OCEAN 411 Sea Going Research and Discovery

Research Ship Thomas G Thompson

OCEAN 411 is held Fall quarter following your time at sea as a member of the VISIONS'24 experiential learning program. This unique interdisciplinary, hands-on class 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. During VISIONS'24 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 Oregon, 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.

There will be three ~8 to 10 day Legs at sea and participation is open to 1 to all 3 Legs. 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 as well as data flowing from the Regional Cabled Array (RCA). The RCA VISIONS'24 expedition is in support of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The cruise will be aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic global class research ship the  R/V Atlantis and will include the ROV Jason. The cruise will be August 10-September 14, 2024 and will include a team of scientists from the College of the Environment - School of Oceanography, engineers from the Applied Physcis Laboratory, and 10 Jason crew. 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 the10th Operations and Maintenance cruise for America’s first high-power and high-bandwidth cabled observatory. The UW led the design and installation of the observatory and since 2014 has overseen its operation and maintenance. This marine facility, spanning the Juan de Fuca plate off Oregon and Washington, includes ~900 km of high power and bandwith submarine fiber optic cables that bring the Internet directly into the ocean. The telecommunication cables provide power and two-way communication to a network of >150 instruments, and state-of-the-art full water column moorings (up to ~2700 m in height) with instrumented wire crawlers. Data in real-time flows at the speed of light to shore, and is available to a global audience through OOI and the Cloud-hosted UW interactiveoceans Data Portal. 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. Many students indicate that this program changed their lives. There are no prerequisites for this class - it is open to all majors. It is required for all students who sail on VISIONS'24.


Dr. Deborah Kelley dskelley@uw.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.