Program Components

SURFO fellows on the R/V Endeavor in June 2016
SURFO fellows on the R/V Endeavor in June 2016
  • Orientation
  • Research Projects
  • Seminar Series
  • Workshops
  • Social/Recreational Events

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.

Testing an underwater holographic camera system

Research Projects
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 graduate student mentor help guide the student through the phases of the project.

Abstracts of 2017 final presentations: click BinderFinalAbstracts2017

The final products of the research are:

  • a 15-minute professional oral presentation of results
  • a scientific report summarizing the research project

Examples of previous talks and research papers are available on the “Successes” page.

Seminar Series
A series of bi-weekly “Hot-Topic” lectures/seminars specifically designed for the SURFO participants is provided by various GSO researchers. At least one lecture from each of the main sub-disciplines of Oceanography (Biological, Chemical, Geological and Physical) is presented, but these talks also highlight the interdisciplinary nature of Oceanography. Here are some examples:

      • 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
      • What do Narragansett Bay and Yellowstone mantle plume have in common?
        by Chris Kincaid
      • Global climate impacts of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
        by Jaime Palter
      • Dazzling plankton diversity
        by Jan Rines

In addition, seminars covering various topics by guest speakers or visiting scientists are available throughout the summer.

2016-07-14-15-24-11cropInstructional Workshops
Bi-weekly instructional workshops designed for the SURFO program are provided to supplement the research experience of the students. Subjects covered during these workshops include:

      • Safety in the laboratory and at sea.
      • Ethical conduct of research.
      • Methods of presenting data.
      • How to give a professional presentation.
      • How to write a scientific paper.
      • Roundtable discussion about graduate school and science careers.

First-hand view of water circulation in RI coastal ponds

Social/Recreational Events
Numerous planned and spontaneous social and recreational events are available to the SURFOs to help them assimilate into the GSO community:

    • A lunchtime BBQ on the first Friday.
    • A kayak trip in a local salt pond.
    • Weekly ultimate frisbee games.
    • Weekly pick-up softball or soccer games.
    • Beach volleyball.
    • “Cultural” trips to Providence, Newport or Boston.