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The USF College of Marine Science (USF CMS) and the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) hosted more than 50 students from Stewart Middle Magnet to participate in marine science research on Friday, December 1. Students in seventh and eighth grade science classes interacted with researchers and graduate students in three USF CMS labs and FIO to learn about marine science issues and state-of-the-art equipment and new online tools used to conduct oceanographic research. Students learned about the marine environment, how society depends on marine resources and how these tools support decision making.
“We got to learn all about how sonar can make it so they can tell how the environment looks under water,” said Gavin Liles, eighth grader.
Students toured the 115-foot, 194-ton R/V Weatherbird II, the flagship of the FIO fleet since February 2009. The R/V Weatherbird II is one of the nation’s most storied research vessels. The vessel made repeated voyages to carry out scientific missions to the spill zone of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill catastrophe. It is equipped with advanced laboratories, oceanographic devices and sensor technology.
Liles shared that his classmates were shocked to find out the cost of Wi-Fi access on the R/V Weatherbird II ranges from $6,000 to $15,000 per month.
Students also tested a new online data portal developed for the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and other NOAA divisions to evaluate changes in biodiversity.
The trip proved to be a success and memorable learning experience for students. Liles summed up the trip and his experience, “It was fun - if you enjoy marine science I would advise you to go on this trip!”
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