South Florida Program Cruise.  The researchers on this survey are  from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanography and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) which is located in Miami, FL.

What will we be studying?  The scientists on this survey are very interested in knowing about the strength and health of the ecosystem.  They can judge how strong it is by looking at various indicators such as water clarity, salinity, and temperature.  They can also record information about the phytoplankton and zooplankton that live in the water.

Question for students: Why do you think it is important to learn about the phytoplankton and zooplankton?  What can they tell us about the ecosystem?  Please leave a reply with your answers below by clicking on “Comments.”

Here is a map of the route the R/V Walton Smith will be taking.

Research Map
The R/V Walton Smith will be leaving Miami, FL and traveling around the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico.

I am so excited and I hope you will follow along with me on this journey of a lifetime!

15 Replies to “Elizabeth Bullock: Introduction, December 8, 2011”

  1. Do the currents make a difference in the water temperature and does the movement of the propeller change the temperature in that spot? Kayla

  2. How do the currents affect the temperature of the water? Does the propeller of the boat affect the local water temperature? Kayla T

    1. The boat is very comfortable. In my stateroom (the name for a bedroom on a ship), I have one roommate. Her name is Lynn and she is the cook. She is a wonderful chef! Since I’m her roommate, sometimes I find out what we’re having for dinner before everyone else!
      The R/V Walton Smith is a 96 foot catamaran.

    1. First of all, there are many different types of waste on the ship. There is food waste, trash, recyclables, and a septic system.
      When you are far enough away from shore, you are able to get rid of food waste overboard. Close in, we save the food waste with the trash and bring it back to the shore with use when we return. We also recycle everything we can and bring the recyclables back to shore with us. The septic system is also known as an MSD (marine sanitation device). This treats the human waste thoroughly before it is either put into the ocean or brought back to shore. Only in some areas is it legal to dump even treated waste. This is required so we don’t contaminate the water around the boat.

  3. Water has two elements- Hydrogen and Oxegen. Distill water is free of salts, so it is a poor conducter of energy. If you add table salt to it, it becomes able to conduct energy.

  4. What is the relationship between salt and electrical conductivity? If the salt content in the water increases, will it conduct electricity better or worse?

    Water is comprised of two elements which are Hydrogen and Oxygen. Distilled water has no salt at all, therefore it becomes a very poor conductor of electricity. If you add ordinary table salt to distilled water it becomes an electrolyte solution which is able to conduct electricity.

    1. Hi Katie,
      A moon jelly is a type of jelly fish. There are some cultures which eat moon jellies. They protect themselves by giving off a sting when they are threatened. Usually, the sting is too mild for a human to feel, but smaller or more sensitive organisms can still be stung by a moon jelly. Here is a diagram of how the nematocysts (or stinging parts of a jelly fish) work: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/corals/media/supp_coral01b.html

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