Teachers at Sea During Holiday

Posted: 08/11/2011 in all marine news

Hydro International –

When summer break comes around, some teachers choose to spend it learning. Every year, more than 30 teachers from across the USA head out on NOAA ships to assist scientists with ocean research. The educators deepen their understanding of the marine environment by working side-by-side, day and night, with the scientists who study it. And their students end up with a closer connection to the ocean and a better understanding of what NOAA does.

Now in its 21st year, NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program has given more than 600 teachers the chance to participate in science at sea.

This summer, Sue Zupko, a teacher of gifted students at Weatherly Heights Elementary from Huntsville, AL, and Jason Moeller, a science educator at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, have embarked on scientific voyages. As soon as she heard about the programme, she wanted to apply so she could share some firsthand knowledge of oceanography with her students. Zupko was accepted into the program and joined the crew of the NOAA Ship Pisces in Florida to take part in a deep water coral survey.

 “Deep-water coral are amazing,” said Zupko. “I never would have even given these corals a thought if I hadn’t been a NOAA Teacher at Sea aboard the Pisces, studying them.  To me as a scuba diver, and probably to most people in general, corals are brightly colored and found in warm, tropical waters with an array of fish and invertebrates living among them.  But deep-water corals are usually found at depths of 100 feet or more, making them inaccessible to the average person and even to many divers.”

Coral is important to the marine ecosystem because it provides shelter for fish, protecting them from predators and ocean currents, and creates habitat in deeper waters. Zupko assisted researchers as they used a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the deep water coral.

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