SMILE Clubs Dive into Ocean Exploration!
SMILE students from around the state came to the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography to learn about ocean explorations on the RV Endeavor, the replacement RCRV Narragansett Dawn currently being built, and data collected from the ocean expeditions.
The day started with a welcome by Dr. Rainer Lohman at the Ocean Science Exploration Center, a report by David Smith, the GSO Associate Dean, on the construction progress of the new RCRV under construction, and an inspection of a large model of the Narragansett Dawn with details of the new modifications so essential to ocean research. Students were amazed at all the technology aboard the vessel, and had lots of ideas to make small models of the RCRV in their clubs. Seth Pilotte spoke to the SMILE students about the different occupations of people who work at the GSO. He described a large list of jobs men and women are engaged in that make the GSO work.
There are so many careers for our students to consider in their home state. Students in school groups visited five activities. At the Inner Space Center, Rob Polkany showed them the video and audio technology allowing URI scientists to stay in contact with the research vessels and the GSO. In Ocean Robotics students learned about the construction and deployment of different kinds of robots to map the ocean floor and take sea water data. Students were introduced to the marine life at the URI aquarium. They touched sharks, flounder, and shell fish, and learned about research on juvenile lobsters, inspecting the experimental cages, and handling the small lobsters. At the sediment processes and curation activity, students examined rocks from the mid-Atlantic Ridge and other volcanic underwater sites with explanations of their formation processes by graduate students and saw sediment cores taken from the ocean floor. The fifth station included a talk of the importance of the carbon cycle by graduate student Sam Katz and a demonstration of the carbon filter sampling that SMILE students are completing back in their clubs to determine sources of the carbon they collect. It was a very interesting afternoon that all the students and teachers agreed was an eye opener into the world of oceanographic research. Students walked the campus to different building and were treated to a beautiful sunset and moonrise over Narragansett Bay.