Exploring Marine Science Day 2014

Saturday October 25, 2014 marked the 12th anniversary of the Exploring Marine Science Day for middle school girls. The Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) partnered with the UM Rosenstiel School and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to host this day of interactive learning. Fifty young women from across South Florida spent their Saturday with Rosenstiel’s female faculty, students, and researchers to get an up close look at what it is like to be a marine scientist.


  • The girls learned about corals with Stephanie Schopmeyer and helped with coral restoration by planting coral (skeleton) fragments on special nursery plantforms.
  • The amazing women from Marine Geosciences never disappoint! Amel Saied, Anna Ling, Kim Galvez, and Carolina Bardaro taught the girls how to squeeze water from mud samples and they explored some of the amazing organisms found in the ocean.
  • The highlight of the day is always drawing blood from a toadfish with Dr. Danielle McDonald and her students. They learned about red and white blood cells, plasma, and stress hormones.
  • Rana Fine taught the girls about ocean acidification through an experiment in which the girls test the pH of sea water, before and after the addition of a carbonated soda.
  • Aplysia! CARTHE Outreach Manager Laura Bracken taught the girls about the importance of the amazing aplysia and the fascinating details of their life cycle, but the best part was actually getting to hold their slimy new friend.
  • The girls learned about density during a colorful experiment, mixing salt and freshwater with Meredith Jennings and Renellys Perez.
  • Josefina Olascoaga created a spinning ocean in the lab, complete with dyed ocean currents and eddies!
  • Dr. Lisa Beal completed the day with a powerful video of female oceanographers and a reminder to all of us, “Don’t let the boys have all the fun!”

Attendees had this to say about the event:

“Today’s program was awesome! I did not know there was so much science out in the ocean…”
“I love science and everything I did today was amazing”

“Today was one of the best days of my life!”

“I learned that there was a lot more to marine science than I thought.”

The activities are clearly fun and engaging but most importantly the girls left with a greater interest in science and knowing that anyone can be a scientist. Our scientists are also athletes, mothers, community leaders, and artists. According to the evaluations, the majority has an increased interest in studying science!

Thank you to all of the volunteers from CARTHE, RSMAS, and AAUW for making this day a success.

— Laura Bracken

CARTHE Air & Ocean Photo Contest

Do you often see incredible natural phenomena appearing on the sea surface or sky? Snap a picture of it and you can win cool gear from CARTHE – The Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbons in the Environment.

To participate in the CARTHE Air & Ocean Photo Contest, simply observe nature, capture its beauty, and share it! For example, the various “textures” of the sea surface with different wind conditions, accumulation of sea weed and other debris along lines parallel to the wind, strong contrast in colors and sea texture at river inlets, and dynamic air-sea interactions. For more information, visit the CARTHE website.

IMG_8204Here are the rules:

Entry Rules

  • Images can be of the ocean, coastal water systems, inland water systems, or air/atmospheric systems.
  • The CARTHE Photography Contest is open to all amateur photographers. Amateur photographers are those who earn no more than 20% of their income from their photography. Eligible photos are those that have not been published or accepted for publication and must have been taken by the person submitting the entry. The Photographer must have ownership and copyright of all entries.
  • All photographs must be taken in a natural fresh-water or salt-water environment.
  • Digital editing of photographs is acceptable in moderation. Only minor adjustments will be accepted (ie. minor brightness, contrast, or cropping). Any heavily filtered or manipulated photograph will be rejected at judges’ discretion.
  • Ownership and copyright of all entries remain with the photographer. CARTHE, GoMRI, and RSMAS reserves the right to publish the winning photos without compensation for educational purposes, including, but not limited to publication on the CARTHE/GoMRI/University of Miami/RSMAS websites, social media, in brochures or for future contest promotion. Proper credit will be given to all winners.
  • By submitting your images, you are agreeing to the terms above.

Snap away and good luck!

FantaSEA Football Furor Takes Over UMiami Rosenstiel School

It has been a long grueling season for you Fantasy Football owners. The roller coaster ride of emotions has been full with moments of joy, confusion (anyone owning C.J. Spiller or Jamaal Charles) and bewilderment (Seahawks vs. Packers).  Now it is playoff time – Winners move on, losers pack their bags and empty their wallets. But this had us thinking. What would the ultimate Fantasy Football roster look like? And what if this hypothetical roster was composed of sea life? So, in spirit of Fantasy Football playoffs, here is our Pro Bowl roster. Good luck!

OctopusQuarterback Octopus: It makes sense to put a cephalopod with 8 arms behind center. Honestly, who else would you want as your field general? Not to mention, the Octopus is highly intelligent and capable of making those crucial decisions. The Octopus is also able to camouflage himself as a defensive mechanism.

Running baTiger SharkckTiger Shark: This is our top point getter – think Arian Foster. This top predator is going to rack up tons of points and eat everything in sight. Sharks are the police of the ocean. If it’s 4th and goal, you are handing it off to the Tiger Shark.

MahiRunning backMahi-Mahi Flashy, quick, and strong.  Mahi grow quickly and are always ready for a good fight.  Their acrobatic moves and ability to change color make them a top pick for any good fantasy team.Otter

Wide Receiver Sea Otter: Think Julio Jones here. The sea otter is one of the only marine animals that can use his hands, is quick and reliable. The otter is very popular and is going to give you lots of points on a weekly basis.

SailfishWide ReceiverSailfish: Every team needs a player like AJ Green. Fast, explosive and has a deep threat potential. The Sailfish is arguably the fastest and most aggressive fish out there, and eats smaller fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Chalk up 6, because the Sailfish is going deep!

Humpback Whale by Kyra Hartog

Tight End Humpback Whale: Does Rob Gronkowski ring a bell? Much like Gronk, the Humpback Whale is multi-talented. It can block, dive, breach, swim long distances or stay in the same area (Hawaii breeding grounds). The Humpback Whale is our go-to passing option in the red zone.

KickeDolphinr – Dolphin: Can you think of a better option here? The Rosenstiel School is in Miami, we have the Dolphins, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reference Ray Finkle in a blog post. Ace Ventura aside, the Dolphin is a highly charismatic mega fauna, and can score you lots of points if need be. Don’t worry, pressure doesn’t get to ol’ Snowflake during that last second 50 yard field goal for the win.

TunaDefenseSchool of Blue Fin Tuna: The Chicago Bears defense has had a great fantasy season. Much like the Bears, the Bluefin Tuna are big, fast and it’s hard not to appreciate them. You can’t go wrong with the Bluefin Tuna.


Check out our FantaSEA team in action!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKu1yYibdeA]

So what sea creatures would YOU have on your FantaSEA team?  Think you can beat us?  Write a comment below and let us know who you would have picked and why?

Brought to you by Andrew DeChellis & Laura Bracken; Drawings by Kyra Hartog; Animation by Lizzie Bracken. Special thanks to Austin Gallagher and Peter Chaibongsai for their invaluable assistance.


Set Sail With Pangea Exploration

Pangaea Exploration is a Miami-based marine conservation organization, sailing the world to advance exploration, education, and conservation. Last week, Emily Penn, Program Director of Pangaea Exploration, gave a passionate and informative presentation to faculty and students at the Rosenstiel School. If you missed the presentation, don’t worry. It’s not too late to get involved!

Pangaea Exploration operates a 72ft sailing vessel, Sea Dragon, and coordinates expeditions to carry out scientific research and filmmaking around the world. They have spent the past 2 years sailing 50,000nm, researching plastic pollution, ocean acidification and coral health. They provide a platform for scientists to collect the necessary samples to conserve the marine ecosystems.

The Sea Dragon partners with researchers to collect important scientific observations, but also dedicates space on the ship to citizen scientists. The Pangaea crew teamed up with 5Gyres and spent a large portion of the past year collecting and studying marine debris in the North Pacific, specifically mapping the tsunami debris from Japan. They also worked with Woods Hole Oceanographic to collect water samples along the equator in the Pacific Ocean.

In spring 2013, they are coming to the Caribbean and Miami. Here is how YOU can get involved:

– Be the lead scientist on a cruise. All expenses paid for you, but you take on the responsibility of coordinating the activities of the citizen scientists who will help you collect your data.

– Pay your way either as a scientists going to collect your own data or as a citizen scientist.

– Send your sampling materials with the crew and ask them to collect the samples on your behalf.

– Intern for Pangaea Exploration here in Miami (with the chance to go on the ship for one of the legs).

Contact: Alex@panexplore.com

For more information, check out their website: panexplore.com.

-Laura Bracken
Outreach Manager
Follow the Rosenstiel School on Twitter: @UMiamiRSMAS
“Like” the Rosenstiel School on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Rosenstiel School
Circle the Rosenstiel School on Google+ : Rosenstiel School

Univ. of Miami Community Participates Globally During the International Coastal Clean Up

Saturday, September 15th, was the 2012 International Coastal Clean Up, organized by the Ocean Conservancy (and locally by the Robert Allen Law Firm). University of Miami faculty, staff, and students participated by cleaning up their little pieces of paradise and teaching children about the importance of a clean ocean.

The RSMAS community cleaned the University’s Virginia Key beach. We had over 20 people participate and together they picked up hundreds of pieces of plastic and Styrofoam, over 100 bottles and cans, close to 100 straws, 15 articles of clothing, a battery, fireworks, and much more! By noon, the dumpster was full and our beach was clean (at least temporarily).

Three current UM students (Nate Formel, Kelly Montenero, and Virginia Ansaldi) and one RSMAS alumna (Danni Washington, Big Blue & You Foundation) partnered with Greg Anderson and the City of Miami to bring 15 children to clean up a local barrier island. They taught the students about the native ecosystem and why it is important to keep Biscayne Bay clean, and then eagerly picked up a huge amount of trash!

UM Biology students who are spending the Fall 2012 semester at the Isabela Oceanographic Institute in the Galapagos Islands cleaned the coast of Puerto Villamil, their home for the next few months. They teamed up with local residents to ensure that their beaches, mangroves, and wetlands were trash-free.

How did you participate in the International Coastal Clean Up?

-Laura Bracken
Outreach Manager
Follow the Rosenstiel School on Twitter: @UMiamiRSMAS
“Like” the Rosenstiel School on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Rosenstiel School
Circle the Rosenstiel School on Google+ : Rosenstiel School

Infographic: How Much Garbage is Floating in our Oceans?

OceanDoctor.org recently published a cringe-worthy Infographic depicting just how much garbage is floating around in our oceans. The United States uses over 50 Billion plastic bottles each year, and only about 10 billion are recycled. Many of the un-recycled plastic bottles end up in the ocean. Some end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is now twice the size of the continental United States! Others end up on our beaches! You can help by using refillable bottles, recycling, and participating in beach clean ups.

What do you do to protect the ocean? Leave a comment below.

What do you do to protect the ocean? Leave a comment below.

-Laura Bracken
Outreach Manager
Follow the Rosenstiel School on Twitter: @UMiamiRSMAS
“Like” the Rosenstiel School on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Rosenstiel School
Circle the Rosenstiel School on Google+ : Rosenstiel School