Learning Out on the Open Ocean
Honors College Students participate in Semester By The Sea
The full crew aboard the R/V Bellows
HC student Samantha Johnston
Honors College students Samantha Johnston, Kayla Villanueva, Sara Thomas, Liana Houston along with other FAU students participated in Semester by the Sea offered by FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) last spring. Semester by the Sea is an amazing discovery cruise where students receive hands-on learning in the field of marine biology. The professors on their cruise were Dr. Dennis Hanisak, Dr. James Masterson, and T.A. Gabby Barbarite Debortoli. Also, Dr. Ned Smith helped prepare the students for the cruise and in past years attended the cruise as a Professor.
The hands on learning experience included instruction on how to use innovative equipment like the Shipek grab for sediment samples, a plankton net for plankton collection, and a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) for collection of water conditions such as depth, temp, salinity, and O2 percent. A trawl net and a capetown dredge were used for species samples collection which were counted photographed for identification, identified and released.
After the students were taught how to use each piece of equipment, the remainder of the cruise deployed the equipment at each site under the guidance and assistance of Professors and the crew.
“It was an unforgettable experience that I feel I could only get through FAU and the amazing marine biology curriculum that the Honors College provides. It provides students with the opportunity to apply, recognize, and practice the techniques and methods discussed in previous semesters, as well as become more familiar with the marine organisms observed,” said HC student, Samantha Johnston.
“It was an wonderful experience. We learned a lot about reading conditions on the ocean, and the different environments where different species are found. We were able to analyze the data we collected and look at trends to see what conditions determined the habits where certain species were found. We then used this information to create scientific posters to show the research we conducted on the cruise and what we found. These posters are displayed in the education center at Harbor Branch,” said FAU student, Jessie Stevens.
The cruise lasted from March 10th through 12th. The students were taught techniques and applications of molecular biology in marine system. It is a unique opportunity for students to obtain research skills and knowledge that provide a strong foundation
Semester by the Sea is offered by FAU HBOI and the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University. This program provides undergraduate students an opportunity to broaden their educational experience with a semester-long immersion in marine science, with emphasis on marine biology.
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.