About UM Rosenstiel School

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.

RECOVER Launches New Website

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The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) consortium RECOVER recently launched their new website at www.miami.edu/recover. It will act as a centralized hub for information regarding the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science led consortium focusing on the effects of crude oil on fish. Visitors to the site can expect to learn about new findings, classroom and virtual learning activities, hatchery tour information, and videos relative to the ongoing work.

Watch an introduction video to the RECOVER project.

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RECOVER (Relationship of Effects of Cardiac Outcomes in fish for Validation of Ecological Risk) is a consortium comprised of seven researchers from four institutions. Led by Professor Martin Grosell, the team is studying the impacts and toxic effects of crude oil on ecologically and commercially important fish from the Gulf of Mexico. Two species that are currently being examined are the pelagic mahi-mahi and the coastal redfish. Studies will range from molecular, cellular, organ level and whole animal physiologic as well as behavior analyses at different life stages. Previous findings by team members have already shown that fish embryos and larvae exposed to crude oil during early development results in malformation of hearts, resulting in mortality or reduced cardiac and swimming performance in surviving individuals.

To learn more about RECOVER and their current findings please visit www.miami.edu/recover and follow them on social media.

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Dan DiNicola

RECOVER Outreach Coordinator

Coral Metabolism and Climate Change

A team of Rosenstiel School researchers and alumni published a new study on the intra-and inter-specific variation of metabolic factors of corals in Florida. Their study is important to better understand if some coral will be more resilient than others to climate change.

“Knowing which coral species will be ‘winners’ on reefs of the future will help people be aware of what reefs might look like in the coming decades,” said UM Rosenstiel School alumna Erica Towle.

Mustard hill coral. Credit: Johnmartindavies/wikicommons

Mustard hill coral. Credit: Johnmartindavies/wikicommons

For the experiment, Towle and her team from the UM Corals and Climate Change Lab collected three common species of corals from the Florida Reef Tract, which extends from the Florida Keys to Stuart in Martin County, during two seasonal points (winter and summer).

The species mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa) and mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) were analyzed for growth rate, lipid content, algal symbiont density, and chlorophyll content. The surface area of the corals were also measured using a 3-D scanner supplied by UM Alumnus Derek Manzello at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories.

Great star coral. Credit NOAA

Great star coral. Credit NOAA

The team’s field data agreed with population-level trends that great star coral and mustard hill coral are doing well in the Florida Keys, and may be “winners” on reefs of the future. They point out that future work needed to understand factors driving resilience of “winner” species.

“It’s important for us to start to understand which corals will be dominant on reefs of the future so we can get a better sense of which species to focus stronger conservation efforts on,” said Towle.

regionalstudiesMSThe study, “In-situ measurement of metabolic status in three coral species from the Florida Reef Tract,” was published online in the journal Regional Studies in Marine Science. The work was supported by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. The study’s authors include: Erica K. Towle; UM Rosenstiel School Professor Chris Landgon; and Renée Carlton and Derek P. Manzello of the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories.

Officially a Shellback

Today I received my shellback ‘certification’ or ‘proof’ of crossing the equator! It is a unique card and certificate produced aboard the JOIDES Resolution – there is none like it, so I have been told. What I have now is a colourful laminated wallet-sized card. The main certificate will be issued later during the cruise.

My proof of having crossed the equator!

I wish I could write a longer post, but I am absolutely kaput from working 15hours straight. Goodnight peeps!

–Anna Ling

Anna Ling is a Ph.D student in the Centre for Carbonate Research in the Department of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Drilling with Anticipation

Alas! We have arrived the first site and the drilling crew have started the assembly of drill pipes and core barrels! They have to attach over 500m worth of initial piping for the 520m water depth that we have at the site. While the JR is on Dynamic Positioning (DP) mode, the Captain can now rest his feet and let the ship maintain location using inbuilt thrusters.

Like everyone else, the drilling crew started drilling almost halfway through my night shift and they continued until the sun rose, and still the 500m worth of pipes were only completed by time my shift was over at midday.

Working from Dusk to Dawn

Sometimes, they have to swing about to get all the parts attached.

Drillers on swings

Other times, they get to use fancy machinery to attach pipes together.

Attaching the pipes

The derrick is so high so that attaching pipes in between would be possible.

The pipes are 10m long

I do not know much about the drill floor. All I can say is that it looks pretty cool and I am very impressed with the crew working outdoors, rain or shine with all these heavy machinery and noise around them; not to mention the humidity and the heat too!

Very soon there will be the first core on deck – and I absolutely look forward to it!

–Anna Ling

Anna Ling is a Ph.D student in the Centre for Carbonate Research in the Department of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Hello Atoll-land!

On Sunday, 18th October 2015, we arrived to the Maldives islands. Even though we could only admire land from the JR, it was still a great sight to behold aside the plain ocean. I have been tracking the JR on Google Earth and it was rather exciting to see the ship pick-up a pilot from Malé and being redirected to the anchor location.

Getting closer to the pilot station close-by Malé

Anchored within Maldivian waters

The ship will be anchored for about 12 hours before transiting to our first site to pick-up Maldivian observers and also restock the ship with dairy and vegetables. Food (YAY)! As usual, upon arrival, I took some rather interesting photos of the Maldives and some excited scientists!

The JR entering Maldivian waters

The JR was greeted with hot and humid conditions and absolutely blue calm waters. In addition, a good view of the airstrip could be seen from the JR and it is the island right across Malé, the capital of the Maldives.

The airstrip on the island opposite Malé

On Malé itself, I could see that the island was densely populated with buildings. On top of that, everything was flatter than Florida! At least there is a 6ft elevation in Miami – not in the Maldives though! Malé is an island that is less than 8km in length. I am pretty sure it would be possible to run around the island in 1 hour.

The capital Malé

While we were anchoring, there were already tourists on the cruise soaking up some vitamin D the good ol’ fashioned way.

Guess who is soaking up vitamin D

I cannot wait until the JR leaves for our first drill site tonight and hopefully the first piston cores by morning.

–Anna Ling

Anna Ling is a Ph.D student in the Centre for Carbonate Research in the Department of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Song of Fire and Pirates

Thus far, 2 safety drills have been implemented so far:
  1. Fire on Board Drill
  2. Pirate Attack Drill

Each personnel on the ship has their assigned lifeboats and muster stations that we have to gather once an emergency alarm rang.

Fire on Board Drill

I am assigned onto lifeboat number 4. There are 2 muster stations on the ship, the port side and starboard side (I am getting the hang of maritime terms). There are a total of 4 lifeboats and each lifeboat can accommodate up to 70 people. However, you would not want to have each lifeboat to be completely filled to the brim. Trust me on that. We had a ‘tour’ into the lifeboats and if you are not claustrophobic, you will end up being one.

Lifeboat number 4 located at the port-side

All personnel on the ship are required to proceed to the lifeboats with their life-vests (or life floaties) and hard hats.

Muster stations waiting for orders

For the sake of entering the lifeboats, we were allowed to not use the hard hats. They were rather uncomfortable and bulky; not to mention hot and stuffy too! We went into the lifeboat 10 at a time and I felt extremely nauseous and claustrophobic for someone who has no such problems. 10 people in the boat felt like it was 50 in a boat as we were intruding each others’ personal space.

Inside the lifeboat 10 at a time

Each lifeboat was also supplied with provisions and water that I could only guess we would have a hard time getting to since 2 people were going to sit on it if the need arose. Each seat has a ‘black’ spot marked on it as an indicator that it was a legitimate seat. They sure did not take into account that there would be females on board because each seat were made for tiny butts.

Provisions on board

Someone will have to sit on the water supply

The lifeboat also came with an engine which does not propel far but hopefully far enough to safety.

Start your engines

And if you have a boat mate that is at the verge of insanity, you will have to hide the hatchet and ropes in the lifeboat from any impending disasters. Oh, and by the way, in case there are leaks inside the lifeboat, there is a great arm workout called the bilge pump. Be sure to rotate arms though and do not forget to wear your seat belts in case of rollover. I hope they have a puke bag in there too. Or else…

Keep that hatchet far far away

After 5 minutes being inside, I was ready to get out of it. I am also pretty confident that if a fire ever does break-out, I would rather be hot and stuffy than grilled alive.

Each lifeboat can be manually detached from the JR from the outside and inside. Each lifeboat has a new design that floats regardless on which direction it hits the water – the humans inside will just have to stay alive while that happens.

Pirate Attack Drill

All I can say is that in case you have a bad bladder case, bathroom is taken care of.

Anti Piracy Potty

Until next time folks! The countdown to the equator starts – 3 days and 18 hours to go until the rise of the Pollywogs. That would make a great movie title!

–Anna Ling

Anna Ling is a Ph.D student in the Centre for Carbonate Research in the Department of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.