Biology teacher Dr. Sarah Matarese has a unique opportunity to perform research this summer with Dr. Robert Ballard, the famed oceanographer best known for his 1985 discovery of the wreck of the Titanic.
As part of a Science Communication Fellowship run by the Ocean Exploration Trust, Dr. Matarese will be traveling to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California from July 23-29, where she’ll board the 64-meter research vessel, Nautilus.
The goal of the Channel Island Expedition is to explore underwater caves that are known to be in the region. “Some of these caves are 400 meters deep and they remain unexplored,” noted Dr. Matarese.
Dr. Ballard, now a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, founded The Ocean Exploration Trust in 2008 to conduct scientific research in areas of the ocean floor that have yet to be investigated and to “seek out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology and chemistry.”
(Note: Dr. Ballard delivered St. George’s 2017 Annual Burnett Lecture on May 5. The video is posted on our Vimeo channel.)
To ready for the trip, Dr. Matarese took part in a four-day workshop at URI’s Bay campus during the March spring break. “I met educators from all over the country who will be traveling on the boat at some point during the exploration season,” she said.
What Dr. Matarese is most looking forward to is “working with Dr. Ballard and his team of scientists and exploring a part of the ocean that has never been explored,” she said. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity.”
Dr. Ballard hopes educators who participate in the program will be inspired to share “the excitement of exploration and research with students and public audiences in their communities and around the world.”
All are invited to follow Dr. Matarese and the team’s research online, live, in July. “Anyone can log in to nautiluslive.org and follow me while I’m on the boat,” Dr. Matarese said.
(Editorial warning: If you are fascinated by underwater creatures such as octopuses and spider crabs, this live feed can be very addicting.)