CSU Voices and Views

Posts tagged with National Science Foundation

The Point Sur Arrives

Congratulations to the crew of the R/V Point Sur for their Jan. 26 arrival at Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica.  Their journey has already spanned nearly two months since departing from home – Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in the Monterey Bay area. More …

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The Point Sur

The Point Sur photographed from the coast as it departs for Antartica under cloud cover

On November 29, the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories’ (MLML) Research Vessel Point Sur and its crew departed for Antarctica to provide sea-going support to a number of National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research teams from around the country.

Below is the first blog entry from the Point Sur’s voyage:

The Point Sur’s home is Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in the Monterey Bay area, but she will be steaming to new foreign ports and traveling over 8,000 miles before reaching the final destination of Palmer Station in Antarctica. This is a very exciting time for the crew in Marine Operations and the entire MLML community!

In Antarctica, we will be supporting various scientific research groups for two months. We will be there in the “summer” as it is the only time of the year a vessel of like ours can navigate around the Palmer peninsula. This is a historic voyage for the Sur and we are proud to be part of supporting science in one of the most remote and dynamic places in the world.

Throughout this journey we will be reporting on the adventure. Look for future posts to learn about the current transit, how we prepared for the trip, what science is happening in the Antarctic region, our cast of characters and, of course, lots of spectacular photos!

Last week, the day the Point Sur departed, one of our local news channels, KION, aired an in-depth report which was an exciting way to profile the beginning of our epic journey.

We will be back with more updates soon, in the meantime, take part in following the Point Sur’s progress underway with the vessel tracker on our website.

CSU Voices and View will also follow the Point Sur – posting images and captions of the ship and crew’s journey.  Below is the first of those images.

The Point Sur, cruising along the coast of Mexico and getting ready to pass Acapulco, is treated to a gorgeous sunset as it sails South.

This photo was taken by India Grammatica who is the relief cook handling the transit South.


Plastic Soup

By Chelsea M. Rochman
Ph.D. Student in Marine Ecology/ Ecotoxicology
San Diego State University/ UC Davis

Note: On January 25, 2011, the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) held its inaugural student-research showcase, with student researchers and faculty mentors discussing their work with CSU trustees and campus presidents.  Chelsea Rochman took part in the showcase, sharing her research into the toxicological effects of plastic in the ocean.  Rochman is one of about 20 students in the Marine Ecology/ Ecotoxicology Ph.D. program offered jointly by San Diego State and UC Davis.  Students receive advising from faculty at both universities.  The students’ research facilities are located on the San Diego campus.

Rochman skims a net along the water surface to pull samples from an oceanic gyre.

Rochman skims a net along the water surface to pull samples from an oceanic gyre.

It is predicted that more than 300 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide last year, and plastic production consumed 8 percent of global oil production.  Much of this plastic, such as bags, plates and cups, has a useful lifetime of seconds, minutes or hours.  Once discarded, it is easy to forget these items.  Yet, disposable plastics can persist in the environment for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years.

This disconnected reality of society and our waste is what led me to join two expeditions to oceanic gyres, or areas in the water where the currents form circular patterns.  Some of these gyres have earned an unfortunate nickname “garbage patch,” famous for confetti-like plastic debris no larger than a pencil eraser with sporadic larger pieces here and there.

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The Quest for Knowledge Begins with Questions

By Sean Kearns,
CSU Science Communications Advisor

National Science Foundation logoIn the research realm, the pursuit of knowledge often begins with a short, though not necessarily simple, question.  Junior faculty in the CSU are getting a boost from the National Science Foundation to connect research and teaching to find answers to their questions, such as: 

  • How bright is the sun?
  • What does it take to generate a good shape?

These are among the questions pursued by the 23 CSU faculty members whom the NSF has on its CAREER path.  Formally known as Faculty Early Career Development grants, NSF’s CAREER awards support junior faculty members who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars.”  They will each receive at least $400,000 over a five-year period.

Turning the lab tables, I asked some of the CAREER recipients to answer a few more questions. 

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