Tampa Bay area student researchers return from studying the Gulf of Mexico’s health
The project offers underrepresented students the opportunity to document climate change and the lingering BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts from 2010.
Tampa Bay area researchers and college students recently returned ashore after an eight-day excursion collecting data from the Gulf of Mexico.
They were aboard the Research Vessel Weatherbird II, a boat equipped with advanced laboratories and sensor technology.
With each working three days on the water, about 20 students from Eckerd College and the University of South Florida collected samples from the sea floor and the water column from May 14-21.
They are part of the "Scientist at Sea Program," a collaboration among the colleges, Tampa Bay Watch and the U.S. Geological Survey. The project offers underrepresented students the opportunity to document climate change and the lingering BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts from 2010.
The scientists and students used a six-foot tall cylindrical cage that contained 12 or so bottles, which were triggered to close, collecting sediments from the seafloor. Below that, an instrument containing multiple sensors measured different things, such as temperature, salinity, and oxygen.
The results could possibly be released later this year, after being analyzed by summer interns and fall semester students. But Patrick Schwing, one of two co-principal investigators from Eckerd College, noted some obvious changes while on the water.