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May 20, 2013
Contact: Shelley Dawicki


Click on photo to launch slide show
The scientific team on Leg I (left to right): Samara Haver, Nadine Lysiak, Mark Baumgartner, Jennifer Gatzke, Chris Tremblay, Allison Henry, David Morin, Lauren Bamford, Angela Greene, Beth Josephson, Eric Matzen, Sarah Fortune. Photo credit: Benjamin LaCour, NOAA

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NOAA Teachers at Sea Experience a Different Kind of Classroom

Angela Greene, an eighth grade teacher at Tecumseh Middle School in New Carlisle, Ohio,  just completed twelve days aboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, participating in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s (NEFSC) North Atlantic right whale survey in the Northwest Atlantic.

Greene is a NOAA Teacher at Sea, the first of two teachers to experience a different kind of classroom, this one at sea as a member of the scientific party aboard the Gunter during the first leg of the spring 2013 right whale survey. The 224-foot ship left Woods Hole harbor on April 30 to collect photographs for identifying individual animals and biopsy samples from right whales and other baleen whales in the Great South Channel, Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine.

Survey objectives also included tagging right and sei whales, collecting right whale fecal samples for hormone analysis, and collecting zooplankton samples and oceanographic data to study prey sources. The researchers also deployed marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) on the edge of the continental shelf that will listen for marine mammals, providing data that can then be used to study when and where these animals occur as well as their behavior over time. Aboard the vessel were scientists from NEFSC’s Protected Species Branch at the Woods Hole Laboratory and from the NOAA Northeast Regional Office in Gloucester, Mass., and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Chief scientist Allison Henry, a member of the NEFSC’s shipboard and aerial survey teams, provided updates from the Gordon Gunter in the NEFSC’s Field Science Blog: http://nefsc.wordpress.com/ (formerly called NEFSC Research Cruises).

Heavy fog and rough seas hampered operations during leg 1, but the scientific team was able to get work done. To say the trip was an adventure is an understatement for Greene, who shared some of her experiences in her NOAA Teacher at Sea Blog: http://teacheratsea.wordpress.com/category/angela-greene/

During a port call in Boston May 10-19, Angela Greene departed and returned to her land-based classroom in Ohio. The ship conducted an unrelated officer training cruise May 13-16 before returning to Boston, where NOAA Teacher at Sea Melanie Lyte (http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/2013/lyte.html#blogposts) will join the scientific team aboard the Gunter for the second leg of the right whale survey May 20-31. Lyte, a first grade teacher at Bell Top Elementary School in Troy, N.Y., will also write about her experience on the Gunter on her NOAA Teacher at Sea blog: http://teacheratsea.wordpress.com/category/melanie-lyte/

The NEFSC’s aerial survey team helping the Gunter-based researchers by locating concentrations of right whales from the air throughout the survey. Follow the track of the Gordon Gunter (GU) on NOAA Ship Tracker (http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/shiptracker.html), and check the North Atlantic Right Whale Sightings web page (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/psb/surveys/SASInteractive2.html) for daily right whale sightings and other information.

The Gordon Gunter, homeported in Pascagoula, Miss., is being jointly used by the NEFSC and the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), headquartered in Miami.

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