Deborah Campbell: May 23, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012

Mission: Fish Tagging, Acoustic Receiver maintenance/ deployment
Geographical Area: Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weather Data from the Bridge: Sunny and warm, waves 3 to 4 feet, currently 74 degrees

Science and Technology Log

On Tuesday, May 22, science operations on board Nancy Foster resumed.  A boat from Gray’s Reef brought more divers.  Shannon McAteer is from “Team Ocean”, a volunteer S.C.U.B.A. organization.  Michelle Johnston is a research ecologist at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in Galveston, Texas.  Kelly Gleason is a maritime archeologist in Hawaii.  Randy Rudd, named “Volunteer of the Year” for the entire National Marine Sanctuary Program,  has been on board from the beginning is also a “Team Ocean” diver.  Diver Greg McFall  the Research Coordinator/Deputy Superintendent of Gray’s Reef will perform surgery to implant transmitters in the fish.  Greg has been doing the underwater filming throughout the trip.  Also, assisting in the dives are Nancy Foster NOAA Corps Officers LT Josh Slater and ENS Jamie Park.  Chief Scientist, Sarah Fangman is coordinating all the dive projects.   Debbie Meeks is the Financial and Informational Technology Coordinator and webmaster for Gray’s Reef.  She has been continually working on the mission website throughout the cruise.

Debbie Meeks and Deborah Campbell in dry lab (photo courtesy of Kacey Johnson)

LT Josh Slater and ENS Jamie Park preparing to dive

 

Rockfish (also known as striped bass)

Rockfish (also known as striped bass)

Batfish (photo by ENS Jamie Park)

Batfish (photo by ENS Jamie Park)

Divers (from left) Kelly Gleason, Sarah Fangman, Michelle Johnston, and Randy Rudd

The plan of the day is to work on implanting transmitters in fish.  The divers have put large cages on the bottom with food to lure the fish inside.  The divers will reach inside the cage to grab  the fish with a net.  One diver will hold the fish “belly up”, while another diver performs surgery.  The surgery involves a small cut, insertion of the transmitter, and then a couple of stitches.  The fish is then released.  Doing the surgery underwater greatly increases the survival chances of the fish.  Divers have spotted several tagged fish swimming happily about Gray’s Reef.

Personal Log

Yesterday, while I was on “steel beach”, there was an “abandon ship” drill.  The signal for this drill is six short blasts followed by one long blast.  I had to hurry to my room to get my life-preserver and Immersion Suit (Gumby Suit).  I had to report to Muster Station Three.  The person in charge of my group was ENS Jamie Park.  If we had to abandon ship, we would have to deploy a life raft which is in a large cylinder.  The cylinder would be thrown overboard.  We would have to get in our Gumby Suits quickly, throw the cylinder overboard, let the cylinder open into a life raft and jump overboard to get in life raft.  It was only a drill…  However, drills are important to help people get prepared in an emergency situation.

The crew has to watch videos to prepare them for emergencies.  I watched an excellent video in the mess hall with the crew.  The video showed how to prepare for an emergency at sea in event that you would have to abandon the ship.

Deborah Campbell participating in an “abandon ship” drill aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster

Meanwhile, I will be spending my last day on board.  Today is hamburger Wednesday.  There will be burgers for lunch.  On Thursday, we will dock in downtown Savannah, Georgia.  On Friday, I will be assisting the scientists and crew with an “Open House”.  People will be able to tour the Foster.  On Saturday I will depart Georgia and head to Chicago.  I look forward to sharing my adventures with my family, friends, students, and colleagues.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a “NOAA Teacher At Sea”.  I will never forget my time with the wonderful crew of the Foster and scientists which I have shared my experiences.

ACRONYMS-

S.A.R.T.- Search and Rescue Transponder

PFD- Portable Floatation Device

H.E.L.P. Position- Heat Escape Loss Position

SCUBA- Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

Deborah Campbell: May 21st, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012

Mission:  Collecting Zebra Arc Shells and Multibeam Mapping
Geographical Area:  Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Date: Monday, May 21, 2012

Teacher on land, Deborah Campbell, on Atlantic Beach near Mayport Navel Base in Florida.

Mission: Multibeam Mapping, Arc shell collections, Marine debris monitering, Fish telemetry, Acoustic receiver deployment/ maintenance

Weather Data from the Bridge: Monitoring Tropical Storm “Alberto”

Science and Technology Log

I am currently a “Teacher on Land”.  Tropical storm “Alberto” has forced our ship to dock in Florida.  I found out Saturday evening around 7:30 in the evening about the storm.  The CO (commanding officer) held a meeting in the mess deck (eating area) to inform all crew about the change in plans.  We were informed that we were heading to Florida to get away from the storm.  The plan would be to arrive in Florida at the Mayport Naval Base at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning.  If the storm stayed on track as predicted we would leave Florida on Monday at 5:00 p.m.

A tropical storm causes high winds ranging from 33 – 73 miles per hour, and very high waves.  There is a weather buoy located by Gray’s Reef tracking weather conditions.  The Nancy Foster is docked at Mayport Naval Base near Jacksonville, Florida.  Another NOAA ship, Okeanos  Explorer, is docked behind us. Okeanos Explorer was headed north to Rhode Island which is their home base , when they had to turn around. What is really cool about Okeanos is that it has a giant soccer ball which is their satellite system.

CO Holly Jablonski on bridge of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

On the bridge of the ship, the CO (commanding officer), and her crew use the ship’s computers to monitor radar, weather, navigation, and water depth.  The ship is equipped with GPS (global positioning system).  GPS is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information.  In all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites, weather can be tracked.  The GPS system is maintained by the United States government, and can be accessed by anyone using a GPS receiver.

Personal Log

Deborah Campbell, Teacher At Sea standing on top of submarine from Brazil at Mayport Navel Base in Florida

The view of Mayport Naval Base is amazing.  This base is like a city having everything imaginable.  There is a bowling alley, a hotel, stores, restaurants, a beach, a gym, and much more.  Yesterday, we went outside the guarded gates to the beach area.  We ate at a nice restaurant.  I am now having trouble walking on land.  It feels like I am still on the ship.  Today, I walked outside the gates where the ships are to go get some pizza for lunch.  I had to show the armed Navy guards my I.D.  We walked quite a distance.  We stopped at the base exchange to buy some magazines and snacks.  On the way back, I stopped where the submarine Tikuna, from Brazil is docked.  I got to climb on top of the sub.  It was very cool.  Some of our crew from the Nancy Foster went down a very steep ladder into the sub.  We are expecting to resume activities at Gray’s Reef on Tuesday.  We are heading back around eight this evening.  Okeanos Explorer left at ten this morning, and they are reporting rough seas as they head back to Rhode Island.  The crew will continue to monitor weather conditions….

Bridge deck computer systems aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

LT Josh Slater entering submarine Tikuna

Deborah Campbell: May 18, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012

Mission:  Collecting Zebra Arc Shells and Multibeam Mapping
Geographical Area:  Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Date: Friday May 18th, 2012

Weather Data from the Bridge:  Skies are overcast.  Temperature 75 degrees

Science and Technology Log

Teacher At Sea Deborah Campbell aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster

Today I want to talk about two research projects that are going on aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. The first project is the Arca zebra collection.

Zebra Arc Shell collected by scientist J.D. on a dive mission.

Scientist, J.D. has completed eleven dives to collect ten samples of the Arca zebra, which are also known as “turkey wing” shells.  By collecting the arc shells, scientists can examine the soft tissue inside the shell to determine the ecological conditions at Gray’s Reef.  Human activities such as using pesticides can make their way to the reef.  If you have read “The Lorax”, by Dr. Suess, you know that human activities could cause habitat destruction.  By monitoring Gray’s Reef, scientists can assess how healthy the reef is.  Two thirds of the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary are used by recreational boaters, however no anchors can be used.  Anchors could damage habitats on the reef.  One third of the reef is used solely for scientific research.

Scientist J.D., Zebra Arc Shell Mission

The second research project is Multibeam Mapping of the ocean floor using the N.O.A.A. ship NANCY FOSTER multibeam sonar system.  Three people on board the ship monitor the computers for the mapping in the dry lab.  The dry lab and wet lab are next to each other.  No food or drinks are allowed in dry lab, because of the equipment.  Samantha Martin is the Senior Survey Technician and is in charge.  Kacey Johnson just graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology.  Walter Potts is a Survey Technician.  All three rotate in shifts to monitor the mapping.

Samantha Martin (left) and Kacey Johnson

During the Multibeam Mapping, the  NANCY FOSTER is moving.  The multibeam sonar system is sending out “pings” into the water.  The pings travel through the water until they reach a surface that reflects sound, such as the sea floor.  Then the sound travels back to the receiver.  The receiver can calculate the depth measurement for each “ping”.

The Multibeam Mapping can be compare to dolphins “echolocation”.  Dolphins send out sound wave that sound like a click, which hits an object and then bounces back.  Dolphins’ sound waves gauge the distance of the object, and also the shape.

Dolphin swimming alongside the Foster.

Personal Log

Friday’s dives were suspended early due to rough ocean conditions.  The crew told us stories about times the sea got rough.  There are railings on beds.  There is also an extra board you can slide on the side of your mattress to insure that you stay in the bed.  One crew member told me that they went airborne.  It has been raining on and off.  We may not be able to go on small boats on Saturday, unless seas calm down.

Quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not”.  (The Lorax, by Dr. Suess)

Ocean Riddles:What do fish and maps have in common? They have scales…

Why are fish so smart? Because like Locke School students, they are in a school…

What has a beginning, middle, or end and touches every continent? The Ocean

What do you get when you graduate from scuba diving school? A Deep-loma

Deborah Campbell: Aboard Nancy Foster, May 16, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012

Mission: Retrieve Acoustic Receivers
Georgraphical area of cruise: Atlantic Ocean, off coast of South Carolina
Date: May 16th, 2012

Weather Data from Bridge: Overcast skies, 75 degrees

Science and Technology Log


Hi Everyone!  Tuesday, May 15th was a busy day.  Preparations were being made to deploy small boats on board  NANCY FOSTER.  On deck , the crew works with the crane operator to hoist the small boats in the water.  Everyone on deck must wear hard hats.  The boats must be loaded with supplies before going in the water.  Supplies include scientific equipment, dive gear, dive tanks, food, and water.  On my boat, “Nemo” gave me a bucket with a lid.  I put my water bottle, camera, sunglasses, and extra long sleeved shirt in bucket.

Mrs. Campbell aboard NOAA Ship NANCY FOSTER wearing hardhat.

Deborah Campbell climbing down ladder into NF3

Crane lifting whaler

The crane operator lowered NF3 (NF stands for Nancy Foster) in the water. “Nemo” got on board, the two divers, then me.  I was very nervous going down the rope ladder.  NF3 was bouncing in the water.  When I got in the boat, I stumbled and fell on the rough surface.  My knee was scraped up and bleeding.  I used my water bottle to clean up.  Luckily, there were some clean rags.  “Nemo” set the GPS (Global Positioning System) for the first site where the divers would work.

Diver Keith Borden on board NF3

When we got to the site, a weighted buoy was thrown off NF3 to mark the position where the divers would enter the water.   Nemo would have to carefully steer the boat away from the diving area, but stay near the marker.  My job aboard NF3 would be to try to stay put on my bucket seat while the boat rolled and bounced, and water splashed on board.  The divers Keith and Randy  prepared to go in the water.  I had a data sheet to record information.  The paper was water proof, and I could use a pencil.  The divers reported to me their beginning air tank pressure.  The divers had on wet suits, but had to lift their vests with heavy tanks attached while the boat was bouncing.  They prepared their masks by putting dish washing liquid and washing it out.  This was to prevent the masks from fogging up under water.  The divers got ready to get in the water by sitting on the sides of the boat.  When “Nemo” said ready, the divers leaned backward to drop in the water.  “Nemo” steered the boat clear of the divers.  Meanwhile, a loggerhead turtle was swimming nearby watching.

Diver Randy Rudd

Keith and Randy’s mission was to retrieve an acoustic receiver and deploy a new one.  Altogether, I would go with Keith, Randy, and “Nemo” on Tuesday and Wednesday to do a total of five dives.  Each time they located the old receiver, replaced it with another, and then took video footage of each of the dive sites.  On one dive site a Barracuda was swimming nearby.  On another a Nurse Shark was under a ledge.  Some sites had lots of fish such as Red Snappers and Gag Groupers.

Personal Log

I have met many amazing people from all over the United States.  We talk at meal times.  I am trying to get the chefs to reveal their secret recipes for the wonderful food, but they will not tell anyone.  Meanwhile I am washing my clothes.  The ship has two washers and dryers which happen to be right by my room.  I get pretty wet and alittle dirty aboard NF3.  My plans for Wednesday night include a meeting with scientists to debrief on the the activities which included sonar mapping, Zebra Arc shell collection, acoustic receiver deployment, and fish tagging.  The kitchen has a nice flat screen T.V. with lots of magazines.  There are plenty of snacks.  The ship will rock me to sleep.  I am looking forward to the upcoming activities aboard NANCY FOSTER….I will keep you posted.

Deborah Campbell: May 15th, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012

Mission: Retrieve Acoustic Receivers
Georgraphical area of cruise: Atlantic Ocean, off coast of South Carolina
Date: May 15th, 2012

Weather Data from the Bridge: 75 degrees and sunny

Science and Technology Log

Crane lifting fish cage

The scientists and divers arrived on the ship yesterday afternoon.  They brought an incredible amount of equipment with them.  The crane on board the ship loaded dive tanks, cages, and crates of equipment on the deck.  Sarah Fangman, chief scientist held a meeting yesterday to introduce members of the science party.  Each person introduced themselves, and told everyone what their part in this mission would be.  There are eight members of the science party including myself, Teacher At Sea.  I introduced myself as a seventh grade teacher from Locke Elementary School who left one hundred thirty-two seventh graders behind to experience this adventure.  I told our science party that I prepared my students by showing them pictures of the ship, Teacher At Sea website, and the Gray’s Reef website.  My students will be reading my blogs.  School will still be in session when I return, so I will be able to share my photos and stories with them.

This morning the science team met with the operations officer of the ship, Lt. Joshua

Chief scientist, Sarah Fangman holding acoustic receiver.

Slater.  Lt. Slater went over all the safety aspects of our upcoming mission which will take place this afternoon.  We will be deploying boats off the ship to take the divers to Gray’s Reef.  “Nemo” will be piloting a small craft with two divers and myself.  “Nemo” will drive the boat to an exact GPS (Global Positioning System) location.  The acoustical  receivers all have exact locations, so divers can find them more easily.  The divers will be retrieving the acoustic receivers to bring them on board the small craft.  We bring the acoustic receivers on board the ship to download the data they have been collecting for the past five months.

Personal Log

On Sunday, May 13th, I flew from Chicago to South Carolina.  I was picked up by a crew member of the ship.  The ship is located on a base, so I had to get a special I.D. tag to allow me to get on base.  The Nancy Foster was docked near a Coast Guard vessel, and a gigantic Naval ship.

View of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster in Charleston, SC port.

Teacher At Sea Deborah Campbell by NF3

As I boarded, I entered heavy doors, and descended a metal stairway.  I was lead to my room which consists of two bunk beds which are very narrow.  There are a few cabinets for my belongings.  I will be sharing this room with three other women scientists.  Next, I opened the door to the “head” which has two bathrooms and three showers.  There are bars in toilets and showers so you can hang on which the ship is moving.  The kitchen is right across from my room.  There are coffee, juice, water, and ice machines.  The cabinets are stocked with cereal, snacks, peanut butter, and bread.  There is an ice cream freezer.  You can help yourself to snack items.  Two cooks run the kitchen.  The menus are posted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Yesterday, I had delicious turkey soup with rice and a salad.  For dinner I had teriyaki Cornish hen, asparagus, and rice.  There was pecan pie for dessert.  Trust me, the food is great!!!  F0od scraps are kept separate from other garbage, because it is used as fish food.  I am sure there will be lots of fish coming by the ship to sample.

The crew members live on board the ship.  There are flat screen T.V.’s, a workout room, a lounge area, and a “steel beach” on the top deck.  Yesterday evening I took my blanket to sleep on a chair on the “steel beach”.  The sky was filled with stars, and I fell asleep.  A while later, one of the crew woke me up.  Lighting was spotted in the distance.  I am not a fan of lightning so I went to my room.  The ship is like a giant waterbed rocking and rolling gently.  My small bed has a bar to keep me from falling off.  I am really trying to get my “sea legs”, but in the mean time I continue to hang on so I don’t fall over.

Deborah Campbell: Teacher at Sea

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Deborah Campbell
Aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – 24, 2012

Pre Cruise News !!

Deborah Campbell has been selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to participate in their Teacher at Sea  program.  Mrs. Campbell is a seventh grade science teacher at Locke Elementary School in Chicago.  NOAA has ships stationed all over the world.  On board the ships are crew members and scientists who monitor our oceans.  Every year, NOAA selects about twenty-five educators from all over the United States to travel aboard the NOAA ships to experience the work of the scientists first hand.  Mrs. Campbell will be sharing her experiences with the Locke School community, colleagues, family, and friends.

Mrs. Campbell is very excited to work with the crew and scientists aboard the NOAA ship Nancy Foster.  She will travel from Chicago to Charleston, South Carolina on May 13th, 2012.  The ship will return to Savannah, Georgia on May 24th, 2012.  When the ship leaves Charleston, it will head towards Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.  The chief scientist, Sarah Fangman, has planned some amazing scientific investigations.  Mrs. Campbell will be observing as well as assisting the scientists as they do their work.

There are several projects planned for this cruise.  Multibeam mapping of Gray’s Reef at night and some day time hours will occur.  Divers will collect zebra clusters which will be wrapped in foil, placed in ziplock bags, and analyzed later for chemical contaminants.  The clusters can help scientists monitor ecological conditions at Gray’s Reef.  Divers will survey marine debris (garbage).  A fine scale fish movement study will occur.   Acoustic tagging will be used to study fish movement, how fish use reef, the habitats they prefer, and if there is change over time.  Divers will be checking acoustic receivers within Gray’s Reef.  There will also be continuous photo and video documentation.  Mrs. Campbell will be keeping a journal, taking photos, and assisting the scientists aboard the Foster.

Follow Mrs. Campbell’s adventures aboard Nancy Foster in future blogs……