Friday, May 20, 2005

Greetings, one last time from Gray’s Reef.

Today is our last day in the sanctuary. As a result, our science team is wrapping up their research on the ship. Leg III of continued research in the sanctuary will begin again on Monday, May 23rd through June 2nd so the crew is busy preparing her for the next expedition. This involves cleaning, painting, and ordering new supplies to be delivered to River St in Savannah, GA over the weekend. Greg McFall will continue to direct the research and Sarah Fangman will serve as the Dive Master, once again on the next leg.

The divers just arrived back from their last dive of the expedition and are racing to grab a bite for lunch and hit the showers. Later this afternoon, each diver will transcribe their data into a database which will likely be analyzed back in Silver Spring, MD. The data, once analyzed, will be made available to Greg and others with the National Marine Sanctuaries Program for management and future research.

The dive team stayed out at sea in the MonArk longer than usual while Kate successfully collected her acoustic data with the transducer. The ship must be in constant motion moving along a transect line to collect the data she needs. Therefore, it is not possible to rendezvous with small boat in between dives during this time. Luckily, all of yesterday’s complications have been worked out for Kate to enjoy a smooth day of surveying.

Athan, too, is wrapping up his work aboard the R/V Nancy Foster. Since he completed his data collection yesterday, Athan is currently busy in the Wet Lab organizing his data. He has plenty of data to analyze for his master’s thesis once he returns to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources in Charleston. Though number-crunching is a tedious job, it is also an exciting part of scientific research.

Well, that wraps up the research here in GRNMS for this trip. Now, we are motoring back to the mainland. The Commanding Officer announced that we should expect to arrive in Savannah, GA around 1800 hours. Everyone is excited about planting their feet on terra firma, as well as speaking to, and seeing family and friends. While leaving the ship and returning home is an exciting reality, I am also sad that my time aboard the Foster with these great folks has passed by so quickly. Boy, how time flies.

Thanks for joining us here in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary for Leg II. I’ve enjoyed serving as your portal to our research and hope you will continue to explore our great ocean, whether remotely or up close and personal.

Signing out,

Elizabeth Rogers

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary:
Daily Connections to Scientific Inquiry & Nature of Science

Analyzing Data: Use of mathematics to understand science

Data analysis is an exciting aspect of science. During this process, data in the form of numbers and descriptions are organized and interpreted by the scientists. They use the data in hopes of discovering or reiterating relationships among variables.
As we’ve experienced this week upon the Foster, data come in a variety of forms such as measurements of length, width, weight, decibels, wavelengths, time, etc. In most cases, each datum is described with a numerical value and recorded for later use. While in the field, whether aboard the aft deck or diving at sea, researchers are rarely afforded opportunities to review their data and identify patterns. Once scientists analyze their data back in the office or lab, patterns appear among variables and the scientist make inferences about relationships. For this reason, organizing and analyzing data is a crucial step in understanding our natural world.


Publication of Project Oceanica.
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