What Are They Doing?

A diverse research team aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGS) Healy conducted sampling along a series of transects over the eastern Bering Sea. Research on the ship was multidisciplinary, with scientists using a variety of techniques to document ocean conditions and the productivity of the Bering Sea ecosystem. Research teams measured the temperature, salinity, nutrient content of the sea water, changes in sea ice cover, and the concentration of nutrients used and released by phytoplankton. They also conducted surveys of zooplankton, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals such as walruses and seals, to assess the health of these populations. These measurements gave scientists an indication of the status of the Bering Sea ecosystem and any changes that might affect the use of its resources, and the economic, social and cultural sustainability of the people who depend on it. This was the third cruise in 2008 supported by the National Science Foundation’s Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST), which is part of a scientific effort to understand the Bering Sea. PolarTREC teacher, Jillian Worssam, was also supported by the NOAA Teachers at Sea program to participate in this expedition. Click here to learn more about NOAA their education programs.

Where Are They?

The team traveled on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea. The Bering Sea lies to the west of Alaska and to the east of Russia. The team departed from and return to the port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the most productive fishing port in the United States.

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Our pond science unit has been amazing, and the first phase is almost completed. We have measured the depth of the pond, and are in the process of converting all our figures to centimeters so that we can make a much reduced scale model. We do though love the scientific method for as we started…
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Well, the Triathlon was a bit over a month ago, I have been back in the classroom for almost as long, and feel terribly guilty for taking this many weeks to post my last, but then beginning journal entry. Let me explain:The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY docked in Dutch Harbor, Alaska on July 31st…
Today is our last day at sea. We are scheduled to arrive at Dutch Harbor tomorrow morning at 09:00, and I am a bit sad. After 27 days I feel a part of a new family and do not think I can ever thank the scientists or the crew of the HEALY enough for the amazing experience they have provided.…
Dates
-
Location
Bering Sea
Project Funded Title
BEST: Bering Ecosystem Study
Jillian Worssam - Teacher
Teacher
Sinagua Middle School

Jillian Worssam is fascinated by the diversity of all living and nonliving systems. Due to previous scientific field experience Ms. Worssam founded "Scientists in the Classroom", a national and global mentor program for students and scientists in the field. Each individual student in Ms. Worssam's science classes is paired with their own scientist for an entire academic year, breaking down classroom walls and bringing the world of science to a northern Arizona classroom. Ms. Worssam is also the STEM and oceanography sponsor for her school, showing students in a land-locked state the importance of the Earth's oceanic ecosystems.

When not teaching, Ms. Worssam is an active board member for the Flagstaff Festival of Science, America's longest community science festival celebrating its 25th year in 2014. Ms. Worssam is also the regional leader for the NOAA Climate Stewards program. With nine participating western and pacific states, adult professionals engaged in climate awareness and techniques to disseminate information about climate change Ms. Worssam is the recipient of numerous awards in education including Flagstaff Arizona's first STEM Teacher of the Year and recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Teacher Finalist.

Ray Sambrotto - Researcher
Researcher
Columbia University

Raymond Sambrotto is the chief scientist on this Bering Sea Ecosystem Study cruise and studies marine plankton ecology and global nutrient cycles. Dr. Sambrotto has worked from small boats in the Caribbean to major oceanographic programs in the Arabian Sea. He has worked extensively at both poles using icebreakers and submarines to traverse these difficult environments. An important part of Dr. Sambrotto’s research is determining how marine populations will fare under changed climate conditions and how these changes will affect the larger global environment.

Bering Ecosystem Study 08 Resources

PolarTREC teacher Jillian Worssam was one of a handful of teachers singled out by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona as an exemplary teacher. This article gives a sneak peak into Ms. Worssam's very hands-on, field-based classroom and how she connects with her middle school students.

Article
Arctic
Middle School and Up
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Overview

This lesson introduces students to krill, their importance in ocean ecosystems, and the physical structures that make up the krill body. The students will then use the principles of a "floater" species and design their own krill, hopefully having a class competition to see who can build a better krill.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than a week
Elementary and Up
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Overview

Rings of life is a comparative lesson allowing students to investigate growth rings in walleye Pollock from the Bering Sea and Ponderosa Pine trees.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than a week
Elementary and Up
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Overview

The following PowerPoint presentation is part of an anticipatory set used to excite and introduce students to the many wonders of the Bering Sea. The PowerPoint is to be presented at the beginning of a unit about the Bering Sea.

Lesson
Arctic
Less than 1 period
All Aged
n/a

Overview

Students will develop an understanding of what it takes to interview scientists, and take the corresponding data and reformat it into an electronic medium.

Objective

Students will be able to write questions to scientists in the field, interview, take the data collected, and convert to an electronic format including MP3 clips and post to the Internet.

Lesson
Arctic
About a week
Middle School and Up
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