Jennifer Dean: Getting Ready, April 23, 2018


NOAA Teacher at Sea

Jennifer Dean

Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces

May 12 – May 24, 2018

Mission: Conduct ROV and multibeam sonar surveys inside and outside six marine protected areas (MPAs) and the Oculina Experimental Closed Area (OECA) to assess the efficacy of this management tool to protect species of the snapper grouper complex and Oculina coral

Geographic Area of Cruise: Continental shelf edge of the South Atlantic Bight between Port Canaveral, FL and Cape Hatteras, NC

Date: April 23rd, 2018

Personal Log

Welcome to my first blog entry as I prepare for an amazing opportunity with the NOAA Teacher at Sea program.  I am a science teacher at Camas High School, a public school of a little over 2000 students.  Camas is a rapidly growing suburb of Vancouver, located across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  In my 22nd year of teaching, my current assignments include environmental science, anatomy and physiology and forensic science.  I love to involve my students in authentic investigations, from building a sustainable farm on school property to designing and building solar ovens. I incorporate project-based learning opportunities and authentic long-term investigations whenever possible.  I helped develop and implement our STEM-based magnet program, and I continue to help guide improvements to the program. To be sure I am teaching relevant and up-to-date content and skills, I need to have my own experiences with authentic scientific research.

Jennifer Dean and family
My daughters, Emma and Kalena, enjoying an early morning walk at Mike’s Beach Resort at Hood Canal

I applied to this program because of my love for the process of scientific investigations and my desire to share this unique experience with students.  I want to increase my knowledge of fisheries and am especially interested in bringing to my classroom new learnings about STEM career opportunities at NOAA.   My goal with all my students is to teach the tools for scientific literacy, how to use evidence and reasoning in evaluating claims and to be able to communicate science

Jennifer and poster
Sharing science at the annual Partners in Science January conference in San Diego

to others.

I am currently in full list-making mode, trying to make sure I will remember the Dramamine, several layers of clothing and a dozen other things.  However, my mind drifts back to wondering about what science knowledge and technology skills I will be called upon to use

I love the water.  I love scuba diving, kayaking and the paddle boarding I tried with my daughters for the first time this summer.  I have four children—2 boys in college and 2 girls still at home.  During vacations, we often migrate toward the water to explore a stream bed or the sandy shores of the Pacific.

Jennifer in wet suit
I need 7 mm layers to stay in the water long on our coast

On May 12th I will be boarding NOAA Ship Pisces off the coast of Florida to assess the efficacy of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in protecting species of the snapper grouper complex and Oculina coral.  ROV and multibeam sonar surveys will be used inside and outside the MPAs and in the Oculina Experimental Closed Area (OECA) in the south Atlantic to gather data on habitat and fish resources.  This research will help fishery managers make decisions on the areas future use and how to best protect these valuable resources.

Did You Know?

President Theodore Roosevelt established the first MPA and the first National Wildlife Refuge in the United States, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1903.

Fact or Fiction?

Aquaculture uses more wild fish than it produces.

To find out the evidence that rejects or supports that claim visit NOAA Fisheries site at the following link



19 Replies to “Jennifer Dean: Getting Ready, April 23, 2018”

  1. What are some key features of the safety suit, and how do they help keep you safe during a potential safety hazard?

    1. It is like an extra thick dry suit. There is a hooded part that you inflate using a whistle looking structure to protect heat escape from the back of your head. Rubber seals are around the wrist and face. Todd Walsh had up a cool picture on the features on the suit on the monitor for me but I didn’t have a chance to take a picture.

  2. What is it like, to stay on a boat overnight? Have you or anyone else experienced sea-sickness?

    1. SO I have had limited sea sickness- I proactively took dramamine. Falling asleep feels like you are being rocked in a cradle- except last night where they had 6-7 foot waves and that took hours to fall asleep because it was quite rough- feeling your body move through space side to side and up and down in 7 foot amounts is quite unnerving. I got a bit sea sick again during the rough weather day when I tried to do yoga on the top level above the bridge of the ship- I don’t think eating a huge lunch, in hot weather and on a swaying ship -to do yoga- was a good idea. That was probably my fault- and I didnt have any medicine in me. And yes- the grad student has not felt well- and we (the science crew) all get a bit queasy or nauseous when it gets rough. I don’t hear the regular crew talk about that at all- I think they are fully acclimated.

    1. I like the batfish…and probably today it would be the venus fly trap anenome…will have pictures of them on my last blog; also just learned about a fish called the pearl fish- that lives inside the anus of the sea cucumber- goes in tail first and live there…weirdness!

  3. Have you had to use Dramamine yet? Or have you gotten used to it? Also, is there anytime that you would dive to examine the coral reefs or is it just with the use of cameras.

    1. I used it the first 2 days. I just had a unpleasant queasiness on the 2nd day- but laid down for an hour and it went away and started taking pills at night and first thing in the morning. Haven’t needed any medicine for last ? 3 days or so. And yes- John Reed used to dive all the time for his research- and Andrew David that I interviewed for my last blog is a a dive officer or manager- he spends half his job working on dive related issues; if the reefs are shallow …a Go Pro would be cool in that situation and I am sure they get used….but this is deep coral ecology- where ROVs or submersibles necessary.

  4. How did you stay in contact with your family while you were at sea/how often did did you speak to them?

  5. In next years apes class, will you teach them what you learned throughout the trip?

  6. As this research is being conducted to protect valuable resources for fishery managers, what species of marine life are the fishery managers specifically interested in preserving? Are they concerned about the other species?

  7. What is your favorite thing about scuba diving? Also, will anyone in your group implement scuba diving for research, and if so, how?

  8. Hi Mrs. Dean!
    Was there any part of the trip you were not excited about? Nervous about? What were you most excited for?

  9. You’ve been teaching for a really long time! What classes did you teach when you first started?

  10. What kind of marine animals were you expecting to see and research? Were there any things you wanted to do that weren’t a direct part of your mission, but you were interested in learning about?

  11. Hey Dean!
    How much are you enjoying it? What life are you expecting to see with the ROV?

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