NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – March 25, 2022 — The University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center is again supporting live broadcasts from sea aboard the University’s Graduate School of Oceanography’s Research Vessel Endeavor that will allow education groups to follow a six-day research cruise.
The 6-day research cruise will take place in two expedition legs from today, March 25, through Wednesday, March 30. Ten undergraduate students from a URI Honors course led by Professor of Oceanography Melissa Omand will participate in research activities, which will involve an array of autonomous ocean technology. The students will use the technology to research ocean plastics and underwater sound.
During the first leg, which will take place today and run through March 28, the ship will cruise more than 18 hours offshore to recover, service, and redeploy an anchored oceanographic mooring that is part of an at-sea observation network gathering data on the ocean twilight zone. The ocean twilight zone is a mostly dark, “mesopelagic” region of the ocean, ranging from 200 to 1,000 meters below the surface. With the largest amount of fish biomass on Earth, the area is vitally important, but it remains largely unexplored. Onboard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution technicians will work to download data logged by various sensors on the mooring line and service associated equipment.
URI students will also deploy biodegradable plastic disks at varying depths along the mooring line. When the mooring is again recovered in August, researchers will look at microbes that have grown on the plastic disks and the rate of plastic degradation at different depths. The science team will also deploy a “MINION” float that will take images of sinking marine articles in the ocean twilight zone.
In addition to these efforts, an Educational Passages uncrewed mini-boat, built by students in the Central Falls School District in partnership with GSO, will also be launched during the first expedition leg. With its onboard satellite transmitters, the mini-boat’s movements can be followed and tracked across the ocean.
During the second leg of the cruise, March 28 through 30, URI students will investigate how low frequency underwater sound travels in Rhode Island Sound. In addition to using another MINION deployment, the students will work with the Endeavor crew and scientists to deploy a drifting hydrophone array equipped with a high-definition recorder and two miniature RAFOS Ocean Acoustic Monitoring (ROAM) tags, that will eventually be used to acoustically geolocate fish. To investigate how an underwater acoustic sweep attenuates, the ship will move at varying distances away from the hydrophone array, and lower a RAFOS sound source. Data collected from the drifting array will show how sound detection rates and characteristics differ at these varying distances. These at-sea trials will take place March 29. (For more information on underwater sound: http://dosits.org).
Educational groups and the public are encouraged to be part of the Endeavor Live! conversation! Classrooms, homeschoolers, and other educational groups are invited to sign up for free, live, “ship-to-school” opportunities, where Inner Space Center science communicators and URI students will share their ship-based experiences. Public audiences are invited to participate in live events that will be streamed through various social media channels throughout the duration of the expedition. All broadcasts will last approximately 25 minutes, and will feature a live link to the RV Endeavor.
Want to know more about ocean science, plastics in the ocean, underwater sound, or maybe just life on a ship? Receive an update on cruise activities and ask your questions in real time — all you need is an internet connection!
Endeavor Live! Public Live-Stream Events:
Friday, March 25, noon and 5 p.m. Eastern time (Facebook Live)
Saturday, March 26, noon and 5 p.m. (Facebook Live)
Tuesday, March 29, noon and 5 p.m. (Facebook Live)
Be sure to “like” the Inner Space Center Facebook page to follow this expedition and others.
Endeavor Live! Ship-to-School Group Interactions (private YouTube event):
Friday, March 25, 10 and 11 a.m., and 1 p.m.
Tuesday, March 29, 10 and 11 a.m., and 1 p.m.
Registration is required to take part in broadcasts geared toward educational groups. Connection links will only be shared with those groups that have registered. Please use this link to register.
The Inner Space Center is a one-of-a-kind national facility that supports live ocean exploration using telepresence technology.