The first week and a half of the SURFO program involves acclimating the participants to the research environment at the Graduate School of Oceanography. This involves a series of social events, background lectures, and introductory sessions with selected research advisors. The range of activities include:
- A welcoming breakfast and tour to introduce the students to the Narragansett Bay Campus.
- A series of interactive Oceanography lectures by graduate students to provide an overview of the field.
- Meetings with research advisors to discuss background, expectations, and goals of research projects.
Each year, the list of potential research projects is posted in January and is updated weekly until the application deadline. Until posted, prospective students can get a flavor of the research performed at GSO by exploring the “people” and “research” listed on the Graduate School of Oceanography web site (https://web.uri.edu/gso/) or past SURFO projects (Summary of Projects 2020).
For 2023 projects include (check back for updates):
- Geospatial isotope maps to study foraging
- Hydrodynamics of shape changing underwater bodies
- Multi-modal mapping on autonomous surface vehicles for iceberg sensing
- Ocean currents along major subduction zones
- Sharks in Western North Atlantic
- Oyster shell in alleviating ocean acidification
- Super-collated 2 km resolution sea surface temperature dataset
- Volatile contents of intraplate magmas of the Revillagigedo Archipelago
- Environmental determinants of the distribution of deep sea corals
- An Analysis of the Temporal Evolution of Sea Surface Temperature Structures in the Global Ocean
- Investigating environmental factors affecting uptake of a PFAS water sampler
- Screening PFAS in Fish and Shellfish Species of the Narragansett Bay
- Visualization and quantitative analysis of marine microbiomes using microscopic imaging
- Combining measurements from surface and subsurface oceanographic platforms
Developing geospatial isotope maps “isoscapes” of the Northeast US Continental shelf waters to study animal foraging and migration
At the heart of the SURFO program is the research project. Once students demonstrate they understand the scope and goals of their project, they proceed with their research. Frequent meetings with their research advisor and mentor help guide the SURFO student through the phases of the project.
The final products of the research are:
- a 15-minute professional oral presentation of results (titles of 2022 presentations)
- a report summarizing their research accomplishments in the form of either a written scientific peer reviewed manuscript or a draft proposal to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
A series of weekly “Hot-Topic” lectures/seminars specifically designed for the SURFO participants is provided by various GSO researchers. One lecture from each of the main sub-disciplines of Oceanography (Biological, Chemical, Geological and Physical) is presented and which highlight the interdisciplinary nature of Oceanography. Here are some examples of past presentations:
- Role of DNA-fingerprinting in biological oceanography
by Tatiana Rynearson
- Global distribution of microbes in the deep biosphere
by Steve D’Hondt
- The global fate of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
by Rainer Lohmann
- Advancements in hurricane forecasting
by Isaac Ginis
- Heavy metals ROCK
by Veronique Oldham
- Global climate impacts of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
by Jaime Palter
- Dazzling plankton diversity
by Jan Rines
- Modeling water circulation in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound
by David Ullman
In addition, seminars covering various topics by guest speakers or visiting scientistsare available throughout the summer.
Bi-weekly instructional workshops designed for the SURFO program are provided to supplement the research experience of the students. Subjects covered may include:
- Meet a successful GSO graduate in a field outside of academia.
- Ethical conduct of research.
- Visualizing data.
- How to give a professional presentation.
- How to write a scientific paper.
- Roundtable discussion about graduate school and science careers.
- Communicating science to the public.
- Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Numerous planned and spontaneous social and recreational events help SURFOs to integrate within the GSO community. Examples include:
- Lunchtime BBQs.
- A kayak trip in a local salt pond.
- Ultimate frisbee, softball, soccer, beach volleyball etc.
- “Cultural” trips to Providence, Newport or Boston.