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Massachusetts Maritime Academy 2000—Environmental Careers Symposium

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R/V Oceanus at dock
Hovey Clifford on the dock, describing equipment configuration aboard WHOI's R/V Oceanus, prior to leading the students through the main lab and up to the ship's bridge.
The WHFC contributed to the 6th Annual Massachusetts Maritime Academy-New England Aquarium High School Marine Environmental Symposium on February 25th and 26th. The symposium was held on the shores of Buzzards Bay at the Cape Cod Canal Academy campus, under the guidance of Mr. Christopher Ryan (MMA), Executive Director. Every year buses depart for behind-the-scenes tours of the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Scientific Community.

Bruce Tripp (WHOI) and Chris Polloni (USGS) organized the tour of Woods Hole with able assistance from Sandra Murphy (WHOI Information Office) and Marga McElroy (WHOI Engineering). They met the buses at the School Street lot and led the students and teachers around Eel Pond and past the Bell Tower to the Redfield Auditorium for a briefing and introduction to the village. The briefing included a video introduction to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The guided tour included four stops that were visited simultaneously by each of the four groups of students that were led by Bruce, Marga, Sandra, and Chris. The sites were the WHOI Deep Submergence Laboratory, WHOI Exhibit Center, NOAA Aquarium, and R/V Oceanus.

Tom Crook explains JASON
Tom Crook explaining the JASON system.
Andy Bowen, Tom Crook, and Will Sellers provided an overview of the WHOI Deep Submergence Laboratory operations while standing next to a re-engineered JASON. They gave details of the system and aspects of the mechanical arm and manipulators. A large poster depicted a mosaic, produced by the DSL team, of the archaeological find that included amphoras (wine containers) from a Phoenician ship from the age of Ptolemy, discovered during a recent expedition to the Mediterranean that was featured in National Geographic.

Helen Longyear opened the WHOI Exhibit Center for the tour. The center showcases a mockup of ALVIN and had pilot Dudley Foster and researcher Pamela Polloni as presenters. Dudley discussed deep submersible technology and aspects of rift vent exploration. Pam talked about a polychaete worm, Biremis blandi, which was found by Pilot Ed Bland during a dive in the Tongue of the Ocean, and Pam later co-authored the formal publication describing this discovery.

David Radosh made the NOAA Aquarium available. Anne Smrcina (NOAA, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary) and Tammy Middleton (USGS) provided respective overviews on the biologic and geologic mapping that is being accomplished as part of the joint agency research on the bank. The animals at the NOAA aquarium are representative of the population on the bank, and Anne provided a quiz list for the students to use as they identified the critters in the tanks.

The last site was sponsored by Alan Gordon and Hovey Clifford of the WHOI Marine Operations facility. The R/V Oceanus just happened to be at the dock and was part of the facility tour, as was the high bay area where buoys and other deep-sea instruments were being configured for deployment.

The tour ended back at Redfield where a final video was provided that gave some highlights of ALVIN operations and dive footage. Later in the evening, the keynote speakers at the MMA Symposium were Drs. Larry and Kate Madin. Larry is Chairman of the Biology Department at WHOI and Kate is the WHOI Education Curriculum Coordinator. Larry had close-up slides of jelly animals captured in blue-water dives. Kate took us to the hot vents of the deep ocean. They each covered first-hand experiences and recent discoveries in oceanographic research.

The Saturday activities included mini-seminars focusing on environmental research. One of the exhibits focused on the plume clean-up activities at the Massachusetts Military Reservation. Chris Polloni (USGS) provided his traditional overview (four 1-hr sessions) of information systems designed to deliver marine environmental data on the USGS World Wide Web and to publish USGS CD-ROMs as an interactive hands-on demonstration in the MMA computer laboratory. More than 300 students and teachers participated in the two-day conference.

Photographs for this article were taken with a digital camera by Ben Polloni, a student at Falmouth High School.

Related Web Sites
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
marine science college
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
non-profit research facility
New England Aquarium
non-profit organization
Woods Hole Field Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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