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HomeNewsArchivesUVI STUDENTS ASSIST NOAA RESEARCHERS

UVI STUDENTS ASSIST NOAA RESEARCHERS

When the oceanographic research vessel Seward Johnson pulled into St. Thomas harbor on Sunday, she carried four University of the Virgin Islands students bearing information that could very well influence the lives of their grandchildren.
The research they carried out deals with climatic change, including, ultimately, changes in the ozone layer. It is part of ongoing research called the Anegada Climate Tracers Study, or ACTS.
The students, accompanied by three UVI faculty and staff members, flew to Trinidad a week ago where they joined the research vessel for a trip back through the islands. They took samples of the waters in between, especially in the Anegada Passage, where the Caribbean waters pour into the Atlantic Ocean.
Participating in the study were students Jack DeVan, Brandon Eyre, Barry Volson and Michael Holt, who is a girl. With them were marine biology professor Stephen Ratchford, marine research specialist Kevin Brown and Water Resources Research Institute staff member Ronald Olivacce.
Olivacce was the first student intern in the program four years ago, and Holt is the first girl to take part. Olivacce may have influenced the ship's only stop, which was in his native Dominica — where, according to Volson, they had "a very good time." But the rest of the trip was work, which was fine with Volson, who was making his sixth such trip and is the veteran of the group.
When asked if Holt, being the only girl, was allowed in the kitchen, chief steward John Bolog said, "Definitely not. I take my galley very seriously."
Volson, the veteran voyager, advised, "Always make friends with the chef," which, from his grin, he obviously had done.
A senior marine biology major, Volson was busily helping UVI Interim Chancellor Roy Watlington on Monday afternoon as they loaded cases of the water samples the students had collected for shipment to the University of Miami.
Watlington held up one of the large vials, actually test tubes, and said, "This is sea water, but it is worth $2000." This is because the samples have been taken from as far down as 2,000 feet, and that is where the students' work came in.
They worked under the direction of Doug Wilson, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration chief scientist. The research is conducted jointly by NOAA and UVI's Eastern Caribbean Center. Funding for the project, Watlington said, comes from the U.S. Energy Department and a grant from the center.
Although Watlington wears many hats, the continuing ocean study is his "pet project," and one he is actively involved in. "We want people to know what fun, really interesting, things we have at the university," he said.
Such as the following:
On Sunday, the New York Mets baseball game was snowed out. Snow in April? This is the month made for proverbial showers, isn't it? Well, maybe the team's research will help uncover this peculiar weather.
What they are looking for in these samples, Watlington explained, is the man-made gas freon. He said it's like a "fingerprint, a dirty footprint," that in infinitesimally small amounts lends significant evidence of water flows, and provides evidence of where the water is going. The Labrador current, even Arctic waters, exist in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Analyzing these water samples will help scientists understand such weather phenomena as La Nina and El Nino, he said.
The Seward Johnson is owned by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, a non-profit organization based in Fort Pierce, Fla. The institute was founded in 1971 by Seward Johnson Sr. of the Johnson & Johnson baby products company and engineer Edward Link. It conducts a seemingly limitless variety of research on everything from global warming to dolphin-protection programs. The vessel is also a platform for dive operations from its three four-man submarines.
Watlington said it would cost thousands of dollars a day to charter the vessel with all its state-of-the-art labs and equipment. The students pay their way by assisting the NOAA research scientists. Large photographs of Johnson and Link peer benevolently down on the ship's wardroom where Bolog feeds the 11 to 13 crew members and any visiting students or scientists.
The next expedition for ACTS, which is in its 10th and perhaps last year, will take place in June. Marine science students interested in going on that trip can call (340) 693-1391 or check out the website by clicking here.

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When the oceanographic research vessel Seward Johnson pulled into St. Thomas harbor on Sunday, she carried four University of the Virgin Islands students bearing information that could very well influence the lives of their grandchildren.
The research they carried out deals with climatic change, including, ultimately, changes in the ozone layer. It is part of ongoing research called the Anegada Climate Tracers Study, or ACTS.
The students, accompanied by three UVI faculty and staff members, flew to Trinidad a week ago where they joined the research vessel for a trip back through the islands. They took samples of the waters in between, especially in the Anegada Passage, where the Caribbean waters pour into the Atlantic Ocean.
Participating in the study were students Jack DeVan, Brandon Eyre, Barry Volson and Michael Holt, who is a girl. With them were marine biology professor Stephen Ratchford, marine research specialist Kevin Brown and Water Resources Research Institute staff member Ronald Olivacce.
Olivacce was the first student intern in the program four years ago, and Holt is the first girl to take part. Olivacce may have influenced the ship's only stop, which was in his native Dominica -- where, according to Volson, they had "a very good time." But the rest of the trip was work, which was fine with Volson, who was making his sixth such trip and is the veteran of the group.
When asked if Holt, being the only girl, was allowed in the kitchen, chief steward John Bolog said, "Definitely not. I take my galley very seriously."
Volson, the veteran voyager, advised, "Always make friends with the chef," which, from his grin, he obviously had done.
A senior marine biology major, Volson was busily helping UVI Interim Chancellor Roy Watlington on Monday afternoon as they loaded cases of the water samples the students had collected for shipment to the University of Miami.
Watlington held up one of the large vials, actually test tubes, and said, "This is sea water, but it is worth $2000." This is because the samples have been taken from as far down as 2,000 feet, and that is where the students' work came in.
They worked under the direction of Doug Wilson, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration chief scientist. The research is conducted jointly by NOAA and UVI's Eastern Caribbean Center. Funding for the project, Watlington said, comes from the U.S. Energy Department and a grant from the center.
Although Watlington wears many hats, the continuing ocean study is his "pet project," and one he is actively involved in. "We want people to know what fun, really interesting, things we have at the university," he said.
Such as the following:
On Sunday, the New York Mets baseball game was snowed out. Snow in April? This is the month made for proverbial showers, isn't it? Well, maybe the team's research will help uncover this peculiar weather.
What they are looking for in these samples, Watlington explained, is the man-made gas freon. He said it's like a "fingerprint, a dirty footprint," that in infinitesimally small amounts lends significant evidence of water flows, and provides evidence of where the water is going. The Labrador current, even Arctic waters, exist in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Analyzing these water samples will help scientists understand such weather phenomena as La Nina and El Nino, he said.
The Seward Johnson is owned by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, a non-profit organization based in Fort Pierce, Fla. The institute was founded in 1971 by Seward Johnson Sr. of the Johnson & Johnson baby products company and engineer Edward Link. It conducts a seemingly limitless variety of research on everything from global warming to dolphin-protection programs. The vessel is also a platform for dive operations from its three four-man submarines.
Watlington said it would cost thousands of dollars a day to charter the vessel with all its state-of-the-art labs and equipment. The students pay their way by assisting the NOAA research scientists. Large photographs of Johnson and Link peer benevolently down on the ship's wardroom where Bolog feeds the 11 to 13 crew members and any visiting students or scientists.
The next expedition for ACTS, which is in its 10th and perhaps last year, will take place in June. Marine science students interested in going on that trip can call (340) 693-1391 or check out the website by clicking here.