What is the mission of the Classroom Connection?
What began as a ship-to-shore interaction to connect elementary special needs students with scientists sailing on research cruises has now expanded to all ages and levels. We hope to engage students in deep ocean science and expose them to new concepts and oceanographic tools all the while addressing federally-mandated curriculum standards.
We are sailing on a follow-up cruise to the IODP Expedition 336: Mid Atlantic Ridge Microbiology. We are most interested in studying how life exists at and below the seafloor. It is estimated that 1/3 of the Earth’s biomass is below the seafloor in the “subseafloor ocean”. We want to know what life is there, how they are surviving and what their limits to life are. To do that, we installed observatories to study the habitat at a place called North Pond. In essence, we created a laboratory in the seafloor that we will return to several years into the future. If you’re interested in the specifics, you can read the cruise prospectus here. On THIS cruise, we’ll be servicing these observatories, retrieving experiments and putting down more experiments.
Photos of Expedition 336 and past expeditions can be found here.
The Research Vessel Maria S. Merian (or R/V Merian as we call it) is a 311 foot long research vessel that is capable of carrying a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). For more information on the R/V Merian, see its Wiki page.
Photo credit: Max Planck institute, Bremen, Germany.
Meet the Classroom Connection Team
Amanda Haddad is a PhD student at the University of Southern California where she studies the ocean floor. She loves minerals and colors and one day she would like to become a researcher and teacher. Amanda is the shore-based coordinator for this project.
Beth Orcutt is a scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine. She likes exploring for life at the bottom of the ocean, bicycles, and karaoke. Beth is the ship-board coordinator for this project. www.microbesareawesome.com
Cindy Joseph is the Education and Diversity Director for the Center for Dark Energy Biopshere Investigations (or C-DEBI). She is a teacher who was hooked on science when she learned about anatomy and physiology of the human body. She is excited to see students learn more about the deep ocean and how we get to such a far away and mysterious place. Where’s the picture taken? In Mariposa Grove at the base of the California Tunnel Tree in Yosemite National Park. One of her favorite places on earth!
Colleen Hoffman is the Lab Manager for Dr. Katrina Edwards at USC, where she is currently conducting research on Catalina Island investigating iron oxidizing bacteria. She loves chemistry, the ocean, and adrenaline/adventure sports. Her motto is “live life to the fullest because you are never guaranteed tomorrow”!
Rosalynn Sylvan is the Associate Managing Director of C-DEBI at the University of Southern California. She loves exploring the outdoors from the volcanoes of Hawaii to the deserts of California to the mangroves forests of Belize and anywhere else she can get to! She also loves animals and has a pet cat named Blixa.
Andrew R. Gross studies carbon fixation in chemolithoautotrophs, and how the mechanisms of carbon fixation rely on mineral environments. He is interested in the ways that bacteria and archea use rocks and minerals, and how they do so to turn inorganic chemicals into food for their growth.
Devin DiNapoli is a senior undergraduate at USC majoring in Geology. She loves the outdoors and dinosaurs, and hopes to pursue a career in paleontology. Her picture was taken during a thunder storm in the Grand Canyon!