CSU Voices and Views

Posts tagged with Ocean

This Way for a Healthier Planet

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

Chico State students are thinking through the consequences of collective human actions. Much of the evidence is that our species is making poor decisions, utilizing record levels of the earth’s productive capacity while choking that productive pipeline for future generations.

A coalition of students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs and activists are striving for a better path, a healthier path. This Way to Sustainability is an enormous undertaking – a student-run conference that hosts more than 100 speakers and 1,400 participants. This conference brings together those who dare to question the decisions we make today. In so doing, they find many answers about how we might move toward a sustainable future.

Decked out in an elaborate dress of plastic bags, Health Education major Alexandria Gipson (center) quizzes and informs students with trivia about the impact of plastics in the environment. More …

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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.

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Called to Serve

Rear Admiral Thomas A. Cropper
President, California State University Maritime Academy

President Cropper and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood during LaHood's recent visit to The California Maritime Academy

President Cropper and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood during LaHood’s recent visit to The California Maritime Academy

Great organizations lead with best-in-the-world attributes.  The California State University Maritime Academy is a world leader in “pracademics” — the practical reinforcement of academics by real world application.  Cadets seamlessly go from learning metallurgical concepts in the classroom to creating functioning parts on the Training Ship Golden Bear.  Intellectual learning is tested throughout summer training cruises under the guidance of strong faculty and proven maritime professionals.  Cal Maritime is exemplary of a devotion to hands-on learning that one encounters on all Cal State campuses.  I know the power of this type of education — I have personally witnessed the tremendous benefits of the CSU approach as the proud father of a son who completed his Cal Maritime degree and a daughter who is finishing at San Diego State. More …

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A Proud Tradition

By Captain Lynn Korwatch
Executive Director
Marine Exchange San Francisco Bay Region
Alumna of the California Maritime Academy

Captain Korwatch is honored as a Cal Maritime Distinguished Alumna at the 2010 graduation

Captain Korwatch is honored as a Cal Maritime Distinguished Alumna at the 2010 graduation

Attending the California Maritime Academy is unlike almost any other college experience. I belonged to a corps of cadets — a small, disciplined and incredibly close unit of students. Every graduate of Cal Maritime remembers morning formation and shares the experience of a cruise on the Training Ship Golden Bear.

There is an amazing sensation of freedom that you get being part of a crew in international waters. The ship is in the middle of a vast blue landscape that stretches from horizon to horizon. The nearest land is hundreds of miles away. For every mariner, the first crossing of the International Date Line or the Equator is a milestone steeped in tradition and celebration. More …

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CSU’s Green Alumni

Just to clarify, this blog entry is not about the Martian invasion of California’s university campuses.  That attack is actually scheduled for next year.

CSU’s Green Alumni are a prominent group of leaders that have pushed their industries in new directions and dedicated their lives to sustainable practices.  All of these individuals are featured in “Working for California,” a project that demonstrates the profound impact that CSU graduates have on the state’s economy, society and environment.

Compelling Positive Change

James Berk graduated from CSU Northridge in 1981.  He is the CEO of Participant Media, the group known for films such as ''An Inconvenient Truth.''  Under Berk's leadership, Participant Media continues to generate film and television documentaries that highlight environmental and social concerns.

James Berk graduated from CSU Northridge in 1981. He is the CEO of Participant Media, the group known for films such as ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' Under Berk's leadership, Participant Media continues to generate film and television documentaries that highlight environmental and social concerns.

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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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Gulf Recovery in Murky Waters

By Sean Anderson
Assistant Professor
Environmental Science and Resource Management
California State University, Channel Islands

CSUCI Assistant Professor Sean Anderson stands in the marshes of Louisiana.

CSUCI Assistant Professor Sean Anderson stands in the marshes of Louisiana.

Soon, my CSUCI students and I will return to Louisiana to continue wetland restoration and community service that we began along the Gulf Coast in the immediate wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  For the past five years, our restoration efforts and research have focused on the bottomland hardwood forest in Plaquemines Parish.  When in Louisiana, my students spend about half their days working on wetland restoration and half on building sustainable food systems and community food gardens in and around New Orleans.

In the still unfolding aftermath of BP’s catastrophic Deep Horizon oil spill, we’re not sure what to expect this coming year.  Anytime oil and seawater combine in large quantities, there are immediate and long-term political, economic, social, natural and scientific consequences. 

Simple questions – like “How much oil spilled into the gulf?” – get murky in a hurry.
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From Student to Aviator

By Jason Mansour,
Alumnus of California State University, Monterey Bay
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps Aviator

In the video below, Mansour discusses the importance of student research, how the opportunities he had as a student led to his dream job, and how his university experience continues to impact his career. Mansour successfully completed a bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems Science and Policy at CSU Monterey Bay in 2003, and he joined the NOAA that same year. More …

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