George Hademenos: Reflections…of an Inspiring Opportunity as a Teacher at Sea, August 27, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 27, 2022

As a teacher, I am constantly involved in professional development activities which could take the form of a presentation, workshop, seminar, book study or immersive educator experiences such as NOAA Teacher at Sea. At the end of each offering, whether I am required to or not, I take it upon myself to consider its impact on me as an educator and reflect upon how the take-home messages will impact my students. Because of the wide-ranging facets and extensive learning opportunities provided by the Teacher at Sea cruise, I took particular interest in drafting my reflections. It was an experience that I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about and an activity that I looked forward to reflecting upon. However, just to be clear, reflections in my definition is not a concise and cogent summary of the activities that occurred while on cruise. This is what was presented in each prior post of my blog. Rather, my reflection represents a “30,000-foot overview” of my interpretation and evaluation of the experience.

As I prepared the text for the reflections of my Teacher at Sea cruise, I opted to adapt the words to photos of scenic views taken from onboard the R/V Tommy Munro and threaded the images together in a video presentation.

Reflections of my Teacher at Sea Experience

Reflections of a Teacher at Sea
George Hademenos
SEAMAP Groundfish Survey

As I gaze in any direction at the seemingly endless volumes of ocean, I see questions…
questions to be answered and answers to be questioned,
questions to be formed and questions to be researched,
questions that will inspire one to learn beyond imagination…
with answers that will foster an understanding deep within…
of the unexplored frontier of marine life below the water’s surface.
Questions to me present an opportunity…
to celebrate what we know and to stimulate our quest to discover what we don’t.
As a NOAA Teacher at Sea, I will return to the classroom with…
questions waiting to be answered, answers waiting to be investigated,
and hopefully career paths in ocean sciences waiting to be pursued.

I hope you enjoy the video and for my educator colleagues, please consider taking advantage of this “once in a lifetime” opportunity for you and your students.

In wrapping up the final post for this blog, I would like to continue with the final installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework and ask you to respond to three questions about the seventh essential principle (The ocean is largely unexplored), presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/yckk8eet

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

Maronda Hastie: Preparing for Teacher at Sea Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II, August 28, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Maronda Hastie

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

August 29, 2022 to September 14, 2022

Date: August 28, 2022

Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Bottom Longline Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Introduction

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia. Join me during my research on the NOAA Ship Oregon II in an expedition studying shark and red snapper. I am excited to board the ship in Cape Canaveral, Florida and head to the Gulf of Mexico for about 14 days. Be a part of my journey and interact through my blog.

I first learned about NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program while at the Georgia Aquarium for a workshop two years ago. I immediately looked up more information & started the application process. Although I was accepted & thrilled to participate, Covid-19 delayed my departure. Please understand how frustrated I was as the world’s plans changed before my eyes! Normally I delete spam emails, but I did several searches to make sure I didn’t miss out on the email contacting me back to the original plan. I was so excited to finally get the news I’ve been waiting for that I did a happy dance.

In 2017 I was fortunate to participate in the Georgia Aquarium “Rivers to Reefs” program where educators spent one week testing water in the Altamaha River Watershed. We started in Atlanta and worked our way to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Our field experiences included a behind the scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium, testing water in Shoals Creek on Glenwood Avenue, High Falls State Park in Jackson Georgia, canoe the Ocmulgee River where it meets the Oconee River, Sapelo Island Marine Institute, and Skidaway Island Marine Science Center. This experience opened my eyes to more opportunities for my students and enlightened me on how humans effect the environment. I immediately worked on developing student project presentations and fieldtrips the next school year. I love seeing the “Aha” moments and taking my students to Skidaway Island and other places around the world. I get just as excited as them when they figure out things work.

a slide Maronda created about her experience at the Georgia Aquarium's Rivers to Reefs Workshop. Title: Shoals Creek on Glenwood Avenue. "Our 1st data collection stop was Shoals Creek on Glenwood Avenue in Dekalb County. We observed our surroundings, discussed the difference between invasive and nonnative species, described watersheds and environmental concerns, completed projects to share with our students, and collected water samples."
Georgia Aquarium Rivers to Reefs Program in 2017 Shoals Creek
a slide Maronda created about her experience at the Georgia Aquarium's Rivers to Reefs Workshop.
GA Aquarium Rivers to Reefs Program 2017 High Falls Park
a slide Maronda created about her experience at the Georgia Aquarium's Rivers to Reefs Workshop.
Georgia Aquarium Rivers to Reefs Program 2017 Sapelo Island
a slide Maronda created about her experience at the Georgia Aquarium's Rivers to Reefs Workshop.
Georgia Aquarium Rivers to Reefs Program 2017 Gray’s Reef

While studying Math & Computer Science at Savannah State University, I spent a lot of time in the Marine Biology building working on projects, catching small crabs at the school’s dock, walking to the docks at Thunderbolt, and Tybee Island collecting samples. This allowed me to relax, rejuvenate, learn about the environment and be creative. Now I challenge my students and people around me to do the same. Currently I teach Algebra, Geometry & Pre-Calculus and would like to incorporate more cross-curricular projects with my students.

a collage of photos of students visiting the Georga Aquarium.
Field trip with McNair High Students 2022
a student stands at a black table near a sample tray and laminated instruction sheets. She smiles down a small fish she holds in her gloved right hand.
Mariah was all smiles while she examined the fish at Skidaway Island Marine Science Center 2019
a group of students stands around a specimen bin in a lab setting. several of them hold containers of water and reach in to remove specimens.
Students Examine Samples at Skidaway Island Marine Science Center 2019

Upcoming Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico

My work hours will be from 12pm – 12am leaving from Cape Canaveral & headed to the Gulf of Mexico aboard the NOAA Ship Oregon II. I am excited to work with all types of sharks & red snapper along the way. Listen, if I pull a shark from the tail will it try to bite me? How close do I need to be? How long can the fish be out of water while I carefully examine it & put back in the ocean? What will I use all this information for? Are you trying to make me shark meat? Which statistic will I increase? What if a hurricane approaches, do I need to record that too or leave town? Soon I will find out. Let’s get started!

What did the faculty & students have to say before I depart?

Last week students & faculty members had something to say about this exciting journey I will participate in with NOAA. I am honored to carry the torch for the Teacher at Sea Program this year and proudly immerse myself in the entire experience. Check out what a few people had to say.

Student Da’Vaughn T. : “I would like field trips such as helping the marine life and be able to visit underwater animals.”

Math Instructional Coach Eboni Arnold: “Science research can help students at McNair High School by enhancing their critical thinking skills, mathematical competency as well as gain an in-depth knowledge of science based real life practical skills to enhance their learning. ​Environmental issues are related to STEAM because the more students and educators know about the environment, they are able to raise awareness of the importance of being environmentally safe and protecting our society through learned experiences. ​Everyone can benefit from this amazing experience through Ms. Hastie sharing her blogs, notes, her own experiences, and the connections she will make with her students, colleagues, and within McNair High School. ​ Ms. Hastie is an excellent choice for this opportunity because she always connects real-life opportunities to her classroom instruction. She provides opportunities for students to experience life outside the classroom through field trips and project-based learning.”

Principal Dr. Loukisha Walker:

Principal Dr. Loukisha Walker

Hello, my name is Dr. Loukisha Walker and I am a proud principal of Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School in Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to speak on why Ms. Hastie is the perfect choice for the Teacher at Sea Program. 

For Ms. Hastie, this opportunity is simply an extension of prior and current activities that she has used to expose students to opportunities and programs that would otherwise be out of reach for our students. This allows students to broaden their scope of possibilities for careers and even travel. Ms. Hastie, in addition to all of these things, is an avid blogger, project creator, and loves to communicate what she has learned to students to give them wisdom and insight, though they did not experience it first hand. For this reason and others, Ms. Hastie is simply the perfect choice for the Teacher at Sea Program. I know that Ms. Hastie, and her work ethic, and the way she pays attention to detail, she will take all of that information and bring it back to our students and make sure that she relays that information to them. She’s gonna talk about how exciting it is for them. She’s going to even speak on just her experience for being at sea for so many days. So with all of those things in mind, Ms. Hastie is going to not only do an amazing job while she’s at sea for 15 days, but she’s going to record, she’s going to continue to blog while she’s there, she’s gonna take a ton of photos and she’s going to come back and make sure our students experience it as if they were there with her.

This is Ms. Hastie, this is her work ethic, and we’re so proud of her and we know she’s going to do an amazing job with the Teacher at Sea Program. Congratulations once again, Go Mustangs, and we are proud of you.

Assistant Principal of Attendance & Testing, Dr. Barbara Long:

Assistant Principal of Attendance & Testing, Dr. Barbara Long

“Good afternoon, my name is Dr. Barbara Long. I serve as the assistant principal of attendance and testing at the fantastic Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School. We are so proud of Ms. Maronda Hastie and all that she is going to learn, do, and share when she returns from this amazing adventure. Science research can benefit our students at Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School in multiple ways. Number 1, it will surely help to develop our students’ problem solving, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Hopefully students will engage in actionable research projects following this pursuit and partner and collaborate with others to devise solutions to these real life problems and ultimately benefit the communities in which we live. So I’m looking forward to the engagement, activities, and application of the real science for our students. Proud to be a leader here.”

Art Teacher Debra Jeter:

Art Teacher Debra Jeter

“There’s something that’s universal about science research that could not only benefit the students at McNair, but benefit anyone to know what’s going on around us. How else can we, you know, contribute or help or even understand and live in this world if we don’t have some understanding of, you know, what’s going on around us. And the ocean is so important to us. And I think Ms. Hastie is a great choice for this, because not only has she been well traveled, but she has a great interest in science research and the environment.

And not only that, but she does the most, you know? Like, she’ll be in there, following them and asking questions and writing it down and making sure she bring it back and share with McNair. And so many of these environmental issues are related to STEAM, too, which is a big concern for all the teachers at McNair, because environmental issues, as global warming continues, is gonna be vital for us all to understand how we can contribute to making our environment more peaceful. And not so hostile, and, you know, so many species are going extinct, if we just let this continue, we might be extinct too. And I’m sure that she’s gonna benefit… We’ll all benefit from her experience of being out there. I can’t wait to hear her stories and see her photos. I’ve been on journeys with her before she’s a marvelous… She know how to find places and go places and do things, she’s very capable. It’s gonna be fascinating just to hear her second-hand stories of what she found and how we can help make the world a better place.”

Business & Technology Teacher Wanda Charles-Henley

Business & Technology Teacher Wanda Charles-Henley

“Hello, my name is Wanda Charles-Henley and I’m a business teacher here at McNair High School. And I’d like to answer question number two: how and why is Ms. Hastie a good choice for this opportunity? I think Ms. Hastie is a perfect candidate for this opportunity because she’s always willing to go above and beyond for not only the students here at McNair, but also the staff members. She’s always willing to lend a helping hand. As a new teacher here, she was the first one to come and say she would teach me some of the new programs ’cause I’d been out of education for a while. She’s always one of the last teachers to leave the building. So she has a number of programs that she has coordinated for the students, exposing them to a lot of the opportunities outside of school. She also has the Chick-fil-A Leadership Program. She’ll coordinate activities for the students such as skating, coordinate activities such as environmentally cleaning up the Chattahoochee River. She’s always coming up with innovative ways to get the students involved. And I just think she will be an excellent candidate, and she is an outstanding teacher, and I can’t wait to see what she brings back to McNair High School and all the information she’s gonna share with us. Go Ms. Hastie!”

Culinary Arts Teacher Chef Leslie Gordon-Hudson:

Culinary Arts Teacher Chef Leslie Gordon-Hudson

“Okay, my question that I will be answering is how and why is Ms. Hastie a good choice for this opportunity… Ms. Hastie is a good choice for this opportunity, ’cause she is one teacher, I know, that will go out and get the resources and the information and bring it back not just to her math class, but in the entire school and engage the entire school, and whatever the idea is or the project or the learn resource or whatever the systems that she learned, that’s why I think she’s a great choice for this program.”

Student Dieynabou D.:

Student Dieynabou D.

“I believe that everyone can benefit from this great experience because it will provide excellent exposure into many things, including careers into oceanography. As a student leader, and a member of the National Beta Club here at McNair High School, I’m looking forward to creating community service activities that are involved with the environment.”

And here’s what I have to say:

Teacher at Sea Maronda Hastie

Hi, my name is Maronda Hastie. I am a representative of McNair High School in DeKalb County, Georgia. I am so excited to have been selected to be a part of the Teacher at Sea Program. I first heard about it at the Georgia Aquarium, and it is a program from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. So I’m excited that I’m gonna be studying shark and red snapper (hope the shark doesn’t eat me!) but I’m excited about studying the shark, because once I do all of my research for a few weeks, I get to bring it all back and I will share it with my colleagues, I will share it with my students, and I will share it with the community. So I feel like my job is to just spread the information about oceanic opportunities, as well as opportunities for the students to know about more careers, more field trips, more hands-on activities in the classroom. So I’ll develop a few lessons, so although I teach math, we can do interdisciplinary projects, so I’ll be working with, say, the science teacher, I work with the art teacher, I work with any teacher who would like to create lessons with me, so that we can, you know, expose our children. So I’m excited.

George Hademenos: Homeward Bound…from Biloxi, Mississippi, August 26, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 26, 2022

When I received my assigned schedule for my time at sea aboard the R/V Tommy Munro, I was participating in Leg 1 of the Summer SEAMAP Groundfish Survey that departed Biloxi, MS on July 18 and returned to Biloxi, MS on July 27. In a previous post, I highlighted the changes that have occurred since its original planned journey (departing from Galveston, TX instead of Biloxi, MS; change in ships from Oregon II to Tommy Munro; and change in dates from 6/20 – 7/3 to 7/18 – 7/27). With all of these changes, the cruise was delayed by one day because of logistical concerns. Once everyone boarded the vessel on the evening of July 19 and we left dock, it truly felt like this experience was actually happening… and it was. But as they say, especially among scientists, one should always expect the unexpected.

On early Sunday morning while asleep following my shift, I was awoken by one of my bunkmates that we would by stopping the survey and heading to port early because of an emergency issue with a crew member. We were expected to arrive in Biloxi on Monday, July 25 by 6:00 am.

As Sunday evening came around, the estimated time of arrival was moved up to 4:30 am so I simply stayed up so I would be packed and ready to go once we reached port. My immediate worry turned to my flight from Biloxi to Dallas but the NOAA Teacher at Sea staff were on it and I was confronted with a good news/bad news scenario. The good news? I was able to get on a flight for Monday. The bad news? The flight was scheduled for 7:00 pm. So I stayed aboard the ship until 12 Noon and then called for a taxi. I decided to contact the driver who took me from the airport in Biloxi upon arrival. He was honest, friendly and personable so I decided to see if he was available for a ride to the airport. This turned out to be another good news/bad news scenario. The good news? Yes, the taxi cab driver was available to pick me up and take me to the airport. The bad news? He would be able to pick me up until 3:00 pm, leaving me with a 3-hour wait but I felt good knowing I had a ride to the airport.

As luck would have it, the driver showed up about 15 minutes early and I was off to the airport. Following check in at the counter, I went through security and on to my gate to await the flight. There were several changes in the departure time but in the end it turned out to be delayed approximately 30 minutes. The flight was short in duration (about 90 minutes) and smooth. The flight is detailed in the attached figure below.

a map of the flight path from Gulfport airport (GPT) to Dallas-Fort Worth airport (DFW.) additional details show that George landed in Dallas at 9:21 pm CT. the flight arrived 37 minutes late.
Information Regarding my Homeward Bound Flight

After a short wait at baggage claim to retrieve my luggage and a 30-minute taxi ride home, it was the end of a very tiring day, and the beginning of a period of reflection and processing of a very exciting experience. In the next and final blog post, I will share my reflections from my time as a NOAA Teacher at Sea.

In this installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework, I would like to ask you

to respond to three questions about the sixth essential principle (The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.), presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/yuu7wfre

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

George Hademenos: A Day in the Life…of a Marine Science Researcher, August 25, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 25, 2022

In this post, I would like to walk you through my interactions and observations with the science research being conducted aboard the R/V Tommy Munro, in particular, the steps that were taken during a trawling process. The entire process involved three stages: Preparing for Sampling, Conducting the Sampling, and Analyzing the Sampling with each stage consisting of six distinct steps.

View the following steps in an interactive tour here: Trawl Sampling Process (Genially)

I. Preparing for Sampling

Step 1: The ship travels to designated coordinates for sampling sites as determined for the particular leg of the Survey by SEAMAP (Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program).

screenshot of a computer screen showing the path that R/V Tommy Munro traveled among sampling sites. The ship's path is a bold blue line connecting sample sites marked in yellow. It's superimposed on an electronic nautical chart. This survey occurred southeast of Florida's Apalachicola Bay and St. George Island.
Ship Transport to Sampling Site

Step 2: Once the ship reaches the site, a Secchi disk is attached to a cable and lowered into the water off the side of the ship to determine visibility. When the disk can no longer be seen, the depth is recorded and the disk is raised and secured on ship. 

a scientist wearing a life vest stands on a small grated platform that has folded down off the fantail of R/V Tommy Munro. With his left land, he grasps a cable hanging from an A-Frame that extends out of the photo. The cable is attached to a white disk, about the size of an old record, with a weight underneath.
Deployment of Secchi Disk

Step 3: A CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) unit is then prepared for deployment. It is a rectangular chamber with sensors designed to measure physical properties of the water below including dissolved oxygen, conductivity, transmissivity, and depth. 

a conductivity, temperature, and depth probe, mounted inside a rectangular metal cage about 1 foot square and about 3 feet high, sits on deck. a crew member wearing white shrimp boots hooks a cable onto the top of the CTD frame. Another person, mostly out of frame, touches the CTD frame with their right hand, covered in a blue latex glove.
Preparation of CTD Unit

Step 4: The CTD unit is powered on and first is submerged just below the surface of the water and left there for three minutes for sensors to calibrate. It is then lowered to a specified depth which is 2 meters above the floor of the body of water to protect the sensors from damage. 

the CTD unit, attached to a cable, sinks into dark blue water.
Deployment of CTD Unit

Step 5: Once the CTD unit has reached the designated depth, it remains there only for seconds until it is raised up and secured on board the ship.  

a science team member, wearing a blue hat, a blue life vest, and blue latext gloves, stands on the deployment platform out the back of R/V Tommy Munro. He grasps the top of the CTD frame as a cable lifts it back out of the water.
Recovery of CTD Unit

Step 6: The CTD unit is then turned off and the unit is connected through a cable to a computer in the dry lab for data upload. Once the data upload is completed, the CTD unit is flushed with deionized water using a syringe and plastic tubing and then secured on the side of the ship.   

the CTD unit sits on deck, now connected to a computer via a cable to upload the data it collected.
Data Upload from CTD Unit

II. Conducting the Sampling

Step 1: The trawling process now begins with the trawl nets thrown off the back of the ship. The nets are connected to two planks, each weighing about 350 lbs, which not only submerges the nets but also provide an angled resistance which keeps the nets open in the form of a cone – optimal for sampling while the ship is in motion.

a view of the fantail of R/V Tommy Munro, from an upper deck. we are looking through the rigging of the trawl frames. two large planks rest on the lower deck, connected to ropes and lines. the trawl net, connected to the planks, extends out the back of the fantail. It is just visible below the surface, a turquoise-colored cone submerged in a blue sea.
Preparation of the Trawling Process Part 1
another view of the fantail of R/V Tommy Munro from an upper deck, through extensive rigging and frames. the trawl net is further extended; now the large planks are lowering off the back deck as well, suspended by lines connected to a pulley in an A-frame. it is a clear day and the water is very smooth.
Preparation of the Trawling Process Part 2

Step 2: Once the trawl nets have been released into the water from the ship, the ship starts up and continues on its path for 30 minutes as the nets are trapping marine life it encounters.

a view of the fantail of R/V Tommy Munro from an upper deck. the trawl net is fully deployed and no longer visible. a crew member sweeps the deck.
Onset of the Trawling Process

Step 3: After 30 minutes has transpired, a siren sounds and the ship comes to a stop. The two weighted planks are pulled upon the ship followed by the trawl nets.

a view of the A-frame at the fantail R/V Tommy Munro as the trawl net rises from the ocean. The two spreader panels are suspended from separate lines running through the central pulley. behind those, the top of the trawl net is visible above the water. a crew member guides the spreader doors with his left hand, holding the lines with his right hand.
Conclusion of the Trawling Process Part 1
the spreader doors are now resting on the fantail deck again. two crewmembers, wearing life jackets, pull the trawl net back on board.
Conclusion of the Trawling Process Part 2

Step 4: The trawl nets are raised and hoisted above buckets for all specimens to be collected. Then begins the process of separation. In the first separation, the marine life is separated from seaweed, kelp and other debris. The buckets with marine life and debris are then weighed and recorded.

a crewmember (only partially visible) empties the contents of the trawl net into a blue plastic basket. it looks like it's mostly sargassum.
Content Collection from the Trawl Part 1
four plastic baskets on deck hold the sorted contents of the trawl. one has larger fish; another contains only a single fish; a third is a jumble of seaweed and sargassum, and may represent the remainder to sort; the contents of the fourth are not visible. a crewmember wearing a life vest and gloves leans over the baskets. another crewmember, only partially visible, looks on.
Content Collection from the Trawl Part 2

Step 5: The bucket(s) with marine life are emptied upon a large table on the ship’s stern for separation according to species.

a pile of fish on a large metal sorting table. we can see snappers, a trigger fish, and many lionfish. a stack of white sorting baskets rests adjacent to the pile.
Separation Based on Species Part 1
a gloved hand reaches toward the pile of fish on the metal sorting table. (this photo was taken from the same vantage point as the previous one.)
Separation Based on Species Part 2

Step 6: Each species of marine life is placed in their own tray for identification, examination, and measurements inside the wet lab. 

two gloved crewmembers sort fish into smaller white baskets on a large metal sorting table. the table is on the back deck of the ship, and we can see smooth ocean conditions in the background. the crewmember in the foreground considers a small fish he has picked up from the remaining unsorted pile. the other crewmember looks on.
Species Sorted in Trays Part 1
a close-up view of the sorting basket containing only lionfish.
Species Sorted in Trays Part 2

III. Analyzing the Sampling

Step 1: After all species were grouped in their trays, all trays were taken into the wet lab for analysis. Each species was positively identified, counted, and recorded.  

a direct view of three fish of different species, lined up on the metal sorting table. the third is a spotfin butterflyfish.
Tray Transport to Wet Lab

Step 2: Once each species was identified and counted, the total number of species was weighed while in the tray (accounting for the mass of the tray) and recorded on a spreadsheet to a connected computer display system.   

a view of a scale.
Total Weight Measurements

Step 3: For each species, the length of each specimen was recorded using a magnetic wand with a sensor that facilitated the electronic recording of the value into a spreadsheet.   

two hands, wearing latex gloves, measure a small lionfish on the electronic measuring board. the scientist holds the fish against the board with his left hand and with his right hand marks the length with the magnetic stylus.
Individual Length Measurements

Step 4: Weights of the collected species were recorded for the first sample and every fifth one that followed.   

the gloved arm places the small lionfish on the scale behind the fish measuring board.
Individual Weight Measurements

Step 5: If time permitted between samplings, the sex of selected specimens for a species was determined and recorded.   

gloved hands cut into a small lionfish to remove the fish's gonads.
Individual Species Sex Identification

Step 6:Once the entire sampling was analyzed, selected samples of specimens were placed in a baggie and stored in a freezer for further analysis with the remaining specimens returned to a larger bucket and thrown overboard into the waters. The separation table was cleaned with a hose and buckets were piled in preparation for the next sampling. 

view out the fantail of R/V Tommy Munro from the lower deck. the trawl net and spreader doors lay on the deck, not currently in use. the sun shines on calm seas.
Finalize Process and Prepare for Next

In this installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework, I would like to ask you

to respond to three questions about the fifth essential principle (The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.), presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/427xp9p3

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

George Hademenos: (Working) 9 to 5…and Then Some When at Sea, August 24, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 24, 2022

In the prior blog post, I focused my attention on the ship that I would be sailing on during Leg 1 of the Summer SEAMAP Groundfish Survey and then took you on a virtual tour of the various compartments and areas of the R/V Tommy Munro. The ship is an enclosed, confined space and thus I found myself spending much of my time in most of the compartments and areas of the ship during my time on the cruise. In this post, I would like to describe what life was like on the ship as a member of the science team.  

Work schedule

My primary role as a Teacher at Sea was to participate in the research process for this cruise – Summer Groundfish Survey. The detailed step-by-step description of the preparation, collecting, measuring, and analysis of sampling specimens of marine life will be covered in the following blog post. However, regarding the work conducted on the ship, research is ongoing continuously on a 24-hour schedule. The science research team was grouped into two teams with each team working a 12-hour shift. The two teams worked either the AM shift (12:00 am Midnight – 12:00 pm Noon) or the PM shift (12:00 pm Noon – 12:00 am Midnight), seven days a week. I was assigned the PM shift, which took a little getting used to but after the first full shift, the schedule became a routine schedule.

Small living quarters

One of things I should have packed prior to the cruise was a football helmet. Why you might ask? In the prior post as I took you on a tour of the R/V Tommy Munro, I showed pictures of my living quarters on the ship and my bed which provided limited space. If you will recall, my bed was the bottom bunk to the left in the photo below.

A collage of two images. On the left, a view of a closed door (simple, wooden, with a knob, could be in a house.) Several pieces of laminated paper are taped to the door. One reads: State Quarters 2. The next are the two pages of the Emergency Station Bill (not close enough to read). On the right, a photo looking inside the stateroom, where we can see four bunks.
My living quarters aboard the R/V Tommy Munro.

In fact, as I retired to my bed on the first night, I bumped my head. I then got up to go to the bathroom and I bumped my head. Returning to the bed and positioning myself under the covers, I bumped my head yet again. After bumping my head an additional 1,374 times (not really but it seemed like an accurate enough number), I wish I had thought to pack a football helmet but I was not the only one having trouble moving in my bed without bumping my head. My bunkmates experienced the same thing – apparently a normal occurrence in life at sea.

Meals

            One thing to note that while aboard the ship, I never… and I mean never… found myself hungry. There were all sorts of food to accommodate all tastes for all workers at all hours of the day and night. The cook on board the R/V Tommy Munro, John Z., was an amazing cook and continuously worked his magic in the kitchen to prepare three square meals for the crew and research staff. The three meals were breakfast at 5:30 am, lunch at 11:30 am, and dinner at 5:30 pm. One of my many pleasant memories after working one of my shifts and getting to bed by 1:30 am was being awoken by the smell of bacon wafting through the ship. Although I was going on 4 hours of sleep and was dead tired, the bacon was calling… no, scratch that… screaming my name and I was dressed and had a seat at the dining table within 15 minutes. Because of the long shifts often involving hard, strenuous work, many of the crew would sleep through a meal or two. However, leftovers of the prior meal were always available to those sleeping in to be heated up and enjoyed later. Lunch was the one meal that could be enjoyed by the PM crew before starting their shift and be the AM crew as they completed their shift on their way to bed. Some examples of meals that I enjoyed during my time on the R/V Tommy Munro is shown in the collage below.

A collage of four photos of meals arranged on paper plates: chicken cordon bleu with pasta, burrito and fires, a breakfast of bacon eggs hash browns, and a burger with beans and tater tots. The collage is titled: 
"Sample (and Incredibly Tasty) Meals I Enjoyed Aboard the R/V Tommy Munro"
Meals that I enjoyed during my time aboard the R/V Tommy Munro.

DO NOT Touch that Fish but… Bon Appétit!

As an educator interested in any and all things science, I would always look forward to the end of the sampling process and the emptying of the nets to survey our catch – a grab bag of a variety of different types of marine life and species. I had seen images of several types of marine life contained within the nets and recognized even fewer numbers by their name, but again this was an opportunity to learn and every sampling increased my library of marine science knowledge. During one such sampling (as shown in the photo below), I noted a multitude of one species of fish that were unique in their presence and I quickly understood them to be a species of lionfish.

a pile of fish on deck next to a stack of empty sorting bins. there are at least four, maybe as many as seven, lionfish visible in the pile. They are easily identifiable by their pink, orange, and white stripes and marbling and their frilly fins.
The collection of fish from a sampling.

I was somewhat familiar with lionfish and knew them to be an invasive species, detrimental to marine ecosystems. For those interested in learning more about lionfish, please review the two graphics below:

a poster about invasive and venomous lionfish. "With their distinctive venomous spines and aggressive nature, this invasive species has thrived in U.S. coastal waters because they have no natural predators--until now. Whole Foods stores in Florida are selling the 'white, buttery meat' of the fish, hoping to take a bite out of the non-native species hurting Florida's offshore reefs."
An infographic describing the features and habitat of the lionfish.
Credit: Hiram Henriquez / H2H Graphics & Design Inc.
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Invasive Lionfish By the Numbers. Biology: 50,000 eggs every 3 days. 1 Year to Maturity. 30 Year Lifespan. 18 venomous spines. Distribution: 17x density in Atlantic vs. native Pacific range. Reach depths of 1,000 feet. 1985: year first found off Miami, FL. 4 U.S. national marine sanctuaries invaded: 1) Monitor, 2) Gray's Reef, 3) Florida Keys, 4) Flower Garden Banks. Map of invaded area (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, eastern U.S. coast) and area projected for invasion (Brazilian coast.) Control: 164 restaurants serving lionfish. 51,420 lbs of commercial lionfish caught in U.S. 28,770 lionfish removed during REEF sanctioned lionfish derbies. Impacts: Invasive species threaten coral reefs. Before invasion: (illustration of diverse fish assemblage on reef) after invasion: (mostly lionfish.) Over 100 prey fish species. 1,000 lionfish can consume 5 million prey fish in 1 year. 0 known predators.
An infographic depicting invasive lionfish by the numbers. Download full version here: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/lionfish/invasive-lionfish-by-the-numbers.pdf

and access the Invasive Lionfish Web portal at:

http://lionfish.gcfi.org/education-outreach#front_page_accordion-block-5

Lionfish adversely impact coral reefs by feeding on herbivores which in turn feed on and keep a check of algae growth as well as pose a danger to any organism that comes in direct contact with them. They carry venomous spines which contain a deadly poison that can initiate a severe and painful allergic reaction in humans and can be fatal when in contact with other marine species. This is exactly why I was warned several times to avoid touching the lionfish… orders I followed to a T. When the sampling was brought into the wet lab for analysis, I asked Andre D. and my team members Kyle A. and Jacob G. questions about lionfish to find out more information about this interesting species of fish. We were discussing its detrimental impact to marine ecosystems, and the efforts currently underway to curtail the population of lionfish, when the ship’s cook, John Z., mentioned that they are very delicious and often served in seafood dishes like fish tacos. He went on to explain that one strategy to control the population of lionfish was to see if they could be eaten and if people would find it palatable. It turned out that this was the case for lionfish. I did not know that lionfish could be eaten and expressed surprise. He waited until the analysis of the sampling was over and then took two lionfish to the kitchen, cooked them, and brought the prepared fish to us in the wet lab to taste. I did and John Z. was right – it was very delicious!

a collage of two photos titled, "Lionfish Just Caught... and Just Cooked." on the left, a basket of lionfish sorted out from the sample. on the right, a paper plate with cooked lionfish meat.
Lionfish captured…and consumed!

Seasickness

            During the Orientation webinar for all Teacher at Sea educators who would be sailing this season, the topic of seasickness came up and it was strongly suggested to have Dramamine on hand to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness. Nawww, I’ll be OK. It would be one less thing to worry about during packing. My wife thought differently and urged me to take some with me…just to have on hand. So, I did pack some Dramamine just in case I need it. Well, on the first night of my cruise, it turned out that I needed it. As much as I thought I would be OK once the ship set sail, my stomach thought otherwise and experienced a mild case of nausea. I did take some Dramamine and allowed me to get some restful sleep and everything was fine. Dramamine did come in handy a couple of other times, particularly when the waters became more choppier than usual, but for the most part, I feel that I adjusted to life at sea quite well. Nevertheless, I was glad I had Dramamine with me.

No Wi-Fi

As a science teacher engaged in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like Teacher at Sea, I am particularly excited about sharing my experiences…as they happen in real time. However, updating blog posts, uploading photos to Facebook, or engaging followers through social media can only happen if Wi-Fi is available. The NOAA fleet of research vessels are equipped with Wi-Fi which as I was reminded on frequent occasions can be weak and intermittent. However, the R/V Tommy Munro was not part of NOAA and had no Wi-Fi. It was not possible for me to communicate my observations, my photos, and my narratives as a Teacher at Sea while it was happening. It just meant I would have to wait until the end of the cruise to begin sharing my experience.

On Deck scenic views

Although many might think that the lack of Wi-Fi would be a major inconvenience, I actually found it to be refreshing, offering me opportunities to simply relax. After a long shift and getting some rest, I would often go up to the top deck and just look gaze all around. At what you are probably wondering? Enjoy a sample of the breathtaking views I enjoyed from my perch atop the deck of the R/V Tommy Munro.

a collage of five photos titled, "Breathtaking Views of the Scenery Aboard the R/V Tommy Munro." Clockwise from top left: 1) the sun shines on water out the fantail of the R/V Tommy Munro. 2) sunsets in an  orange sky over the water. 3) the wake of R/V Tommy Munro breaks otherwise smooth waters at daytime. 4) another view over the water at sunset. 5) somewhat choppier conditions and rain visible on the horizon.
Scenic views from aboard the R/V Tommy Munro.

In this installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework, I would like to ask you to respond to three questions about the fourth essential principle:

The ocean made Earth habitable.

presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/32kdpx3e

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Línea Hidrográfica de Newport, 18 de agosto de 2022

Read this post in English: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Newport Hydrographic Line, August 18, 2022


NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

 NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

12 de agosto – 25 de agosto de 2022


Misión: Estudio de poblaciones de merluza del Pacífico

Área Geográfica de Crucero: Costa de Washington y Oregón

Fecha: 18 de agosto de 2022


Condiciones atmósfericas desde el puente :

Latitud: 4539.9725N
Longitud: 12422.9606W
Temperatura: 63°F 
Velocidad del viento: 13 mph
Barometero:  1017.2mb

Michael posa para una foto para mostrar su equipo: Grundens naranja (mono de goma) sobre una sudadera negra, un chaleco salvavidas naranja, un casco amarillo y anteojos de sol.
Preparado para recolectar muestras de plancton!

Registro de Ciencia y Tecnología

Línea Hidrográfica de Newport

La línea hidrográfica de newport es un estudio de investigación oceanográfica realizado por científicos del Centro de Ciencias Pesqueras del Noroeste de NOAA y de la Universidad Estatal de Oregón en las aguas costeras de Newport, Oregón .

Los investigadores han recopilado métricas oceanográficas físicas, químicas y biológicas a lo largo de Newport Line cada dos semanas durante más de 20 años. Este conjunto de datos de más de veinte años nos ayuda a comprender las conexiones entre los cambios en el clima oceánico y la estructura y función del ecosistema en la corriente de California1,2,3.

Los datos de Newport Line se destilan en  indicadores de ecosistemas oceánicos , que se utilizan para caracterizar el hábitat y la supervivencia de los salmónidos juveniles, y que también se han mostrado prometedores para otras poblaciones como el bacalao negro, el róbalo y la sardina4. Estos datos también brindan información crítica del ecosistema sobre problemas emergentes, como las olas de calor marinas3, la acidificación de los océanos, la hipoxia6 y la proliferación de algas nocivas7.

un mapa de la costa de Washington y Oregón. la tierra está sombreada en gris, mientras que el agua es blanca con algunas líneas azules que indican la topografía submarina. Aunque no hay líneas de cuadrícula, las etiquetas marcan las líneas de latitud desde 43 grados norte hasta 47 grados norte y las líneas de longitud desde 125 grados oeste hasta 123 grados oeste. A mitad de camino, entre 44 y 45 grados norte, una línea roja corta se extiende horizontalmente desde Newport hasta el meridiano 125. Está etiquetado como "Línea NH".
Newport line

Barómetro de la acidificación e hipoxia de los océanos en un clima cambiante

Los modelos climáticos globales sugieren que los cambios futuros en el afloramiento costero conducirán a una mayor incidencia de hipoxia y exacerbarán aún más los efectos de la acidificación de los océanos. La serie temporal de Newport Line proporciona una línea base de parámetros biogeoquímicos, como el estado de saturación de aragonito, un indicador de condiciones ácidas (Fig. 4). Los investigadores pueden comparar esta línea de base con posibles cambios futuros en la abundancia de organismos (p. ej., pterópodos, copépodos y krill) sensibles a la acidificación del océano y la hipoxia.

Equipo utilizado

  • a net, which includes long mesh tubing extending from a ring, hangs in the air from a point above the photo's frame. a crewmember, wearing hard hat and life jacket, grips the ring with his left hand and reaches toward a rope attached to the net with his right hand. three other crewmembers are visible around the net.
  • a net, which includes long mesh tubing extending from a ring, hangs in the air from a point above the photo's frame. a crewmember, wearing hard hat and life jacket, facing away from the camera, reaches over the rail of the ship to lower the end of the suspended net into the water.
  • an illustration of a research vessel with a vertical net deployed off its side. the net looks like a white cone, pointing downward, ending in a red cannister.

Una red vertical es una red de anillos con un ancho de malla pequeño y una forma de embudo largo. Al final, la red se cierra con un cilindro (copo) que recoge el plancton. Se despliega verticalmente en el agua desde un buque de investigación. Se utiliza principalmente para investigar la estratificación vertical/diagonal del plancton. Esto permite determinar la abundancia y distribución del mesozooplancton.

  • a cable lowers a bongo net onto the ship's deck. the bongo net, name for bongo drums, is actually a pair of nets: two rings side by side hold up the nets made of long mesh tubing that narrow until they end in attached cannisters. a crewmember, wearing a hard hat and a life vest, leans to look at something around the back of the net.
  • a crewmember, wearing a hard hat and life vest, hoses down the mesh tubing of one side of the bongo net. the top of the net hangs from a cable about 12 feet above the deck so the crewmember can rinse the tubing while standing.
  • an illustration of a research vessel with a bongo net deployed off its stern. the net looks like a pair of white cones, pointing horizontally away from the ship, ending in red cannisters.

Una red bongó consta de dos redes de plancton montadas una al lado de la otra. Estas redes de plancton son redes de anillos con un ancho de malla pequeño y una forma de embudo largo. Ambas redes están encerradas por un copo que se utiliza para recolectar plancton. Un barco de investigación tira horizontalmente de la red bongo a través de la columna de agua. Usando una red bongo, un científico puede trabajar con dos anchos de malla diferentes simultáneamente.

  • Michael, at left, holds up the net while Toby, right, uses a hose to spray down the mesh tubing at the end. Both Michael and Toby wear rubber pants, rubber boots, life jackets, and hard hats.
  • three crewmembers, wearing hard hats and life vests, hold different portions of a large fishing net that is attached to cables extending out of frame. One steadies the net spreader, a horizontal metal bar. Another grasps the webbing. We can see a wide piece of metal toward the front that is bent like a wide "V". The belts of the crewmembers' vests are each clipped to brightly covered, stretchy tethers to prevent them from falling overboard.
  • a diagram of the shape and dimensions of the Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl. labels identify the net spreader (horizontal metal bar), depresser (v-shaped metal plate), and bridle (short cables extending from the edges of the net opening, coming to a point). the net opening is 4 feet 8 inches wide by 5 feet 9 inches tall. the main portion of the trawl net extends 20 feet 6 inches long; it attached to a finer mesh net that is 5 feet 8 inches long.

La red de arrastre de media agua Isaacs-Kidd recolecta especímenes biológicos batipelágicos más grandes que los capturados por las redes de plancton estándar. La red de arrastre consiste en una red específicamente diseñada unida a una amplia paleta de buceo rígida en forma de V. La veleta mantiene abierta la boca de la red y ejerce una fuerza de presión, manteniendo la red de arrastre en profundidad durante períodos prolongados a velocidades de remolque de hasta 5 nudos. La abertura de entrada no está obstruida por el cable de remolque.

Muestras recolectadas

Registro personal

¡ATAQUE DE TIBURÓN!

Así es, nuestro uCTD fue atacado por un tiburón.

una vista a través de un aparejo de metal de una polea con un cable que se extiende hasta la superficie del océano. ya no hay nada conectado al cable.
Q.D.P.

En un día brillante y soleado, el equipo científico decidió lanzar el CTD en curso, ¡pero las cosas no salieron según lo planeado! Al recuperar el uCTD de regreso al barco, vimos una gran aleta dorsal zigzagueando cerca del uCTD, hasta que notamos que el uCTD ya no estaba conectado a la línea, por lo que no tuvimos más remedio que cancelar el uCTD. Deberías haber visto todas nuestras caras; no podíamos creer lo que vimos. Creemos que podría haber sido un:

vista de una mano que sostiene un perfilador submarino de conductividad, temperatura y profundidad (uCTD). en el fondo hay una pintura en la puerta de un gabinete de un barco blanco navegando a través de las olas y criaturas marinas algo fantásticas nadando debajo.
uCTD
(lo que se comió el tiburón)

CTD significa conductividad (salinidad), temperatura y (Depth) profundidad y permite a los investigadores recopilar perfiles de temperatura y salinidad de la parte superior del océano a velocidades en curso, a profundidades de hasta 500 m. Los exploradores oceánicos a menudo usan mediciones CTD para detectar evidencia de volcanes, respiraderos hidrotermales y otras características de aguas profundas que causan cambios en las propiedades físicas y químicas del agua de mar.

Atardecer en el Océano Pacífico, visto desde la cubierta superior del barco NOAA Bell M. Shimada. El marco de la red de arrastre, los pescantes y otros equipos en la cola de popa son visibles en silueta.
Atardecer a bordo

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Newport Hydrographic Line, August 18, 2022

Lea esta publicación en español: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Línea Hidrográfica de Newport, 18 de agosto de 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

 NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

August 12 – August 25, 2022


Mission: Pacific Hake Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Coasts of Washington and Oregon

Date: August 18, 2022


Weather conditions from the bridge:

Latitude: 4539.9725N
Longitude: 12422.9606W
Temperature: 63°F 
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Barometer:  1017.2mb

Michael poses for a photo to show off his gear: orange Grundens (rubber overalls) over a black sweatshirt, an orange life vest, a yellow hard hat, and sunglasses.
Ready for plankton sampling!

Science and Technology Log

Newport Hydrographic Line

One way scientists assess the health of our ocean’s ecosystems is to take samples of zooplankton and ichthyoplankton (fish eggs and larvae), both on the surface of the water and at depth. Observations of these plankton can inform us greatly about productivity at the bottom of the food chain, spawning location and stock size of adults, dispersal of larval fish and crabs to and away from nursery areas, and transport of ocean currents.

The Newport Hydrographic (Newport Line) is an oceanographic research survey conducted by NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Oregon State University scientists in the coastal waters off Newport, Oregon.

Researchers have collected physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic metrics along the Newport Line every two weeks for over 20 years. This twenty-plus year dataset helps us to understand the connections between changes in ocean-climate and ecosystem structure and function in the California Current.

Data from the Newport Line are distilled into ocean ecosystem indicators, used to characterize the habitat and survival of juvenile salmonids, and which have also shown promise for other stocks such as sablefish, rockfish, and sardine. These data also provide critical ecosystem information on emerging issues such as marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, hypoxia, and harmful algal blooms.

a map of the coast of Washington and Oregon. the land is shaded gray, while the water includes a few blue lines indicating underwater topography. Though there are not grid lines, labels mark the latitude lines from 43 degrees North to 47 degrees North and the longitude lines from 125 degrees West to 123 degrees West. Midway, between 44 and 45 degrees North, a short red line extends horizontally out from Newport to the 125th meridian. It's labeled "NH Line"
Newport line

Barometer of ocean acidification and hypoxia in a changing climate

Global climate models suggest future changes in coastal upwelling will lead to increased incidence of hypoxia and further exacerbate the effects of ocean acidification. The Newport Line time-series provides a baseline of biogeochemical parameters, such as Aragonite saturation state—an indicator of acidic conditions. Researchers can compare this baseline against possible future changes in the abundance of organisms (e.g., pteropods, copepods and krill) sensitive to ocean acidification and hypoxia.

Equipment used

  • a net, which includes long mesh tubing extending from a ring, hangs in the air from a point above the photo's frame. a crewmember, wearing hard hat and life jacket, grips the ring with his left hand and reaches toward a rope attached to the net with his right hand. three other crewmembers are visible around the net.
  • a net, which includes long mesh tubing extending from a ring, hangs in the air from a point above the photo's frame. a crewmember, wearing hard hat and life jacket, facing away from the camera, reaches over the rail of the ship to lower the end of the suspended net into the water.
  • an illustration of a research vessel with a vertical net deployed off its side. the net looks like a white cone, pointing downward, ending in a red cannister.

A vertical net is a ring net with a small mesh width and a long funnel shape. At the end, the net is closed off with a cylinder (cod-end) that collects the plankton. It is deployed vertically in the water from a research vessel. It is mostly used to investigate the vertical/diagonal stratification of plankton. This allows the abundance and distribution of mesozooplankton to be determined.

  • a cable lowers a bongo net onto the ship's deck. the bongo net, name for bongo drums, is actually a pair of nets: two rings side by side hold up the nets made of long mesh tubing that narrow until they end in attached cannisters. a crewmember, wearing a hard hat and a life vest, leans to look at something around the back of the net.
  • a crewmember, wearing a hard hat and life vest, hoses down the mesh tubing of one side of the bongo net. the top of the net hangs from a cable about 12 feet above the deck so the crewmember can rinse the tubing while standing.
  • an illustration of a research vessel with a bongo net deployed off its stern. the net looks like a pair of white cones, pointing horizontally away from the ship, ending in red cannisters.

A bongo net consists of two plankton nets mounted next to each other. These plankton nets are ring nets with a small mesh width and a long funnel shape. Both nets are enclosed by a cod-end that is used for collecting plankton. The bongo net is pulled horizontally through the water column by a research vessel. Using a bongo net, a scientist can work with two different mesh widths simultaneously.

  • Michael, at left, holds up the net while Toby, right, uses a hose to spray down the mesh tubing at the end. Both Michael and Toby wear rubber pants, rubber boots, life jackets, and hard hats.
  • three crewmembers, wearing hard hats and life vests, hold different portions of a large fishing net that is attached to cables extending out of frame. One steadies the net spreader, a horizontal metal bar. Another grasps the webbing. We can see a wide piece of metal toward the front that is bent like a wide "V". The belts of the crewmembers' vests are each clipped to brightly covered, stretchy tethers to prevent them from falling overboard.
  • a diagram of the shape and dimensions of the Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl. labels identify the net spreader (horizontal metal bar), depresser (v-shaped metal plate), and bridle (short cables extending from the edges of the net opening, coming to a point). the net opening is 4 feet 8 inches wide by 5 feet 9 inches tall. the main portion of the trawl net extends 20 feet 6 inches long; it attached to a finer mesh net that is 5 feet 8 inches long.

Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl collects bathypelagic biological specimens larger than those taken by standard plankton nets. The trawl consists of the specifically designed net attached to a wide, V-shaped, rigid diving vane. The vane keeps the mouth of the net open and exerts a depressing force, maintaining the trawl at depth for extended periods at towing speeds up to 5 knots. The inlet opening is unobstructed by the towing cable.

What we got?

  • a close-up (possible magnified) view of a petri dish containing organisms sampled by the Isaacs-Kidd net. mostly crustaceans and larval fish. The petri dish rests on a bright blue background that creates a sharp contrast with the somewhat translucent creatures.
  • close-up view of a pile of many, many krill. they look like clear pink tubes with black dots for eyes.

Personal Log

SHARK ATTACK!

That’s right, our underway CTD was attacked by a shark.

a view through a metal rigging of a pully with a cable extending down to the ocean's surface. there is no longer anything attached to the cable.
R.I.P.

On a bright and sunny day, the science team decided to launch the underway CTD, but things didn’t go as planned! Retrieving the uCTD back to the ship we saw a big dorsal fin zigzagging close to the uCTD, until we noticed that the uCTD was no longer attached to the line, therefore we had no choice that to cancel the uCTD. You should have seen all of our faces; we couldn’t believe what we saw. We think it could have been a:

view of a hand holding an underwater conductivity, temperature, and depth (uCTD) profiler. in the background is a painting on a cabinet door of a white ship sailing through waves and somewhat fantastical deep sea creatures swimming below.
underway CTD
(what the shark ate)

CTD stands for conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth and it enables researchers to collect temperature and salinity profiles of the upper ocean at underway speeds, to depths of up to 500 m. Ocean explorers often use CTD measurements to detect evidence of volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, and other deep-sea features that cause changes to the physical and chemical properties of seawater.

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean, as seen from an upper deck of NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada. The trawl net frame, davits, and other equipment on the fantail are visible in silhouette.
Sunset on board

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: ¡Bienvenidos a Bordo! 16 de agosto de 2022

Read this post in English: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Welcome Aboard! August 16, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

agosto 12 – agosto 25, 2022

Misión: Estudio de poblaciones de merluza del Pacífico

Área Geográfica de Crucero: Costa de Washington y Oregón

Fecha: 16 de agosto de 2022

Condiciones meteorológicas desde el puente:

Latitud:  4539.9729N
Longitud:  12422.9606O
Temperatura: 67.64°
Velocidad del Viento: 12.62 mph
Barometro: 1017.2 mb

 

Michael se para frente al buque Bell M. Shimada de la NOAA en el puerto, alrededor del atardecer. El ángulo es lo suficientemente amplio para ver todo el barco.
NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

Registro de Ciencia y Tecnología

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada fue construido por VT Halter Marine, Inc. en Moss Point, Mississippi. El barco se puso en servicio el 25 de agosto de 2010 y actualmente tiene su puerto base en el Centro de Operaciones Marinas de la NOAA—Pacífico en Newport, Oregón. El barco estudia principalmente una amplia gama de vida marina y condiciones del océano a lo largo de la costa oeste de EE. UU., desde el estado de Washington hasta el sur de California.

El diseño del barco permite una operación y un movimiento más silenciosos a través del agua, lo que brinda a los científicos la capacidad de estudiar peces y mamíferos marinos sin alterar significativamente su comportamiento.

Bell M. Shimada realiza estudios acústicos y de arrastre. Para los estudios acústicos, el barco utiliza una ecosonda multihaz (MBES) que proyecta un haz de sonido en forma de abanico que rebota hacia el barco. El MBES del barco, uno de los tres únicos sistemas de este tipo en todo el mundo, adquiere datos tanto de la columna de agua como del fondo marino. Los científicos pueden detectar peces cuando el barco pasa sobre ellos, midiendo la señal reflejada por los peces para estimar su tamaño y número. El sistema también puede crear un mapa y caracterizar el fondo del mar.

  • un gráfico que representa, en la parte superior, un barco en marcha y, en la parte inferior, la topografía debajo de la superficie del océano. la ilustración muestra una franja de luz que emana del casco del barco y colorea una sección de la topografía submarina a medida que avanza el barco.
  • tres científicos se sientan frente a sus computadoras portátiles alrededor de una mesa en un cuarto llena de computadoras y monitores adicionales.
  • los científicos observan un gran monitor de computadora que muestra datos acústicos.

El barco lleva a cabo muestreos de arrastre con una red de reconocimiento de fondo estandarizada, de tres bridas y cuatro costuras, equipada con un barrido de roca saltadora: barridos con grandes discos de goma que permiten remolcar las redes sobre fondos marinos rocosos e irregulares. Las redes de arrastre muestrean la biomasa de peces en un área de estudio determinada. Esto ayuda a los científicos a saber qué especies se encuentran en los bancos de peces observados y recopilar otros datos biológicos.

una vista desde la cola de popa de dos grandes redes de arrastre naranja enrolladas en la cubierta
Sistema de Arrastre

El laboratorio húmedo del barco permite a los científicos clasificar, pesar, medir y examinar los peces. Los datos se introducen directamente en la red informática científica del barco. Las estaciones de observación de aves y mamíferos marinos de Bell M. Shimada están equipadas con sensores para ayudar a los investigadores a identificar y rastrear especies protegidas.

  • una vista del laboratorio húmedo, aún no en uso: encimeras de metal, mangueras, básculas, tablas de medición.
  • foul weather gear (overalls, warm jackets, boots) and life vests hanging up in a closet space

Bell M. Shimada fue nombrado por un equipo de estudiantes de Marina High School en Monterey, California, quienes ganaron un concurso regional de NOAA para nombrar el barco. El homónimo del barco sirvió en la Oficina de Pesca y la Comisión Interamericana del Atún Tropical. Era conocido por sus contribuciones al estudio de las poblaciones de túnidos del Pacífico tropical, que fueron importantes para el desarrollo de las pesquerías comerciales de la costa oeste después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El hijo de Bell M. Shimada, Allen, es científico pesquero en NOAA Fisheries.

Registro Personal

Esto ha sido una experiencia que jamás imaginé, el jueves 11 de agosto cuando entré al puerto y vi a lo lejos el barco, se me hizo un nudo en la garganta, es mucho más grande e imponente de lo que imaginaba. Me recibió al barco la científica a cargo de la expedición Beth Philips, sumamente jovial y agradable me dio un recorrido por el barco lo cual déjenme decirles esto es un laberinto. Por otra parte, la tripulación ha sido excelente, todos con un trato amable y respetuoso hacia mi persona. Espero poder soltarme un poco más con todos en el barco ya que estoy un poco cohibido por mi inglés.

Les quiero presentar al excelente equipo de científicos

  • foto de grupo frente a una barandilla en la cubierta del buque NOAA Bell M. Shimada, con la ciudad de Seattle visible en la distancia. es un día claro y tranquilo. Michael lleva su gorra y camiseta de Teacher at Sea.
  • Beth corta un pastel de cumpleaños decorado con glaseado rosa y blanco.

En pocos días de haberlos conocido, me han enseñado muchísimo. Todos han tenido paciencia y me han explicado y contestado preguntas respecto al trabajo que realizan en alta mar. Sus conocimientos y experiencias me han llevado a crear gran admiración hacia ellos. ¡En los próximos blogs conocerán más de cada uno de ellos y los verás en acción!

Boricua en alta mar, no. Boricuas* en alta mar.

El LT Erick Estela posa para una foto en la cola de popa del buque NOAA Bell M. Shimada. Lleva su uniforme azul del NOAA Corps y sostiene una pequeña bandera puertorriqueña.
LT Erick Estela

Eso es correcto no soy el único puertorriqueño en el NOAA Bell M. Shimada, les presento al Teniente Erick Estella de Ciales, Puerto Rico. Erick es uno de los oficiales de NOAA Corps que sirven en mar, tierra y aire para apoyar la misión de administración y ciencias ambientales de la NOAA. Erick, lleva sirviendo en NOAA Corps nueve años y medio. En medio de los driles nos conocimos y fue muy emocionante saber que hay otro puertorriqueño a bordo. ¡Es un orgullo para Puerto Rico tener a Erick en tan importante roll dentro de la NOAA!

  • El LT Erick Estela se para al timón del barco NOAA Bell M. Shimada y mira directamente a la cámara.
  • Una vista del puente desde atrás, mirando a través de los paneles de control y por las ventanas. El LT Erick Estela conduce la embarcación, con su mano derecha cerca del timón, inclinado para mirar o ajustar algo en un panel de control a su izquierda.
  • una vista de los paneles de control del puente, sin nadie parado frente a ellos. timón, palancas, botones, monitores, teléfonos.
  • vista de primer plano de un monitor que muestra una pantalla de navegación. la computadora muestra una carta náutica electrónica y las posiciones de los barcos cercanos
  • pantalla de radar con puntos que marcan otros barcos dentro de un cierto radio del barco
  • un monitor de computadora que muestra las vistas de cuatro cámaras en vivo alrededor del barco

Antes de irme, les quiero compartir unas fotos tomadas por Teacher at Sea Alumni Association Manager Britta Culbertson, que nos esperó en la Isla Whidbey para decirnos adiós desde la costa. Gracias por las hermosas fotos y por todo tu apoyo. Gracias también a Denise Harrington, alumna de TAS por tus mensajes de apoyo, ¡muy agradecido!

Pendientes a mis próximos blogs donde les estaré hablando mas a fondo de nuestro estudio de poblaciones de merluza y los datos recibidos de la ecosonda. ¡Me voy a pescar, nos vemos en la próxima!

Michael, con una gorra de Teacher at Sea, muestra el atún blanco que atrapó. Lo sostiene por el hilo de pescar.
¡Atún Blanco!

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: Welcome Aboard! August 16, 2022

Lea esta publicación en español: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: ¡Bienvenidos a Bordo! 16 de agosto de 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

Boarding NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

August 12 – August 25, 2022

Mission: Pacific Hake Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Coastal Washington

Date: August 16, 2022

Weather conditions from the bridge:

Latitude:  4539.9729N
Longitude:  12422.9606W
Temperature: 67.64°
Wind Speed: 12.62 mph
Barometer: 1017.2 mb

 

Michael stands in front of NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada in port, around sunset. The angle is wide enough to see the entire vessel.
NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

Science and Technology Log

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada was built by VT Halter Marine, Inc. in Moss Point, Mississippi. The ship was commissioned on August 25, 2010 and is currently homeported at NOAA’s Marine Operations Center—Pacific in Newport, Oregon. The ship primarily studies a wide range of marine life and ocean conditions along the US West Coast, from Washington state to southern California.

The ship’s design allows for quieter operation and movement through the water, giving scientists the ability to study fish and marine mammals without significantly altering their behavior.

Bell M. Shimada conducts acoustic and trawl surveys. For acoustic studies, the ship uses a multibeam echo sounder (MBES) that projects a fan-shaped beam of sound that bounces back towards the ship. The ship’s MBES, one of only three such systems in the world, acquires data from both the water column and the seafloor. Scientists can detect fish when the boat passes over them, measuring the signal reflected by the fish to estimate their size and number. The system can also create a map and characterize the sea floor.

  • a graphic depicting a ship underway, on top, and then a cutaway illustration of the topography underneath the ocean's surface. the illustration depicts a swath of light emanating from the hull of the ship and coloring a section of the underwater topography.
  • three scientists sit at laptops around a table in a room filled with additional computers and monitors.
  • scientists look up at a large computer monitor depicting acoustic readings.

The ship conducts trawl sampling with a standardized, three-flange, four-seam bottom survey net equipped with a skipping rock sweep: sweeps with large rubber discs that allow the nets to be towed over rocky and uneven seabeds. Trawls sample fish biomass in a given study area. This helps scientists learn what species are in observed schools of fish and collect other biological data.

a view from the fantail of two large, orange trawl nets spooled up on deck
Trawl system

The ship’s wet lab allows scientists to sort, weigh, measure and examine fish. Data is entered directly into the ship’s scientific computer network. The Bell M. Shimada Bird and Marine Mammal Observation Stations are equipped with sensors to help researchers identify and track protected species.

  • a view of the wet lab, not yet in use: metal countertops, hoses, scales, measuring boards.

Bell M. Shimada was named by a team of students from Marina High School in Monterey, California, who won a regional NOAA contest to name the ship. The ship’s namesake served in the Bureau of Fisheries and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. He was known for his contributions to the study of tropical Pacific tuna populations, which were important to the development of West Coast commercial fisheries after World War II. Bell M. Shimada’s son, Allen, is a fisheries scientist with NOAA Fisheries.

Personal Log

This has been an experience that I never imagined, on Thursday, August 11, when I entered the port and saw the ship in the distance, I felt a lump in my throat, it is much larger and more imposing than I imagined. The scientist in charge of the expedition, Beth Philips, welcomed me to the ship. She was extremely jovial and pleasant and gave me a tour of the ship, which let me tell you, this is a labyrinth. The crew has been excellent, all with a kind and respectful treatment towards me. On the other hand, I hope I can loosen up a bit more with everyone on the ship since I’m a bit in my head because of my English speaking.

I want to introduce you to the excellent team of scientists

  • group photo in front of a railing on the deck of NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada, with the city of Seattle visible in the distance. it's a clear, calm day. Michael is wearing his Teacher at Sea hat and t-shirt.
  • Beth cuts into a birthday cake decorated with pink and white frosting.

In just a few days of meeting them, they have taught me a lot. They have all been patient and have explained and answered questions regarding the work they do on the high seas. Their knowledge and experiences have led me to create great admiration for them. In the next blogs you will learn more about each of them and you will see them in action!

Not Just One, But Two Puerto Ricans on the High Sea!

LT Erick Estela poses for a photo on the fantail of NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada. He is wearing his blue NOAA Corps uniform and holding a small Puerto Rican flag.
LT Erick Estela

That’s right I’m not the only Puerto Rican on NOAA Bell M. Shimada, this is LT Erick Estela from Ciales, Puerto Rico. Erick is one of the NOAA Corps officers serving at sea, on land and in the air to support NOAA’s environmental science and management mission. Erick have been serving with NOAA Corps nine and a half years. We met in the middle of a drill and it was very exciting to know that there’s another Puerto Rican on board. Puerto Rico is proud to have Erick in such an important role within NOAA!

  • LT Erick Estela stands at the helm of NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada and looks right at the camera.
  • A view of the bridge from the back, looking across the control panels and out the windows. LT Erick Estela is driving the vessel, with his right hand near the helm, leaning over to look at or adjust something on a control panel to his left.
  • a view of the bridge's control panels, with no one standing at them. helm, levers, buttons, monitors, phones.
  • close-up view of one monitor showing a navigation screen. the computer displays an electronic nautical chart and the positions of nearby vessels
  • radar screen with dots marking other vessels within a certain radius of the ship

Before I go, I want to share some photos taken by Teacher at Sea Alumni Association Manager Britta Culbertson, who met us at Whidbey Island to wave goodbye from shore. Thank you for the beautiful photos and for all your support. Thanks also to TAS Alumni Denise Harrington for your messages of support, much appreciated!

See you in my next blogs where I will be talking about our study of hake populations and the data received from the echo sounder. I’m gone fishing, see you next time!

Michael, wearing a Teacher at Sea hat, shows off the albacore tuna he caught. He holds it up by the fishing line.
Albacore Tuna!

George Hademenos: Home Sweet Home…at Least for the Next Two Weeks, August 14, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 14, 2022

There was no doubt about my excitement of being named as a NOAA Teacher at Sea and the opportunity to immerse myself in marine science and participate in scientific research. But the one aspect of this experience that I particularly looked forward to was being able to do this on a ship at sea. The ship would serve as a classroom like no other…a classroom where I could learn as a student and yet serve as a basis for me to develop instructional activities and projects for my students as a teacher. The classroom, as I described in the prior post, was originally scheduled to be NOAA Ship Oregon II but eventually turned out to be the R/V Tommy Munro.

While both ships were equipped with the facilities, resources and infrastructure required to conduct the samplings necessary for the survey, the main difference was that the Oregon II was part of the NOAA fleet of research vessels while the R/V Tommy Munro was not. Rather, the R/V Tommy Munro is operated under the management of the University of Southern Mississippi. Of course, when a ship is named after a person, there is always a sense of interest about the individual and what background, experience, and contributions to ocean sciences warranted such an honor. Tommy Munro has a compelling biography and can be read by accessing the following link:

http://www.msimhalloffame.org/tommy-munro.html

It was a thrill seeing the R/V Tommy Munro for the first time on Tuesday, July 19 in preparation of my upcoming cruise.

a collage of two images. on the left, a view of R/V Tommy Munro tied up at the dock, looking toward the bow. The name is painted prominently in black and blue. At right, a view of a life preserver mounted on an outer a wall of the ship. The life preserver also reads R/V Tommy Munro.
The ship exterior and a life preserver aboard the R/V Tommy Munro.

As I arrived at the docked ship, I was first met by John Z., the ship’s cook, who treated me to a tour of the vessel. I know you are just as anxious to see the various spaces inside the ship so come on aboard and let me take you on a tour. The first stop was my living quarters.

A collage of two images. On the left, a view of a closed door (simple, wooden, with a knob, could be in a house.) Several pieces of laminated paper are taped to the door. One reads: State Quarters 2. The next are the two pages of the Emergency Station Bill (not close enough to read). On the right, a photo looking inside the stateroom, where we can see four bunks.
My living quarters while aboard the ship.

I was assigned to State Quarters 2 which consisted of 4 bunks. My bunk was on the bottom to the left as you can see my belongings on the bed. Interestingly enough, it would turn out that 3 individuals were assigned to the quarters which meant that the upper bunk above mine was open. This was important because if the upper bunk was occupied, that would mean that I would have no other place to store my luggage than with me on the bed. So the upper bunk served as storage for the luggage from all three of us, giving us much need space to rest comfortably in our bunks.

The next stop on our tour involves meals on the cruise. The dining room is a table where all formal meals were served and offered an opportunity for those around the table to engage in conversation and watch television. It was not required for anyone wanting a meal to eat at the dining room table but it did offer a unique and comforting diversion from the long hours and hard work exerted while collecting samples for the survey.

view of a table in a narrow room. there are bar stools fixed in place around the table. we can see a microwave, cabinets, a small shelf with a coffee maker, a TV, and the stairwell.
The dining room table where all formal meals were served.

Of course, the dining room would not have much of a purpose were it not for a kitchen to prepare the meals.

a collage of two photos. on the left, a view of the kitchen, looking much like a simple apartment kitchen with wooden cabinets, an oven, a range, a refrigerator. on the right, a view of a pantry and a counter space.
This is the kitchen where all formal meals are prepared (right) and the storage area/table space where meals are prepared.

The picture on the left is the cooking station with the stove and oven where the meals are cooked and the picture on the right is where the meals are prepared. These two spaces appear to be very small areas and they are but there was enough room for the vast amount of groceries purchased prior to each cruise. I remember speaking to John Z. the cook about the grocery shopping for an upcoming cruise and he relayed to me that when he returns from shopping, it takes him approximately 3 hours to put up all of the groceries!

The tour continues with the areas of the ship dedicated to the research conducted during the cruise.

The first area is referred to as the wet lab – the space where the samples collected from each sampling are processed, and measurements are recorded and uploaded to a database.

a collage of two photos. on the left, we see wooden cabinets and a metal counter, a large sink, a computer monitor, a small window. on the right, a line of refrigerators or freezers to store samples.
The work area of the wet lab is depicted in the photo to the left while the samples storage area is shown on the right photo.

Just located across the hallway from the wet lab is the dry lab, the area with several computers allowing the scientists to track the motion of the ship, confirm its arrival at each sampling site, and store data acquired by the Secchi disk, the CTD array of sensors unique to each sampling site, and the species analysis of marine life species collected during each sampling.

view of a room with wooden cabinets and countertops, desk chairs, storage boxes, computers and a printer
This is the dry lab is where the computational analysis from each sampling is conducted.

As we near the end of the tour of the R/V Tommy Munro, let’s proceed from the wet and dry lab to a flight of stairs to the upper deck of the vessel to the captain’s deck.

the bridge of the ship. we can see monitors, control panels, logs, and the windows of the bridge.
This is the captain’s deck of the R/V Tommy Munro.

The captain’s deck is equivalent to the cockpit of an airplane where the captain and his crew navigate the vessel to the assortment of sampling sites in coordination with the science team.

We wrap up our tour of the R/V Tommy Munro from atop the upper deck with the view from the stern of the ship. This was a spot that I found myself many times, particularly in the evening, as I took in the scenic views of the surrounding seas.

a collage of two photos, each showing the same view out the ship's stern (back) with rigging to deploy nets. both of these photos were taken at sunset on different evenings, and the setting sun is centered behind the ship.
Views from the upper deck toward the stern of the ship.

In this installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework, I would like to ask you to respond to three questions about the third essential principle:

The ocean is a major influence of weather and climate,

presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/kkue3uru

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

George Hademenos: Come Sail Away…to Conduct Science Research at Sea, August 10, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: August 10, 2022

Long time no hear from, right? The explanation is quite simple…there was no Wifi on my research vessel. I was definitely writing about my experience and taking pictures of my observations but I had no way to share the information with you in a blog post. Now that I have been home for several weeks, I have been working hard to complete my blog (6 posts in particular) which are in the process of being completed and am now ready to begin posting.

In a prior post, I described my participation in the Teacher at Sea program and how I plan to translate my experience and observations into classroom activities and projects for my students. In fact. As I prepared for my upcoming cruise assignment, I developed a Google Site that not only provides more detail about my upcoming experience as a Teacher at Sea educator, but also instructional resources and project ideas related to ocean sciences. What I would like to do in this post is talk about the opportunity presented to me and all other educators in the Teacher at Sea program.

Teacher at Sea Program

The Teacher at Sea program is a unique Teacher Research Experience (TRE) opportunity managed by NOAA that allows teachers to learn by doing rather than by reading about it. In these types of experiences, the teacher is placed with a team of research scientists and immersed into their scientific work, serving as an honorary member of the team. The TRE provides the teacher with an opportunity to not only conduct the research, but to also ask questions, engage in detailed investigations about aspects of the research, and most importantly, distill these experiences into lessons, activities and projects for classroom implementation to the benefit of my students. I would strongly encourage my educator colleagues to explore the Teacher at Sea program

https://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/

and should you qualify, please consider applying for this unique educator experience.

SEAMAP

I would like to now speak about the research I would be involved in during my assigned cruise. I was assigned to participate in Leg 1 of the Summer Groundfish Survey conducted in the Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries as part of SEAMAP (Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program)

https://www.gsmfc.org/seamap.php

The survey consists of a series of collected samples of marine life at positions determined by SEAMAP to make decisions about damaged marine ecosystems, depleted populations and destruction of habitats. Exactly what was entailed in the collected samplings will be described in an upcoming post.

Assigned Cruise

Cruises designed to engage in SEAMAP Surveys are seasonal (generally occurring in the Summer and Fall from April to November) and are typically executed aboard NOAA vessels in legs or segments consisting of 2 – 3 weeks with cruises occurring over 3 – 4 legs per survey. My assigned cruise underwent a change in schedule and vessel from my initial assignment. My original assigned cruise was scheduled as Leg 2 of the Summer Groundfish Survey aboard the NOAA Ship Oregon II from June 20, 2022 departing from Galveston, TX to July 3, 2022 arriving in Pascagoula, MS for a 15-day cruise. However, due to maintenance issues, the Oregon II was not seaworthy for the scheduled cruise which required a replacement vessel. The replacement vessel was the R/V Tommy Munro. There is a lot to say and pictures to show about the R/V Tommy Munro which will be the subject of the next blog post.

In this installment of my exercise of the Ocean Literacy Framework, I would like to ask you to respond to three questions about the second essential principle:

The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

presented in a Padlet accessed by the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/h2stuf44

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

Oktay Ince: Farewell to NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, for now! August 8, 2022

NOAA Teacher At Sea
Oktay Ince
Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
June 20- July 1, 2022

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie
Date: Monday, August 8, 2022

Latitude: 40.08°N
Longitude: 83.08°W
Elevation: 902 ft

Columbus, OHIO Weather
Humidity:
74%
Wind Speed: SW 8 mph
Barometer: 30.06 (1017.0 mb)
Dewpoint: 72°F (22°C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi
Heat Index: 85°F (29°C)

Science and Technology Log

65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist (World Economic Forum).”

I can’t help but wonder what types of careers and jobs will be available for our students. However, I can speculate that marine science would have a huge piece on this “never-before-existed” future job pool when you consider seventy percent of our Earth’s surface is covered with ocean and among it eighty percent of it unmapped, unobserved and unexplored, according to NOAA. There are many different careers available within NOAA and I believe there will be many more new careers available for the future generations. 

You may wonder and ask why oceans are still unexplored. One answer comes from Dr. Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He states that one of the biggest challenges of ocean exploration comes down to physics. In the depth of the ocean, there is zero visibility, extremely cold temperatures, and crushing amounts of pressure. He also states that “ In some ways, it’s a lot easier to send people into space than it is to send people to the bottom of the ocean”. It is hard to fathom what it looks, and feels like under the water, at least for me as a non-swimmer. 

With technological advancements, who knows what mysteries will be solved in the world of oceans in the future? I think it is important to show our students to know the unknown world of oceans and inspire them to take careers related to marine science so that we can know more about our blue planet. Without knowing our oceans, there would be no future for our own existence. 

Personal Log

Oktay, in his Teacher at Sea hat and t-shirt, poses for a photo on the flying bridge of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson at sunset
Last Day at the NOAA’s Ship Thomas Jefferson

It’s been a great learning experience while at sea for 12 days. I have learned so much, met incredible women and men, and made awesome friends. 

As a STEM educator, the reason I wanted to apply for this opportunity is because I wanted to bring marine science into my school and community. By training, most of the time I spent time in various labs focusing on genetic studies using many biotechnological tools during my graduate study. But, it wasn’t until my NOAA experience to involve marine science research in the field. Much of my marine science knowledge comes from theory, reading books/ articles, or watching documentaries. This lack of experiential knowledge put me in a position where my students are also learning it from textbooks. However, now thanks to the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, I am confidently bringing any resources or tools related to the ocean, and atmosphere to my students. My plan is to create interdisciplinary project-based learning opportunities that involve challenging questions related to marine science. 

Thank you NOAA Teacher at Sea Program for allowing me to participate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and thank you NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson crew for hosting me with great hospitality, and allowing me to learn more about marine science. 

Did you know?

Sometimes NOAA’s ships are open to the public for tours. In fact, I am planning to take my students to NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson sometime in September while it is still in Great Lakes.

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: ¡Una aventura en alta mar me espera!, 4 de agosto de 2022

Read this post in English: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: An Adventure on the High Seas Awaits! August 4, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

agosto 12 – agosto 25 de2022

Misión: Sondeo de Merluza del Pacífico

Área Geográfica de Expedición: Costa de Washington

Fecha: 4 de agosto de 2022

Introducción

Una foto de primer plano de Michael frente a una bandera puertorriqueña. Lleva un sombrero de paja, gafas de sol y una mochila.
¡Saludos desde Puerto Rico!

¡Saludos a todos desde Isabela, Puerto Rico! estoy muy contento de que te unas a esta travesía conmigo en alta mar. Mi nombre es Michael Gutiérrez Santiago y en una semana estaré a bordo de la embarcación NOAA Bell M. Shimada participando de una expedición junto a los científicos de la NOAA realizando un sondeo de merluza del pacífico. Viajaré a Washington, lo cual son 10 horas aproximadamente para comenzar esta travesía. Espero que te unas y seas parte de esta expedición conmigo.

Estoy muy contento y agradecido de formar parte de esta experiencia. Recuerdo la mañana del 2019 que conocí sobre el programa de Teacher at Sea, estaba asombrado que educadores podían tener la oportunidad de estar en una expedición en alta mar con científicos y tripulantes de la NOAA. Sin dudar solicité y fui aceptado en el 2020. Como todos saben, el COVID-19 puso una pausa en el mundo, pero luego de dos años aquí estamos, ¡listos para abordar!

El vivir en Puerto Rico me ha hecho enamorarme de las playas, los bosques, cuevas, ríos junto a su flora y fauna. Es por esto que decidí realizar un Bachillerato en Ciencias Ambientales, para poder conocer más sobre lo que nos rodea y como poder conservarlo. Esta pasión al medio ambiente me ha llevado a compartir mis conocimientos a personas que me rodean y me di cuenta de que no hay mejor manera de conservar nuestros recursos ambientales que a través de la educación. Así que decidí certificarme como maestro de ciencias a nivel secundario.

vista cercana de una mano que sostiene una estrella de mar bajo el agua
Estrella de mar en Puerto Mosquito, Vieques P.R.

El Comienzo de Grandes Cosas

A comienzos del 2017 me uní al EcoExploratorio: Museos de Ciencias de Puerto Rico, donde logré llevar la educación científica y la conservación ambiental a todo la Isla. Fue aquí mi escuela, donde aprendí a como ser un educador, tuve la oportunidad de llevar charlas educativas a diversas partes de la Isla, realizar talleres, webinars y ser parte de otras exhibiciones. El EcoExploratorio recibe una visita anual de 300,000 personas, teniendo la oportunidad de conozcan sobre que nos rodea y como conservarlo. Por otra parte, el EcoExploratorio se enfoca en la preparación de eventos atmosféricos como huracanes y eventos naturales como terremotos.

Actualmente soy profesor de Ciencias Ambientales a 12mo grado en la Escuela Abelardo Martínez Otero en Arecibo Puerto Rico. Logramos este año realizar diversas actividades, laboratorios y experimentos gracias a la excelente calidad de estudiantes que tuve. A pesar de que las limitaciones por el COVID-19, esos estudiantes dieron el máximo, teniendo así una excelente clase de Ciencias Ambientales.

este es un collage de cuatro fotos panorámicas de diferentes clases de estudiantes parados afuera, todos sosteniendo o tratando de sostener un globo negro largo
Laboratorio: Energía Solar

Ciencia en Alta Mar

Mi tiempo en el mar será en el océano pacífico, a bordo de la embarcación NOAA Bell M. Shimada en la segunda etapa del sondeo de merluza del pacífico, donde estaré trabajando y aprendiendo de Beth Phillips Chief Scientist y bióloga de NOAA Fisheries Service y el equipo de científicos. Algunos de mis objetivos en esta expedición es compartir lo aprendido en esta expedición con ustedes a través de los blogs, proporcionar datos vitales para ayudar a gestionar la población costera migratoria de merluza del Pacifico, llevar a cabo una calibración entre embarcaciones con el barco de la Guardia Costera canadiense Sir John Franklin en coordinación con los científicos del DFO para garantizar que los datos sean comparables para el 2023 y puedan combinarse para la evaluación de la población, recoger muestras de agua y plancton en la Línea Hidrográfica de Newport, muestreo de eufáusidos, la recopilación de datos oceanográficos y la recopilación de datos acústicos de banda ancha.

Para mí es un honor y un privilegio poder ser parte del programa Teacher at Sea. El poder ser parte de esta expedición es un sueño hecho realidad. Pondré todos mis esfuerzos para hacer orgulloso a Puerto Rico, a mi familia, maestros, estudiantes y al programa de Teacher at Sea. Me encantaría que fueran parte de esta expedición, mis blogs serán en inglés y español para poder llegar a todos ustedes. En confianza me encantaría que me hagan llegar sus preguntas o me dejen saber que ha sido lo más que le ha llamado la atención.

¡Que comience la aventura!

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: An Adventure on the High Seas Awaits! August 4, 2022

Lea esta publicación en español: Michael Gutiérrez Santiago: ¡Una aventura en alta mar me espera!, 4 de agosto de 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Michael Gutiérrez Santiago

NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada

August 12 – August 25, 2022

Mission: Pacific Hake Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Coastal Washington

Date: August 4, 2022

Introduction

A close-up photo of Michael in front of a Puerto Rican flag. He's wearing a straw hat, sunglasses, and a backpack.
Greetings from Puerto Rico!

Greetings to all from Isabela, Puerto Rico! I am so glad you are joining me on this journey on the high seas. My name is Michael Gutiérrez Santiago and, in a week, I will be aboard the NOAA Bell M. Shimada in an expedition with NOAA scientists on the Pacific Hake Survey. I will travel to Washington, which is approximately 10 hours to begin this journey. I hope you will join and be a part of this expedition with me.

I am very happy and grateful to be part of this experience. I remember in 2019 that I learned about the Teacher at Sea program, I was amazed that educators could have the opportunity to be on an expedition on the high seas with NOAA scientists and crew members. Without hesitation I applied and was accepted in 2020. As you all know COVID-19 put the world on pause, but after two years here we are, ready to board!

Living in Puerto Rico made me fall in love with the beaches, forests, caves, rivers along with its flora and fauna. That is why I decided to do a Bachelor Degree on Environmental Sciences, to learn more about what surrounds us and how to conserve it. This passion for the environment has led me to share my knowledge with people around me and I realized that there is no better way to conserve our environmental resources than through education. Therefore, I decided to get certified as a high school science teacher.

close-up view of a hand holding a sea star underwater
Starfish in Mosquito Pier, Vieques P.R.

My early beginnings

At the beginning of 2017 I joined the EcoExploratorio: Science Museums of Puerto Rico, where I was an informal educator teaching science and and environmental conservation to the entire Island. It was here that I learned how to be an educator, I had the opportunity host workshops, webinars and be part of other exhibitions. The EcoExploratorio receives an annual visit of 300,000 people, having the opportunity to educate about what surrounds us and how to conserve it. On the other hand, the EcoExploratorio focuses on preparing for atmospheric events such as hurricanes and natural events such as earthquakes.

I am currently a 12th grade Environmental Science teacher at the Abelardo Martínez Otero School in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. This year we managed to carry out various activities, laboratories, and experiments thanks to the excellent quality of students I had. Despite the limitations we had due to COVID-19, these students gave their best, thus having an excellent Environmental Science class.

this is a collage of four panoramic photos of different classes of students standing outside, all holding up or trying to hold up a long black balloon
Solar energy laboratory with solar balloon

Science on the high seas

My time at sea will be in the Pacific Ocean, aboard the NOAA Bell M. Shimada in the second leg of the Pacific Hake Survey where I will be working and learning from chief scientist Beth Phillips, biologist at NOAA Fisheries, and rest of the research team. Some of my goals on this expedition are to share what I am going to learn on this expedition with you via blogs, provide vital data to help manage the migratory coastal population of Pacific hake, conduct an Inter-Vessel Calibration with Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir John Franklin in coordination with DFO scientists to ensure data is comparable in 2023 and can be combined for population assessment, collect water and plankton samples at the Newport Hydrographic Line, euphausiid sampling , collecting oceanographic data, and collecting broadband acoustic data.

For me it is an honor and a privilege to be part of the Teacher at Sea program. Being able to be part of this expedition is a dream come true. I will put all my efforts to make Puerto Rico, my family, teachers, students, and the Teacher at Sea program proud. I would love for you to be part of this expedition; my blogs will be in English and Spanish to reach all of you. It would be great to send your questions or let me know what has caught your attention the most.

Let the adventure begin!

Laura Grimm: What Makes the Great Lakes So Great?, August 3, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Grimm

Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

July 4 – July 22, 2022

Mission: Hydrographic Survey of Lake Erie

Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie

Date: August 3, 2022

Weather Data from my home office in Dalton, Ohio

Latitude: 40 45.5’ N

Longitude: 081 41.5’ W

Sky Conditions: Partly Cloudy

Visibility: 10+ miles

Wind Speed: 9 mph with gusts up to 23 mph

Wind Direction: SW

Air Temperature: 87 F (31 C)

Heat Index: 92 F (33 C)

Relative Humidity: 57%

Science and Technology Log

What is under all that water? 

Have you ever wondered what the seabed (lakebed) made of?  This information is important for several reasons: knowing where to anchor, pipeline &/or structure construction, habitat, dredging, etc.  Information about the sediments can be found on navigational charts.  Periodically, hydrographers need to take bottom samples to update these charts.  To do this, they bring the ship to a halt and drop a spring-loaded sampler to the seafloor.  The sampler snaps shut, capturing a sample of the bottom substrate.  The sediments that are brought aboard are analyzed according to grain size which range from clay (< 0.002 mm) to stones (4.0 mm and larger).

  • a spring-loaded trap attached to a rope, resting on deck
  • two scientists wearing hard hats and life vests prepare to lower the bottom sampler. one is holding on to the rope attached to the sampler, while the other directs the sampler with a pole or a hook
  • Laura, wearing a hard hat and life vest, pulls on the rope attached to the bottom sampler (strung over a pulley)
  • On the top of the chart is a ruler measuring 0-100 millimeters. 0-4 mm is classified as "granules," 4-8 mm as "small pebbles," 8-16 mm as "medium pebbles," 16-32 mm as "large pebbles," 32-64 mm as "very large pebbles," and 64-100 mm as "small cobbles." An inset box notes that 128-256 mm is classified as "large cobbles" and anything larger than 256 mm are "boulders." In the lower part of the chart, there are nine boxes with photos of grains of different sizes, topped by a scale ranging from 0-2000 micrometers. At the low end of the range, 0-125 micrometers is classified as "very fine sand," 125-250 micrometers as "fine sand," 250-500 micrometers as "coarse sand," 1000-2000 micrometers as "very coarse sand." and inset box notes that 3.9-62 micrometers is classified as "silt."
  • Bottom Sample Sediment Classification Tables. Sediment Size Classification, with Grain Size in millimeters: Clay - < 0.002 mm. Silt - 0.002-0.0625 mm. Sand (fine) - 0.00625-0.25 mm. Sand (medium) - 0.25-0.5 mm. Sand (coarse) - 0.5-2.0 mm. Gravel- 2.0-4.0 mm. Pebbles-4.0-64.0 mm. Cobble-64.0-256.0 mm. Boulder- >256.0 mm. Stone - 4.0-256.0+

What is it called to drive a ship?  The action of driving a ship is probably most often called piloting the ship. You may also hear people use the words steer, navigate, guide, maneuver, control, direct, captain, or shepherd.  Whatever you want to call it – I was super excited to pilot the ship.  I was also a bit nervous because it is so big!  Maneuvering a 208’ vessel seemed a bit daunting.

I first got some excellent tutoring by Helmsman AB Kinnett and Conning Officer ENS Brostowski.  All I needed to do was to make a 180ᵒ turn.  How difficult could it be?  I needed to take the ship out of the navigation system (commonly called, Nav Nav), go from autopilot to manual steering, follow the Conning Officer’s rudder directions, do some fine tuning, switch from manual steering to autopilot, and turn on the Nav Nav system.  Easy shmeezy! 

My legs were shaking just a bit.  I guess I did okay.  Someone did call up from the plot room and ask, “Just who is driving the ship?”  Haha.  They calmed down once they learned it was just “the teacher”. 

  • Laura, wearing a Teacher at Sea hat, stands at the helm of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. To her right is AB Kinnett. To her left is ENS Brostowski pointing at a screen.
  • Laura at the helm (now we can see the wheel.) AB Kinnett and ENS Brostowski look on.
  • Laura stands at the helm (the wheel is out view.) ENS Brostowski, standing behind her with arms folded, issues instructoins.
  • Laura, at the helm (wheel visible), looks upward and reaches for something (out of frame) with her right hand. AB Kinnett stands in the background but looks directly at the camera.
  • screenshot of a navigation screen that displays the recent track of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson as lines on a nautical map

Parallel Parking

We came into the Port of Cleveland on July 22.  The crew did a super job of parking!  (I am sure “parking” is not the correct term.)  They used the windlass and ropes to secure the ship to the port (on the starboard side) and then put the gangway in place.  Don’t forget to take out the garbage!

  • view of Cleveland over the bow of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
  • the interior of the ship is mostly dark in this photo, but we can see the lighthouse through the circle of porthole.
  • view of the stadium from the water
  • view over the bow of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. three crewmembers, wearing hard hats and life vests, prepare to throw ropes over the rail as the ship pulls up alongside a dock. tall buildings of downtown Cleveland are visible in the background.
  • three crewmembers, wearing hard hats and life jackets, operate the windlass on the bow deck of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.
  • a crane swings the gangway (a ramp with railings) over the side of the ship, ready to lower it into place.
  • crane lowers the gangway into place; crewmembers wearing hard hats and life jackets pull on ropes to help maneavuer it
  • gangway, still attached to crane, in place, connecting the deck of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to the dock.
  • crane lifts a set of six steps, with railings, in the air. a davit of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson is visible in the background.
  • the steps lead up from the deck to the top of the gangway, which then ramps down to the dock. the fast rescue boat (stowed on board) is visible in the background.
  • crane lifting a crate filled with blue and black trash bags
Laura, wearing a Teacher at Sea hat, and four crewmembers, wearing hard hats, pose for a photo on the dock, in front of stacks of large coils of metal wiring
On dry land after 19 days!  This crew was amazing!  From left to right: 1AE Perry, ENS Castillo, TAS Grimm, BGL Bayliss, AB Thompson. 

Personal Log

In late April 2022, I was informed by the NOAA Teacher at Sea office that I would sail aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson on a hydrographic survey of Lake Erie in July.  Truthfully, I didn’t know what hydrography entailed – but I was familiar with Lake Erie.

I grew up only 20 miles from the Port of Cleveland.  As a child, my family spent a week each summer on Middle Bass Island where I learned to swim and fish for walleye and perch.  I was a sun-kissed, towheaded child that liked to catch frogs and talk with insects.  My daughter and I vacationed on Kelleys Island for many summers.  I even took an oceanography class on Gibraltar Island.  I was very excited to learn more about the Lake of my childhood.

  • a satellite map of the Great Lakes, with each lake labeled. no other political features are labeled.
  • a political map of the Great Lakes showing the lakes and the surrounding states and provinces. A dashed white line through Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario marks the division between U.S. and Canadian waters.
  • a political map of the Great Lakes, with the outline of the Great Lakes' watershed superimposed.
  • shapes and positions of Great Lakes superimposed on satellite map of Central Europe. Lake Superior reaches west to the Netherlands, and Lake Ontario east of Budapest.
  • shapes of the 25 largest lakes, to scale, all arranged near one another for comparison.

So, why are the Great Lakes so Great? 

The following video will help you get an idea of why these lakes are so significant.  See if you can answer the following questions while watching the video.

  1. How many lakes make up the Great Lakes?
  2. Why is the word “HOMES” a good way to remember the names of the lakes?
  3. How many states border the Great Lakes?
  4. What country is north of the Great Lakes?
  5. Geologically speaking, how did the Great Lakes come to be?
  6. How much of the world’s fresh surface water is in the Great Lakes?
  7. Which lake is the deepest, coldest, and contains ½ of the water in the Great Lakes system?
  8. Which two lakes are “technically” one lake?  Why?
  9. Which lake has the longest shoreline?
  10. Which lake is the warmest and shallowest?
  11. How does water get from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario?
  12. How does water that starts in Lake Superior finally get to the Atlantic Ocean?
  13. List three reasons why the Great Lakes are so great!
  14. List a few things that are causing problems for the Great Lakes.
  15. What effect is climate change having on the Great Lakes?
  16. How are people and governments trying to protect this GREAT resource?
What is so great about the Great Lakes?

When I travel, I like to read books that have a connection to my experience.  While on Thomas Jefferson, I read The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.  It outlines the vast resources provided by the Great Lakes.   Not only do they hold 20% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water, they also provide food, transportation, and recreation to tens of millions of Americans and Canadians.   The Great Lakes are so very lifegiving, however, they are in trouble.  They are under threat as never before.  They need our help. 

In his book, Egan describes how invasive species – like the sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels – have colonized the lakes, issues associated with these invasions, and what has been done to mediate and prevent the arrival of future invasive species.  He also discusses the massive biological “dead” zones caused by outbreaks of toxic algal blooms.  Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Forecasts are a regular part of the NOAA weather forecast for the western basin of Lake Erie.  Human-made climate change, dredging of shipping channels, and threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to be used beyond the watershed boundaries all pose threats to this incredible resource.  He ends the book with what was being done in 2017 (publication date) to “chart a course toward integrity, stability and balance” of the Great Lakes.

All in all, it was a pretty depressing book.  It caused me to reflect, however, on what I can do as an educator to bring this knowledge to my students.  Even more importantly, how can I have students experience and eventually love the lakes and all they represent?  How can I get them to become familiar with and care for the nature in their backyard?  My work is cut out for me.

“We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. Or hear. Or sense.”

— Richard Louv

The week before leaving on my “Grand NOAA Adventure”, I was nervous and started to doubt my own abilities and why I had applied to Teacher at Sea in the first place.  Was I cut out to be a successful Teacher at Sea?  Did I have the knowledge, skills, and fortitude to thrive at sea?  What happens if my technology crashes?  What if I am seasick for 19 days? 

Four things happened to help me move forward. 

  1. My husband – my chief cheerleader – gave me many doses of encouragement.  If he believed I could do it – I knew I could.
  2. I came across a saying on a tea bag (of all places) that gave me great strength, “Personal growth lies within the unknown; courage permits you to explore this space.”  This experience would take courage.  I am courageous.
  3. My daughter reminded me of a poem by Mary Oliver.  The last lines of which, “What are you going to do with your one wild, precious life?”  That’s right!  You only go around once.  Take the bull by the horns – so to speak.  Jump on and hold tight.  Life is short, and the world is wide.
  4. NOAA and NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program believed in me enough to provide me with this awesome opportunity.  They have seen many a teacher come and go.  They believed I had what it took to be successful.  I chose to believe them. 

NOAA TAS stresses the 3 Fs: Flexibility, Following Orders, and Fortitude.  These are words to live by. 

  • Flexibility = Everything doesn’t always turn out as planned.  Be flexible.  Those who are not flexible, break. 
  • Following Orders = On a ship, this is essential.  In life, rules are made for a reason.  Follow them.  If you believe that the rules are unjust, work to change them.
  • Fortitude = Have courage.  Be strong – physically and in your convictions.  Be tenacious and believe in yourself.

I wish to thank NOAA TAS program and all the people who live and work aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.  Thank you for the long conversations and my seemingly endless questioning.  My curiosity is insatiable.  Thank you for checking my blog for accuracy – it needed to be “ship shape”!  Thank you for brainstorming with me inventions that could be created to make hydrographic technology easier if there were no budgetary restrictions.  Thank you for opening my eyes to a world of science, technology, and research that I previously did not know existed.  Thank you for teaching me what it meant to be part of the crew. 

This experience has taught me many things about science and technology, career possibilities, what it is like to live on a ship, relationships and work culture, and the power of reflection.  I learned so much more than is represented in my blog posts.  I am looking forward to sharing my experience with my students and the community. 

All my best to my new friends.  May you continue to have fair winds and following seas.

Sincerely,

Laura Grimm

Dalton STEAM & NOAA Teacher at Sea

a bandanda with a pen or marker drawing of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson in the center. underneath reads "NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson Teacher at Sea 2022." surrounding the illustration are handwritten messages from the crew in different colors of ink.
Hand-made bandana signed by the crew of Thomas Jefferson

For the Little Dawgs . . .

Q: Where is Dewey?  Hint: He was getting ready to come home.

  • Dewey the beanie monkey sits on top of a life preserver mounted on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson's rail.
  • Dewey the beanie monkey sits on top of a life preserver mounted on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson's rail. Setting sun visible in the background.
  • Dewey the beanie monkey peaks out of a black backpack.
  • Dewey the beanie monkey peaks out of a black backpack on the desk in Laura's stateroom. Her Teacher at Sea hat is on the desk next to the backpack.
  • Dewey the beanie monkey sits next to a whiteboard displaying a drawing of a

Laura Grimm: Shipwrecks and the War of 1812, July 28, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Grimm

Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

July 4 – July 22, 2022

Mission: Hydrographic Survey of Lake Erie

Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie

Date: July 28, 2022

Weather Data from my home office in Dalton, Ohio

Latitude: 40 45.5’ N

Longitude: 081 41.5’ W

Sky Conditions: Overcast

Visibility: 10+ miles

Wind Speed: 9 miles per hour

Wind Direction: SW

Air Temperature: 74 F (23 C)

Relative Humidity: 88%

Future Weather Forecast: Showers likely and 70% possibility of afternoon thunderstorms

Science and Technology Log – and a Little History

Shipwrecks & Sonar

Lake Erie has an astonishing 2,000-plus shipwrecks which is among the highest concentration of shipwrecks in the world.  Nobody knows the exact number of shipwrecks that have occurred in Lake Erie, but estimates range from 500 to 2000.  Only about 400 of Lake Erie’s wrecks have ever been found. There are schooners, freighters, steamships, tugs and fishing boats among them.

So why does Lake Erie have more known shipwrecks per square foot than most any other body of water – with the possible exception of the English Channel?  At its deepest point, Lake Erie is only 210 feet.  Its shallowness is one of the reasons so many ships have sunk. 

a simple political map of the portion of Lake Erie around Presque Isle, which is off of Erie, Pennsylvania. 21 red dots in the water mark the locations of known shipwrecks.
The red dots on the map above show known shipwrecks off the coast of Presque Isle.

Hydrographers have found their share of ships over the years!  I am unable to identify where, however, the TJ found a shipwreck recently.  The following shows various multibeam echo sonar images of items found on the seafloor.  Not all have been found in Lake Erie.  😊

Side scan sonar is a specialized sonar system for searching and detecting objects on the seafloor. Like other sonars, a side scan sends out sound energy and analyzes the return signal (echo) that bounced off the seafloor or other objects. Side scan sonar typically consists of three basic components: a towfish, a transmission cable and the topside processing unit. In a side scan the energy that is sent out is in the shape of a fan.  This fan of energy sweeps the seafloor from directly under the towfish to either side.  The width of the fan is about the length of a football field. 

line diagram of a ship surveying seafloor features using both multibeam bathymetry (with lines depicting the sonar emanating from beneath the ship) and side scan sonar (towed behind)
Side Scan Scan (SSS) and Multibeam Echo Sonars (MBES) are often used simultaneously.  Thomas Jefferson did not use a SSS while I was aboard due to the depth of water we were surveying.

The strength of the return echo is recorded creating a “picture” of the ocean bottom. For example, objects or features that stick out from the seafloor create a strong return (creating a light area) and shadows from these objects create little or no return signal (creating a dark area).

illustrated diagram of side scan sonar. the sonar is towed behind the ship. a fan of sonar beams emanates from the sonar. they do not reach beyond a feature sticking up from the seafloor, creating an acoustic shadow beyond that object
This diagram illustrates how SSS technology produces images and acoustic shadows of objects.

NOAA hydrographic survey units use side scan sonar systems to help find and identify objects.  The shape of the seafloor and objects can be seen well with a side scan sonar.  This technology, however, does not give scientists information with respect to how deep the object is.  That is why the side scan sonar is often used along with the multibeam echo sonar. 

Four scans of the same shipwreck in Stratford Shoals, surveyed by NOAA Ship Rude in different years with different equipment. The top two images are side scan sonar images, created by the EG&G 272 (in 2001) and the Klein 5000 (2002). The bottom two images are multibeam sonar images, created by the RESON 9003 (in 2001) and the RESON 8125 (in 2002.)
Comparison of side scan (black and white) and multibeam sonar (colorful) images of the same shipwreck surveyed by NOAA Ship Rude using different methods and different kinds of equipment.

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson field work is focused in the Great Lakes for the 2022 field season.  Thomas Jefferson’s hydrographers are surveying the floor of Lake Erie in the vicinity of Cleveland, South Bass Island and Presque Isle, PA.  They are identifying hazards and changes to the lake floor and will provide this data to update NOAA’s nautical charts to make it safe for maritime travel.  

So why did NOAA decide to focus on this part of Lake Erie?  “The Port of Cleveland is one of the largest ports on the Great Lakes and ranks within the top 50 ports in the United States. Roughly 13 million tons of cargo are transported through Cleveland Harbor each year supporting 20,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in annual economic activity.”  The Office of Coast Survey continues to explain that “most of this area has not been surveyed since the 1940’s, and experiences significant vessel traffic.”

a nautical chart of the area of Lake Erie around South Bass Island. overlaid on the chart are polygons of lines showing completed survey work.
Hydrographic survey work completed in the vicinity of South Bass Island prior to me coming aboard Thomas Jefferson.

A Little Bit of History – Have you ever been to Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island?

Our National Anthem, a naval officer with the middle name “Hazard”, the War of 1812, and Lake Erie have connections. 

So, what does all of this have to do with Lake Erie?  In 1812, America found itself at war with Britain.  They were at war for three reasons: 1) The British were trying to limit U.S. trade, 2) they were also capturing American seamen and making them fight for the British (this is called impressment), and 3) they did not like the fact that America wanted to expand its territory.  Both the British and the Americans were anxious to gain control of Lake Erie.  Late in the summer of 1813, American troops were moved into Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, Lake Erie.   They hoped to cut off the supply routes to the British forts.

On the morning of September 10, 1813, British naval forces attacked. Commander Oliver Hazard Perry was on his flagship (a flagship is the ship that carries the commanding officer), the USS Lawrence.  (Isn’t “Hazard” a great middle name for someone in the Navy!)  He directed his fleet into the battle, but because of light winds, the sailing ships were slow to get into a position where they could fight.  His ship suffered heavy casualties.  Perry’s second flagship, the USS Niagara, was slow to come into range to help.  Four-fifths of Perry’s crew were killed or wounded.  He made the decision to surrender his ship, the USS Lawrence, and move his remaining crew and battle flag to the USS Niagara.  He was rowed half a mile under heavy fire, bearing his now-famous blue and white battle pennant with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” 

  • photo of a flag that reads "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP"
  • image of a painting of a naval commander in a rowboat filled with sailors. the rowboat flies the American flag and the pennant reading "Don't Give Up the Ship." In the backgorund, warships under sail fire on one another.
  • painting of Oliver Hazard Perry

The British thought Perry and the rest of the American fleet would retreat after the surrender of the USS Lawrence.  Perry, however, decided to rejoin the battle.  At 3:00 pm, the British fleet surrendered, marking the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered to an American vessel.  Huzzah!!  Huzzah!!

Perry wrote to General William Henry Harrison (who eventually became the 9th President of the United States):

Dear General:

We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.

Yours with great respect and esteem,
O.H. Perry

a painting of ships on the water, a sketch of Oliver Hazard Perry, and the quote: "We have met the enmey [sic] ad they are ours...." O. H. Perry
A great victory against the British

Oliver Hazard Perry was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1814 for his actions in the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812.  You can visit Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island, Lake Erie.

  • view of memorial from a distance, at sunset. the memorial includes a tall Doric column on a small spit of land, surrounded by trees.
  • a view of the memorial from farther away, with the surrounding town area and water visible. the memorial is a tall Doric column.

“Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie that took place near Ohio’s South Bass Island, in which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry led a fleet to victory in one of the most decisive naval battles to occur in the War of 1812.” (Wikipedia)

This video gives you a nice overview of the War of 1812:

Overview of the War of 1812

Oh, so you might be wondering what all of this has to do with our National Anthem?  The poem that eventually became our National Anthem was written during the War of 1812.  It was written in 1814 by a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key during the battle of Fort McHenry. 

Watch this video for information about Mr. Key and our National Anthem:

The History of the “Star-Spangled Banner”
Oh, say can you see, / By the dawn's early light, / What so proudly we hailed, / At the twilight's last gleaming? / Whose broad stripes and bright stars, / Through the perilous fight, / O'er the ramparts we watched, / Were so gallantly streaming. / And the rocket's red glare, / The bombs bursting in air, / Gave proof through the night, / That our flag was still there. / Oh say does that / star spangled banner yet wave, / O'er the land of the free, / And the home of the brave?
The National Anthem of the United States of America

Did you know that our National Anthem actually has four verses, but most of us only know the first one?  Look it up!

I’ve been part of the mission leg that is surveying off the coast of Presque Isle – as the survey around South Bass Island had been completed prior to me coming aboard.  The area around Presque Isle also has important historic roots.

Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie and is 4 miles west of Erie, PA.  According to a tourist website, “As Pennsylvania’s only “seashore,” Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating.” Recorded history of Presque Isle began with the Erielhonan, a Native American tribe who gave their name to Lake Erie.  Erielhonan is the Iroquoian word for “long tail”.  The French first named the peninsula in the 1720s; presque-isle means peninsula or “almost an island” in French. It served as a base for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet in the War of 1812.

monument on Presque Isle
The Perry Monument on Presque Isle commemorates the U.S. naval victory on Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

In the 19