Kip Chambers: From the Prairies to the Oceans… July 5, 2017

NOAA Teacher at Sea 

Kip Chambers

Aboard NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker 

July 17 – 30, 2017

Mission: West Coast Sardine Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Pacific Ocean; U.S. West Coast

Date: July 5, 2017

Weather Data from the Bridge: (Pratt, KS)

Date: 07/05/2017
Wind Speed: SE at 6 mph
Time: 16:00
Latitude: 37.7o N
Temperature: 29o C
Longitude: 98.75o W

Science and Technology Log:

Soon I will be aboard one of the most technologically advanced fishing vessels in the world, the NOAA research vessel Reuben Lasker. I will be participating on the second leg of the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) West Coast Sardine Survey. The ship will depart on the 17th of July from San Francisco, CA to conduct a survey primarily focused on Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) populations. The data collected from this survey, and others like it, will be used by NOAA and other federal and state agencies to make decisions about how to best manage the Pacific sardine fishery to ensure that Pacific sardines are harvested in a sustainable manner. The data provided by these types of surveys is critical to ensuring that appropriate regulations are put in place to protect the ecological integrity of our complex, marine ecosystems.

Personal Log:

Hello, my name is Kip Chambers. I am a biology instructor at Pratt Community College (PCC). PCC is a small liberal arts/vocational technical school located in south-central Kansas. I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to participate in the NOAA Teacher at Sea (TAS) program. I first learned about the program from a colleague more than 15 years ago, and it has been something that I have been contemplating for the last several years. After applying in the fall I was ecstatic to find out in early February that I had been accepted to the program. Even though I was born and raised in Kansas, and Pratt, Kansas is more the 600 miles away from our nearest ocean (Gulf of Mexico), I have always been fascinated by the immensity, power and beauty of our oceans. I have often been asked “what do the oceans have to do with Kansas?” For those of you who live near an ocean, or work directly with these precious resources, this may seem like a silly question, but for many of my students and people in my community there can be a lack of understanding of how our oceans affect all of us, and how critical they are to maintaining the biogeochemical cycles and energy flow that make life possible on the planet.

The story of Kansas’ geological history cannot be told without talking about oceans. The map below depicts the 11 physiographic regions that outline the geology of Kansas. Many of the rocks at and below the surface of Kansas were deposited as shallow seas moved into and out of Kansas over millions of years. Because of this, Kansas has a rich marine fossil record that provides insight into the role oceans played in shaping our state. There is an excellent web site that is maintained by the Kansas Geological Survey that provides additional information about our state’s geology and the types of marine fossils that can be found in many areas of the state.

Kansas Physiographic Regions           Figure 1.1 Physiographic regions of Kansas provided by the  Kansas Geological Survey. (

The geology of Kansas is just one way oceans have affected our state; our economy, weather patterns, and ecology are all influenced by our oceans. Helping students to connect to our oceans, and understand that oceans impact the ecology of the entire planet, regardless of where you live is one of the main objectives that I hope to accomplish as I move forward with this project. It is my sincere hope that through my experiences with the TAS program I will become a more effective communicator and stronger advocate for relating the importance of protecting our planet’s most valuable resource, our oceans.

I would be remiss if I did not thank the people that have helped make this opportunity possible. Thank you to the NOAA TAS program, the crew and scientists of the Reuben Lasker that I look forward to joining soon, Pratt Community College, my family and friends and my beautiful wife Janet. See you in San Francisco…

Images from the Sunflower State:


Figure 1.2  Upper left, wind and wheat, lower left, energy production, upper right, generalized flight plan, lower right, Chambers’ family (Sadie, Janet, & Kip).  All photos from DK Chambers, map from Google Earth.


Kip Chambers’ page on NOAA Teacher at Sea Program website:*Chambers/blogs

Kansas Geological Survey’s GeoKansas website:

Pacific Fishery Management Council’s documents on Coastal Pelagic Species assessments:

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