This past weekend I was fortunate to accompany a colleague in Marine Science and some of her students aboard the research vessel, R/V Savannah, that docks at UGA’s Skidaway Island Oceanographic Institute near Savannah.
We stopped at five locations (stations) from the estuary out to the gulf stream where the students were able to sample water at various depths to check salinity, temperature, pH, etc. They also dragged for tiny critters (like plankton) and got sediment samples. They could promptly take these into the ship’s lab and among other options check out findings under microscopes. The two graduate students carefully and methodically bottled up their samples for later CO2 and acidification testing back in the Athens lab.
Dolphins swam along with us, the cook served great meals, we saw an amazing, long sunset, and thank goodness I wasn’t one of the ones who succumbed to seasickness.
The students were really engaged in the experience. Admittedly, this kind of science seems way more fun than my (limited) experience in freshman BIOL 11. (My memories of that course include meticulously drawing/coloring a cell diagram and the rat dissection in lab.)