NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
June 29 – July 23, 2018
Mission: Pollock Acoustic-Trawl Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Bering Sea
Date: 19 June 2018
Weather Data from Norfolk, VA
Temperature: 84 degrees F
Wind: 7 mph NE
The high tide is beginning its re-entry into the Chesapeake Bay at this moment, signaling a cascade of events among the organisms that call it home. The periwinkle snails have started their perilous climbs to the tips of the cordgrass while the fiddler crabs scurry along the tideline. Even the humans at the boathouse take note and launch their boat of 8 rowers and a coxswain to row in an inlet lined with trees sheltering night herons, crown herons and the conspicuous egrets.
This is but a snapshot of the incomparable Chesapeake Bay, which has played an instrumental role in my circuitous path to becoming a science teacher.
When I first moved to Norfolk, VA in 1995, I was an English as a Second Language teacher at the local university. In and around the Chesapeake Bay, I became aware of the unfamiliar and fascinating: the live oaks that tolerate brackish spray and are bent like arthritic elders and the “come-back-to-life” fossils called “horseshoe crabs”. Although my job at that time was teaching language, I become aware of another language, the language of this unique ecosystem, that I wanted to speak. I then began taking graduate courses in biology and soon got my teaching license. Since 2006, I have been teaching Earth Science and Biology for Norfolk Public Schools. Being a teacher has allowed me opportunities to be a student of my environment. I was fortunate to attend a NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network workshop in 2008 and my students and I logged in the species and abundances of Chesapeake Bay phytoplankton from 2008 to 2017.
Last year, as a PolarTREC teacher, I was able to be part of the “Jellyfish in the Bering Sea” expedition during which imaging devices were used to estimate ages, abundances and locations of jellyfish. I’ll return to this location in a few weeks to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea on the Oscar Dyson to be part of the Pollock Acoustic Survey.
Science and Technology Log
I will be on NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson along with another TAS, Joan Shea-Rogers. Our mission is to assess walleye pollock locations and abundances using trawls and acoustic surveys. Stay tuned to this blog to see photos of this in action!
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments for me.
Did You Know?
Alaska Pollock is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.