OCEAN 411 Sea Going Research and Discovery

Research Ship Thomas G Thompson

This unique interdisciplinary, hands-on at-sea course will provide you with the experience of conducting research related to many important oceanographic processes operating within the Northeast Pacific ocean and on the seafloor. You will gain experience on a global class research ship using a state-of-the-art underwwater robotic vehicle (ROV) reaching depths of 9500 ft beneath the oceans surface and working on the most active volcano off our coast, Axial Seamount. This volcano, located >300 miles offshore, erupted in 1998, 2011, and 2015 and is poised to erupt again in the next few years. You will also have the opportunity to produce far-reaching public engagement videos. 

During ~10 day to ~5 week durations at sea, you will work alongside experienced scientists, engineers and the ship’s crew to gain at-sea research and sea-going experience using advanced oceanographic research instruments and vehicles, and you will conduct your own research using data collected with some of these tools. This summer the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Cabled Array VISIONS'19 cruise will be aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research ship the  R/V Atlantis (hosting the deep-diving submersible Alvin), and will include the ROV Jason. The cruise will be from May 29 to July 6th and will include a team of scientists from the College of the Environment - School of Oceanography, engineers from the Applied Physcis Laboratory, and professors from Grays Harbor College. Over 20 graduate and undergraduate students will participate on this cruise.

As a member of this oceanographic expedition and class, you will be taking part in the fourth Operations and Maintenance cruise for America’s first high-power and high-bandwidth cabled observatory. This ocean observatory is called the Regional Cabled Array [formally known as the Regional Scale Nodes (RSN)]. The University of Washington lead the design and installation of the observatory and is now overseeing its operation of (www.interactiveoceans.washington.edu). The Cabled Array is part of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative, which hosts a network of instruments, undersea-cabled observatories and instrumented moorings that span the Western Hemisphere. The Regional Cabled Array component includes state-of-the-art instruments and full water column moorings (up to ~2700 m in height) with instrumented wire crawlers that form high-power and high-bandwidth networks permanently installed across the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the coast of Washington and Oregon. As a member of this course, you will be participating in a truly groundbreaking effort that is transforming the kind of science and exploration that we can do in the world’s oceans.


Dr. Deborah Kelley dskelley@u.washington.edu

Course Goals

By the end of this course, we hope that you will have achieved the following:

  • A greater interest in the ocean and the systems within it.
  • A familiarity with basic oceanographic research methods and tools.
  • An understanding of the interaction between geological, biological, chemical and physical processes that occur within the oceans.
  • An ability to work collaboratively to think of and address research questions.
  • An ability to design and complete your own outreach and/or science projects and articulate/present these to you colleagues.