May 20, 2005
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
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
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
Reef National Marine Sanctuary:
Daily Connections to Scientific Inquiry & Nature of
Analyzing Data: Use of mathematics to understand
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
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.