Term Paper Projects and Daily Assignments
This course will be taught in a broadly interdisciplinary fashion so students
understand the interactions between physics, chemistry, biology and geology
in the oceanic environment. They will learn the operation of various
scientific instruments used for oceanographic data gathering such as the
Conductivity /Temperature/Depth (CTD) rosette. The students will be
taught the physics of the water column using these measurements in the lecture
sessions. They will also be taught the chemistry of the water column
using historical nutrient data for this region extracted from the NODC World
Ocean Atlas. Bottles on the CTD rosette will be used to collect water
samples from different depths. These samples will be used to measure
phytoplankton biomass from fluorometric measurements of chlorophyll a concentration,
identify different phytoplankton classes from measurements of the absorption
spectra. Surface net tows will be used to collect netplankton that
will be examined under a microscope. The students will deploy a spectroradiometer
to measure the in-situ spectral light field. They will learn to acquire
and process real-time sea surface temperature data from the Advanced Very
High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor using a High Resolution Picture
Transmission (HRPT) station onboard the ship. They will be taught to
interpret satellite sea surface temperature and ocean color data using the
various field measurements. The students will also learn to use a sunphotometer
to make measurements of Aerosol Optical Thickness, air column water vapor
The students will participate in 3-4 hours of laboratory activity and 2 hours
of lectures each day on the ship. While there will be no formal textbooks
for the course, readings will be handed out during the course. The
students will be required to maintain a daily log of their activities that
will be graded. About halfway through the course, they will be required
to choose a project for their final term paper. They will be expected
to write a term paper that integrates the field work with class room lectures
on topics such as changes in various parameters in the vertical profiles
along the transit, linking changes in phytoplankton absorption to the changing
in-situ light field, sea truthing remote sensing data using in-situ measurements
etc. (GEOL 388, 3 credits crosslisted with BSCI 338O and METO 498).
The research vessel will leave Woods Hole on the morning of the 5th of January
and proceed to Fortaleza, Brazil. Weather permitting, the ship will
stop for about one hour each day to deploy instruments and acquire samples.
The ship will arrive in Fortaleza on the morning of the 18th of January.
Students will have free time to visit the beautiful beaches and see sites
in Fortaleza on the 18th and the morning of the 19th of January. We
will fly back from Fortaleza on the afternoon of the 19th to return to Washington
DC on morning of the 20th.
Students will stay on the R/V Oceanus from the 4th through the 18th of January
– the duration of the course. The 177 feet long R/V Oceanus was built
in 1975 specifically designed for oceanographic research and is a part of
the U.S. University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet,
operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The cabins
will be comfortable, with two bunk beds in each and with shared bathrooms.
The ship is fully equipped with laboratories, oceanographic instruments and
other facilities required for this course. Detailed description and
specifications of this ship can be found at www.whoi.edu/
The course will be taught by Dr. Ajit Subramaniam, Assistant Research Scientist
at the Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center. He has extensive
experience on research survey cruises. Most recently he was the Chief
Scientist of a research survey of the subtropical and tropical Atlantic Ocean
on the R/V Knorr in August 2001 and participated on a research survey out
of Fortaleza on a Brazilian vessel in April 2002.
The program fee of $950 covers tuition, and all food and lodging costs.
Students will be responsible for the airfare of about $900 to travel to Woods
Hole from College Park and return from Fortaleza. Students should also
plan to purchase a trip cancellation insurance policy to cover the airfare
in the unlikely event of cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances.
The program will assist in making low-cost flight arrangements. Students
will pay for their flight directly to the travel agent.
A non-refundable $300 deposit made payable to the University of Maryland
is required with the application. This will be refunded only if a student
is not admitted to the program or if the program is cancelled. The
final payment of $650 is due on November 19, 2002.
This course is intended for junior and senior year students with strong academic
backgrounds and serious interest in oceanography and earth sciences.
There is a potential for rough seas, especially the first few days out of
Woods Hole and the course will be physically and academically challenging.
The curriculum is designed for students who are highly motivated and who
are seeking to actively engage in the challenges of a new learning environment.
Applicants should have at least a 3.0 (B) academic average and the approval
of an academic advisor. All students who meet the admission requirements
are welcome to apply.
Admission to the program is competitive and space is limited to 8-10 students.
The requirements are minimum standards. An applicant meeting minimum requirements
is not guaranteed admission. To maximize your opportunity for admission,
early application is recommended. The deadline is November 5, 2002.
To apply, complete and submit the application form. Please send the
following application materials to the Study Abroad Office:
The Study Abroad Office
- A completed application form
- A 150 – 300 word essay explaining your qualifications and motivation
for this program
- An academic transcript from each university attended
- A letter of recommendation from a university faculty or staff member
- A $300 non-refundable deposit, payable to the University of Maryland.
3125 Mitchell Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
For more information, please contact:
Ajit Subramaniam, Ph.D.
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
Room 1104 CSS Building