Emily Sprowls: Sharknado?!? March 16, 2017

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Emily Sprowls

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

March 20 – April 3, 2017


Mission: Experimental Longline Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Date: March 16,2017



SprowlsHello, my name is Emily and I am a science teacher at Harmony School in Bloomington, Indiana.   I teach mostly environmental sciences to mostly high schoolers, but because we are a small school, I also get to teach some middle schoolers and cover other life and physical sciences, too. To graduate from our school, our 12th graders complete a senior project where they try out a career or a passion for a semester. I consider this opportunity to participate as a NOAA Teacher-at-Sea to be like my senior project, where I get to try out being a marine biologist for a few weeks.


Weather Data

Here at home in Bloomington, Indiana, the snow is melting in the spring sunshine. The ship has spent the winter in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where the National Weather Service website informs me the weather is mostly cloudy and 62°F (17°C).

Science and Technology Log

In just a few days, the Oregon II will embark on her first research trip of 2017. Scientists on board will be deploying experimental long-lines to see what sea creatures are down deep in the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll be out at sea for 15 days starting on Monday, and I think everybody is excited to see what we will find on this first cruise!

Personal Log

I have started to pack, starting with lots of layers for fickle spring weather and the windy conditions at sea, and lots of old clothes that I don’t mind getting fishy and salty. I am also packing lots of seasickness remedies, with lots of different ideas shared by many friends: ginger, citrus, seabands, Bonine, Dramamine, patches, etc. I’m really hoping that I gain my “sealegs” after a few days and can just enjoy the ginger candy in my med kit!

Did You Know?

Did you know that NOAA provides many services to all of us, even in Indiana? NOAA includes the National Weather Service, which forecasts our weather. Here in the Midwest, they provide life-saving tornado warnings in time for us all to seek shelter. NOAA also helps planes navigate wind patterns and keeps air travel safe, they chart hurricanes and help coastal communities prepare for storms and flooding, they keep track of fish populations so we can enjoy healthy seafood, and NOAA also monitors the Great Lakes in addition to our oceans and atmosphere.

Kids’ Questions of the Day

I collected questions about sharks and marine research from students and teachers at my school. Look for the answers to the kids’ questions here in the days to come, but there is one I can answer already, without the help from the scientists and crew onboard the Oregon II.

  • What is the risk of a SHARKNADO?  While we are hoping to find sharks, and NOAA does pay very close attention to tornado threats, the chance of a fictitious Hollywood-inspired weather event is 0% (unless the crew shows the terrible movie in the galley for fun!)

One Reply to “Emily Sprowls: Sharknado?!? March 16, 2017”

  1. Emily, I hope your cruise is going well. I’m looking forward to hearing more and can’t wait for mine either.

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