NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
November 11 – 13, 2011
I arrived safely in Pascagoula Mississippi. I was met by an awesome and enthusiastic group of scientists from the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). Unfortunately I was told the ship had a problem with its water heater and the cruise may be in jeopardy. I had a tour of the lab and saw the OREGON II from the dock. All I could do was wait.
After several attempts at repair by the CO and crew, I was told that the heater was not repairable. A new heater was needed, and this was a lengthy process. To my great disappointment, the mission was scrubbed. I know all the scientists were equally saddened by the turn of events. I was to return home without sailing. I am sorry to bring this news to all my students and others who were following this Blog. It is no one’s fault, just the circumstances that occurred. I can only hope that I can join another NOAA TAS mission in the near future…
NOAA Teacher at Sea Mark Silverman Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II November 11 – 21, 2011
Hi. My name is Mark Silverman and I will be sailing aboard the Oregon II beginning November 11, 2011. I am a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Zoology. I am an avid fisherman, snorkeler and SCUBA diver and a general outdoor enthusiast with a great love for the ocean and a fascination with all types of science.
I am currently teaching Chemistry at Homestead Senior High School, Homestead, FL. Homestead Sr. serves about 2500 9-12 graders, a mix of urban and rural populations, at the the extreme southern tip of the Florida mainland. I have been teaching since 1985, the last 16 years at Homestead Senior.
South Florida is a unique environment in the U.S. The climate is subtropical and many unique animals and plants are found here that are found nowhere else on the U.S. mainland. We are surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. Two national parks, Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, bound the east and west sides of Homestead. Additionally, the northern terminus of the only living coral barrier reef adjacent to the U.S. mainland is found off our coast. So, you can easily see why the ocean is so important to our way of life. Ocean and climate literacy is extremely important in South Florida and as such I’m very excited to be participating soon in my second Teacher at Sea adventure! Since I will be sailing during the school year this time, my students will be more even intimately involved than in the past.
After being involved with the development of NOAA Teacher in the Lab in 2007, I spent two summers, 2009 and 2010 at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) on Virginia Key, Florida, as a pilot Teacher in the Lab. There, I worked under the direction of Dr. Trika Gerard in the Early Life History Lab. My work included identifying, counting, and sorting juvenile fish samples from Brewer’s Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The second summer I also extracted otoliths (ear bones…I will tell you more about otolith chemisty in the near future too) and prepared them for radioisotope analysis. Subsequently the lab group hosted my students on several occasions during a fantastic field trip! Working with Dr. Gerard, her lab manager Estrella Malca, and the many other professional scientists at SEFSC was a unique and wonderful experience which gave me a true insight into the work they do on a daily basis. While I was there in 2010, the BP Gulf Oil spill crisis was going on. Although this was a truly tragic event, watching these professionals mobilize in a crisis was an incredibly exciting and fascinating experience!
I truly look forward to another great experience with NOAA TAS!! I will be sailing out of Pascagoula, Mississippi aboard the NOAA ship Oregon II, a 170 foot trawler, set up as a fisheries research vessel. I will be participating in a leg of the Fall Groundfish Survey. This yearly survey monitors bottom fish in the Gulf of Mexico and is
an important fisheries management tool. You can follow my journey and adventures in this blog and via the NOAA Ship Tracker. Just click on the hyperlink, enter the ship tracker and select the Oregon II (R2) from the drop down menu on the right side of the screen.
I look forward to your virtual participation and comments!