Communicating (Science) at Sea

In such a connected world with active social media outlets and what seems like constant means of communication, going to sea can be a surprise for many. There is essentially no cell service, very slow internet coverage, and only one opportunity a week to talk on the phone for 15 minutes (albeit with a sometimes frustrating/humorous time lag). This blog provides an outlet for us to try to record our experiences and both personal and scientific motivations for participating – even if the posts have to be shuttled slowly between gracious graduate student middle men on the mainland to get them to the public.

This leaves us with ample time to shift inward and make our communication in these close quarters valuable. While on the ship, there is often lots of discussion about the project and our individual experiences with science over meals with each other and the crew. We hold daily lectures and meetings to discuss the project’s science objectives, familiarize everyone with the foundational geophysics that underlies them, and discuss relevant papers. It is also a great time for everyone to share their unique knowledge about their field – be it a reflection seismologist, a geodynamicist/tomographer, a volcanologist/geochemist, a marine biologist, etc. Anne Sheehan has even been decorating the lab, hallways, and even our berth with posters referencing this project and the area – providing even more exposure of our science goals to everyone on board, keeping us aware of the context for this project, and making the somewhat drab ship interior a bit homey-er.

Hopefully our blog can give you a sense of the types of conversations that we have had here at sea and you can similarly learn about these topics, from the various different voices that
were able to join us on the water!

Posters adorning the ship passageways and berths (first and second), typical daily meeting/presentation in the main lab (third) (Photo credit: Emma Myers)

Map of our study area. We are collecting seismic reflection data along the red lines shown in the plot. We started on the east end, just south of Kodiak Island. White circles are ocean bottom  seismometers (OBS) that we deployed last summer, these OBS are still on the seafloor and will pick up our seismic source signals from this expedition.

Dr. Anne Becel describing seismic data processing to students onboard the R/V Langseth. The data she is showing is from our first seismic line of this expedition, and the data look great! It is very exciting to see the first subsurface reflection images made from data that we have collected. (Photo credit: Anne Sheehan)


Emma Myers
University of Washington


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