Sherie Gee: Preparing for Life at Sea, May 30, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Sherie Gee
Aboard R/V Hugh R. Sharp
June 26 – July 7, 2013

Mission:  Sea Scallop Survey
Geographical area of cruise:  Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:  May 30, 2013

Personal Log:

Hello, my name is Sherie Gee and I live in the big Lone Star State of Texas. I teach AP Environmental Science and Aquatic Science at John Paul Stevens High School in San Antonio, home of the Alamo and the Spurs. I have been teaching for 31 years and I am still thirsty for new knowledge and experiences to share with the students which is one of the reasons I am so excited to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea. I will get to be a “scientist” for two weeks collecting specimens, data, and using scientific equipment and technology that I plan to incorporate into the classroom.

I am also excited to be on this spectacular voyage because I feel very passionate about the ocean and all of its inhabitants. The ocean is a free-access resource which means it belongs to everyone on Earth so it needs to be taken care of. Overfishing, overharvesting and ocean pollution are global issues that I feel strongly about and feel that there has to be new ocean ethics. Teachers are in the best position to bring about ocean awareness to the students and the public. I feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity by NOAA to be part of an ocean conservation program. One of my favorite quotes is from Rachel Carson: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” I truly believe this because in order for people to care for our Earth and environment and not destroy it, they have to understand it and appreciate it first.

For two weeks I will be collecting the Atlantic sea scallop to determine the distribution and abundance of these animals. This survey is conducted in order to assess these scallop populations in certain areas of the Atlantic Ocean and determine if they have been overharvested and need to be closed to commercial fishermen for a period of time. I am very relieved to know that there are such programs around the world that focus on ocean fisheries and sustainability. I will be describing this survey of the Atlantic sea scallop in greater detail in my blogs.

Atlantic Sea Scallop
Atlantic Sea Scallop
Courtesy of

This will definitely be an exciting ocean experience for me. I live three hours away from the nearest ocean (The Gulf of Mexico) and have always managed to venture to an ocean each year. Every year I take my students to the Gulf of Mexico on the University of Texas research vessel (The Katy) to conduct plankton tows, water chemistry, mud grabs and bottom trawls.  I love to see the students get so excited every time they bring up the otter trawl and watch the various fish and invertebrates spill out of the nets.

UT Marine Science Research Vessel, The Katy
UT Marine Science Research Vessel, The Katy
Student sorting through the otter trawl on the Katy
Student sorting through the otter trawl on the Katy

I know I will be just like the kids when they bring up the trawls from dredging. People who know me say I am a “fish freak”. Fish are my favorite animals because of their high biodiversity and unique adaptations that they possess. I am a scuba diver and so I get to see all kinds of fish and other marine life in their natural habitat. I am always looking for new fish that I haven’t seen before. The top two items on my “Bucket List” are to cage dive with the great white shark (my favorite fish) and to swim with the whale shark. I recently swam with whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez and would like to do that again in the Caribbean with adult whale sharks.

Juvenile 15 foot whale shark in the Sea of Cortez Photo by Britt Coleman
Juvenile 15 foot whale shark in the Sea of Cortez

Needless to say, I can’t wait to start sorting through all of the various ocean dwellers and discover all the many species of fish and invertebrates that I have never seen before. I hope you will share my enthusiasm and follow me through this magnificent journey through the North Atlantic Ocean and witness the menagerie of marine life while aboard the Research Vessel Hugh /R. Sharp.

R/V Hugh R. Sharp
R/V Hugh R. Sharp

Sherie Gee holding an Olive Ridley hatchling at the Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C. in Todos Santos, Mexico Photo by Britt Coleman
Sherie Gee holding an Olive Ridley hatchling at the Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C. in Todos Santos, Mexico
Photo by Britt Coleman

29 Replies to “Sherie Gee: Preparing for Life at Sea, May 30, 2013”

  1. Sherie,
    Best to you on your upcoming adventure. I just returned from my trip about the NOAA Ship Rainier conducting hydrographic surveys in SE Alaska. You have some exciting days ahead of you.
    Take care,

    1. Hi Bill-
      Thanks so much for the well wishes. I finally finished
      reading your blogs about your mission. It was interesting
      to read about everything you learned. The festival must have
      been a tremendous cultural experience. I especially like the
      song about the humpback salmon. Well, I leave for Lewes
      Delaware on Monday and then my life at sea will begin.
      Have you created your lesson plans yet?
      Take care,

  2. Ok, This time I really did read it and I envy you. I wonder though, how will you collect the scallops? Will you dive for them?

    1. Hi Paul-
      Thanks for the comments. We will be using a
      dredge to scoop up the scallops and a Habcam.
      I will know more once I get there. But no, we will
      not be diving for them. Anyway, the Atlantic is too cold for diving.
      Take care,

      1. Not sure if you got my first blog, I’m not to good at this social network stuff. Hope all is well and you are having a great time, which I know you are.
        see ya

  3. This is really cool Ms. Gee. I can’t wait to read your future posts! Looks like you’re going to be busy this summer!

    1. Thanks Rachel-
      It is so good to hear from you. How was graduation?
      I hope your summer is going well. Good luck
      at Purdue! Talk to you soon,
      Ms. Gee

  4. i love you and if you can send us a picture of a shark and tell us how you’re doing.

  5. hey Sherrie I hope you are having great voyage. Elizabeth and I have 1 more week to go at UIW. I do have some new Dr Chaudharri is applying to continue our Chemistry grant in 2014 by offering Organic chemistry next summer. The good news is this gives me the 18 required hours to teach Chemistry collegiate level. Bad news is that I will not be able to attend Chile trip in 2014. Keep having fun learning on your sea expedition.

    1. Hi Will-
      Thanks for letting me know about Costa Rica.
      Check back in a few days and I should have another
      blog up. We actually pull out today and will
      begin the survey.

    1. Hi Ann-
      Thanks so much for the reply. We actually leave today at
      10:00 am and will begin the survey. So check back soon!
      Talk to you soon,

  6. Hi Sherie,
    Enjoy your trip and research. I know you will learn lots about scallops (besides how to eat them) and the current science around preservation of these delicacies of the sea. It will be fun to learn about the process thru the blogs and to live the life of the ocean going scientist vicariously thru you.
    Happy Trails,

    1. Hi Britt-
      Thanks for your reply. We shove off in about two hours then we will
      begin the survey. I’m not sure how well the Internet is working right
      now. I will definitely include some info on the
      three types of water and the reverse osmosis.
      Well time to put the patch on and hope for the best.

      1. Hi Sherie,
        Here’s wishing you calm seas, smooth sailing, and abundant scallops. It will be a nice surprise to know that the Atlantic Sea Scallop population is thriving and doing well… I’d hate to have to give up yet another seafood delicacy due to over harvesting and declining populations.
        Bon Voyage,

  7. I hope you are safe, I know you will have a lot of fun. You’re really stepping out of your comfort zone. And that’s how to live!!!!! Please be safe, love you

  8. Hi Sherie!
    Even though there are many miles between us (Ca to Tx) and we don’t get to visit enough, I have always admired your enthusiasm to continually learn new things and courage to travel and pursue your passions in life! We will follow your posts and blogs eagerly to hear all about your findings and adventures over the next couple of weeks!

    Be safe and have fun!
    Love ya,
    Stephanie, Cristian, Leonard, & Auntie Frances

    1. Hi Stephanie!!
      Thanks so much for the reply. We actually pull out onto the
      water this morning (Wednesday) and start the survey. I’m really
      excited to see what we pull up and learn how the
      Research is conducted. I should have another blog in
      a few days so check back soon. Tell everyone hi!

  9. Sherie,
    How are the ocean and weather conditions today? On your collection of data from sea scallops, what type of data are you collecting? Are you able to post pictures once you start collecting? I’m also wondering if your seeing a lot of commercial boats in the area you are studying. I hope your doing well.

  10. Well Sherie, today is the day you got out on the water and I hope it was and is smooth sailing! So are you the first to start your 12 hrs on deck or in your room? I am excited to hear how it goes and what fascinating things you will be posting. Enjoy!

  11. Hi Sherie,
    I hope you are doing well now that you are underway. Weather forecast, as near as I can interpret the NOAA scripture, calls for high seas in your area. Pls be careful and believe in yourself. You can make thru this… It will not last long and then you will be on the other side.
    Happy Trails on the High Seas,

  12. Sherie,
    I am so proud of you! Hope you are having a blast! Enjoy your adventure and happy blogging!

  13. Hi Sherie,

    Hope you are having a blast and that the seas are calm for you. I am sure you are having a great time enjoying being out in your element even if you don’t get to do any diving this trip.

    How’s the weather up north? You escaped TX just in time for the triple digits. Have you all seen any other animals up there or just mainly the scallops? Looking forward to your next blog entry.

    Take care,

  14. Hello Sherie, How’s the research going? Are you eating a lot of seafood? I hope everything is going well. I’m sure you are having a great time. Great picture of you by the way.

  15. Hi there! Hope all is going well. I am sure you are having so much fun. Make sure you are putting on that sun screen 🙂 Can you post pictures? Hope your research is going well. We are all thinking of you and so proud of you. Happy adventures.

  16. Hi Sherie, Just got your letter, we’ve been out west. Wow, what a great time you must be having. I am so happy you are living your dreams. I’ll keep up with your blogs. Carolyn Fore

  17. Sherie, Your trip sounds great. I am really happy you are living your dreams. Enjoy, learn, and be careful in the N. Atlantic. How far north are you? Carolyn Fore

  18. Hi Sherie,

    Hope you are not sea sick and able to find some time to jump rope! Have a great time and I’ll see you in class soon!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: