St. Paddies Day – Ocean Cruise

By Dr. Stephen Wood (Ocean Engineer) – St Paddies Day, a day to party, watch parades and drink green beer? No, it is the day when Ocean Engineers, Biological Oceanographers, and Geological Oceanographers head to sea for training and research. Deploying nets to obtain surface biological critters: zooplankton including (copepods, chaetognaths, and crab zoea) and fish (sea robin and triggerfish), these live specimens were obtained from the top level of the water column throughout the day.

The ocean was calm in comparison to the conditions over the previous days so no student had to par-take in the over the rail ritual that so often occurs with students on the sea. With clear skies bottom samples were taken from the ocean floor as the department of marine and environmental system’s sediment sampler was repeatedly deployed by the student’s bringing up biological critters living within the bottom’s habitat: Macrofauna and meiofauna (polychaetes, brittle stars, sand dollars, and ostracods).

Along with the biology contained within the sediment samples was the geological history of Florida over the last few million years. Dr. Gary Zarillo, Florida Institute of Technology’s Geological Oceanographer and his students retrieved dozens of samples that were taken back to the lab for analysis. At the end of the day Ocean Engineering professor Dr. Swain hooked up electrodes to various parts of the ship showing the techniques that are used to detect corrosion on ships and underwater pipelines. The trip ended very late in the evening – or should I say night. If you are interested you might think about taking Ocean Engineering classes: “Introduction to Ocean Engineering” (OCE 1001) and “Protection Marine Materials” (OCE 4518), or Oceanography classes: “Biological Oceanography” (OCN 3101), and “Principles of Geological Oceanography” (OCN 5301).

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