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Three USGS Volunteers in Florida Working on Ocean Acidification
Volunteers at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) learn new skills, pave the way for future careers, teach others, and stay involved in science. This article highlights three volunteers working on various aspects of ocean acidification. Macy Carter is currently a sophomore at the University of South Florida (USF) in St. Petersburg and is working with oceanographer Lisa Robbins at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. Carter is planning to major in geology and wanted to help with ocean-acidification projects. She called Robbins and started volunteering. “Working with Dr. Robbins on ocean acidification projects is a great learning experience. I have been able to apply knowledge learned in class to discussions and research here at the USGS.”
Carter comes to the center three times a week to help Robbins with data collection, organization, analysis, and report writing. “I look forward to helping Dr. Robbins because it is always a fun task; nothing we do is ever mundane. We are constantly finding new things,” says Carter, “and learning new things I had no idea I even wanted to know! This experience is amazing; I have finally found my calling in geology.”
In summer 2013, another volunteer, Lindsey Evans, also worked with Robbins. Although Evans, a junior at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, is studying psychology, she is also taking environmental classes and is interested in ocean acidification. During her volunteer time at USGS, Evans helped to organize ocean acidification data that Robbins had collected during Arctic cruises (for example, see “USGS Arctic Ocean Research: A Polar Ocean Acidification Study,” Sound Waves, August 2011), learned new software to teach to the ocean acidification team, prepped Arctic coral samples to be cut into thin sections (for observation under a microscope), and researched Arctic coral. When asked about working on something different from her college major, Evans responded, “It taught me how science is approached and research is done. It was such a student-friendly atmosphere, and I had fun. In fact, it was like working for family!”
Longtime volunteer Sharon Gilberg continues to help USGS with ocean acidification education by providing updates for the USGS ocean acidification website, tweeting about Arctic Ocean acidification cruises and research on Twitter @USGSArctic, and visiting classrooms. Gilberg has most recently developed iPad activities for the classroom using water-sample data from the ocean acidification cruises and is working on additional activities using the CO2calc app. (Read about this app in Sound Waves at "Communications Awards Recognize Ocean Chemistry Topics" [this issue] and "CO2calc Will Assist Studies of Ocean Chemistry," and in USGS Open-File Report 2010–1280.)
Gilberg currently teaches oceanography and Earth science at St. Petersburg College. As a geologist and teacher, she feels that “It is important that we use social media as well as mobile computer technology as tools to continue to educate students about science and inspire them through the adventure of modern scientific exploration.”
Learn more about the USGS Volunteer for Science Program.
Learn more about USGS ocean acidification research at http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/ocean-acidification/.
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