NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard Ship: USCGC Healy
Cruise Dates: 8/7/2018 – 8/25/2018
Mission: Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory
Geographic Area: Arctic Ocean (Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea)
Date: June 22, 2018
From New Hampshire and coming soon this August from the Arctic
Yesterday, June 21, 2018, was the last day of school for us at the Maple Street School in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. It was an appropriate day for the last day of school as summer vacation starts on the summer solstice this year. We ended the school year with a promotion of the NOAA research mission I will be taking part in this summer. Part of this unique learning opportunity is to bring the learning experience to students and the general public, not only in Hopkinton, NH but across the country. If you have found my blog, congratulations! Please follow the blog so you to can join me on this adventure.
Overview of Mission
There will be over 40 scientists and I the Science teacher headed into the Arctic Ocean sailing out of Nome Alaska to the Barrow Canyon. The Barrow Canyon is an underwater gorge that runs East to North West of Barrow Alaska and is known for its rich marine life. Scientists will be conducting numerous studies and observations at many locations during the trip. The scientific studies taking place will have a common theme, how are the rapid changing Arctic Sea Ice conditions affecting the region?
For the last two years, regional sea ice in the Bering Sea has been at a historic low. What changes does this have on the region’s ecosystem? This includes the microscopic plankton to fish, marine birds to larger marine mammals. These creatures live anywhere from the sea floor to the air, and all these areas will be observed. As we observed in my 6th-grade science class this year, in an ecosystem the living (biotic) is affected by the non-living (or abiotic). Non-living factors that will be measured will include the salinity of the water, the water temperature, and changes in ocean currents themselves. Changes in ocean currents have larger effects on local and regional climates, which include those on land.
This annual survey will allow for changes over time to monitored. What will scientists learn this year? Follow this blog to find out. To sign up to be notified of updates click the follow button on the bottom right of your screen and you will be notified when there is a new post to read. The blog will be updated at the start of and during the mission from the from one of the most remote areas of the world, north of the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Ocean. I look forward to talking to you again soon from the Arctic Ocean during the first week of August!