This project combines expertise in ethnography, education and technology at the Concord Consortium, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Ocean Exploration Trust, and the Harvard Kennedy School. We are investigating how telepresence can transform STEM research and education by bringing meaningful research experiences to scientists and students otherwise unable to participate. Early career scientists pioneering the use of remote robotic vehicles (ROVs) and sensors will work with undergraduate students to explore important greenhouse gases released to the deep ocean from beneath the seafloor.
Engineers aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus in the Caribbean Sea will support the ROVs while scientific observations, data analysis and research decisions will be conducted on shore by scientists and students via telepresence at the Inner Space Center (ISC) at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.
Twelve undergraduate students from the University of Rhode Island, University of Idaho, Michigan State University and Harvard University will participate in all phases of the project: developing the research program, joining the virtual cruise at the ISC and completing their own research projects using data from the cruise.
We will evaluate how the data-to-knowledge conversion is transformed through computational methods and how those methods can be used better to train young researchers. Working within our interdisciplinary team will allow us to articulate an approach to transformative education that empowers students throughout the scientific process.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OCE-1344250. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The Concord Consortium (n.d.) Transforming remotely conducted research. Retrieved 2016, February 6 from http://concord.org/projects/treet
Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.
An important goal for including undergraduate students in the project is to advance student understanding of the way frontier science is evolving and to provide opportunities for students to participate in scientific research using remote data.
The educational research component of this project seeks to learn about the unique educational aspects of this experience for undergraduate students and early career scientists.
- To what extent do students gain in understanding research methodology?
- When student involvement in scientific research is made possible by remote access, what are key factors that appear to support the educational objectives of the students and their professors?
We will be particularly interested in whether this was an authentic research experience for the students.
- Did student participation help advance the research goals of the cruise?
- Were students able to make important observations or significant findings?
We will also inquire into the reasons students chose to become involved in the project and ask about the effects of this experience on their attitudes toward science. Finally, we will investigate whether this kind of remote participation for students appears to be a good design for engaging undergraduates in research.
The education researchers on the team will observe student online interactions with each other and with the scientists. We will review student work completed during the project, including postings to online logs, discussions in the seminar, participation during the cruise and presentation of research goals and results. We will be on shore during the cruise at the Inner Space Center and observe the interactions of students and researchers. We will also conduct interviews with the students and researchers at various points during the project and administer surveys about the experience of engaging in undergraduate research.
Dr. Katy Croff Bell is an ocean explorer, using deep sea technology to explore what lies at the depths of the ocean. Over the past 13 years, she has participated in or led more than 25 oceanographic and archaeological projects. Katy's current work involves the utilization of telepresence technology on ocean exploration projects for remote science and education. She is Chief Scientist of the Nautilus Exploration Program, working with a large team to implement this technology on multidisciplinary expeditions to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The expedition will be shared with the world live, revealing the wonders of the undersea world in real time, in an effort to engage and inspire a new generation of young explorers.
Katy received her S.B. from MIT in Ocean Engineering in 2000. In 2001, she was a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, after which she completed her Master's degree in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton. In 2006, she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Katy completed her Ph.D. in Geological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in 2011.
Steve Carey is Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. His research interests are focused in three main areas, all related to the study of explosive volcanism at convergent plate boundaries. He is currently working on research projects in Greece (Santorini volcano), Chile (Hudson volcano), Iceland, and the West Indies (Kick'em Jenny volcano), where he uses sub-bottom geophysical surveys with CHIRP and bubble pulser systems together with gravity and SCUBA coring and ROVs to investigate the nature of volcaniclastic deposits on the seafloor. Steve is working on an NSF-funded project that uses web-based virtual tours of the Vesuvius volcano and the Laki fissure in Iceland in undergraduate geoscience teaching.
Dr. Chris German is a Marine Geochemist who specializes in the investigation of submarine hydrothermal systems and other forms of seafloor fluid flow that impact ocean chemistry. He is the veteran of more than 50 deep ocean expeditions over the past 25 years, spending more than three of those years, cumulatively, out at sea. Along the way he has dived in US, French and Japanese submersibles in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, and helped explore for hydrothermal activity in a weird and wonderful array of settings stretching from 60°S in the Antarctic to 72°N in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and from the waters off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, to the East, to the South Pacific as far West as Tahiti. In one important component of his work, Chris combines studies of the chemistry of the water column and the geology of the underlying seafloor to locate new sites of active seafloor fluid flow throughout the world's oceans. Once located, the other half of Chris's research is devoted to understanding the fate of the chemicals released by such fluid flow and its potential role on global ocean budgets.
Chris received a B.A. in Natural Sciences (Geology & Chemistry) from the University of Cambridge in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Marine Geochemistry (also from Cambridge) in 1988. He won a John Murray Travelling Student award from the Royal Society in the UK in summer 1988 that funded his first participation in Alvin dives to a seafloor hydrothermal field that same summer. Later that year he began a NATO Post-Doctoral Fellowship at MIT. Upon completion of his post-doc, Chris returned to a UK government position as a research scientist, first at the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in Surrey and then for the first 10 years of the existence of the Southampton Oceanography Center, UK. During that time Chris won a range of national and international early career awards, including being made an inaugural Fellow of the Challenger Society for Marine Science (2000), being selected as one of eight UK "Scientists for the New Century" by the Royal Institution (2000), receiving the Edward A Flinn Award of the International Lithosphere Panel (2000) and culminating in the award of the MBE medal for services to Marine Science by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. In 2005, Chris relocated permanently to the United States where he has served as the chief scientific advisor for the National Deep Submergence Facility since January 2006.
When not at sea, or working on things oceanographic, Chris spends his time walking his rescue greyhound dogs on the beach in West Falmouth with his wife Romey, or (when the weather is less kind) playing bass guitar (loudly) in his basement.
Peter Girguis is a Professor of Marine Microbiology at Harvard University. His research focuses on microbes that flourish in so-called "extreme environments." He is particularly interested in understanding the role they play in mediating global biogeochemical cycles. His research is highly interdisciplinary, and he employs a variety of molecular microbiological and geochemical techniques as appropriate. He also develops novel instruments and samplers – such as underwater isotope analyzers and microbial samplers – to enable the broader community to interrogate these relationships in a manner previously unattainable.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he worked with Dr. James Childress on the physiological and biochemical adaptation of deep-sea hydrothermal vent tubeworm symbionts. He did postdoctoral research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute with Dr. Ed Delong on the growth and population dynamics of anaerobic methanotrophic microbes. He currently serves as chair of the Deep Submergence Science Committee, which oversees and advocates for the National Deep Submergence Facility at Woods Hole, MA.
Cynthia McIntyre is Director of Communications and Online Learning at the Concord Consortium, where she has been happily employed for the last 16 years! Cynthia has facilitated an online "metacourse" called Designing and Teaching Online Courses to secondary teachers and college professors to model best practices for online learning and teaching. She also co-authored a short book on the topic, Essential Elements: Prepare, Design, and Teach Your Online Course. Cynthia enjoys editing -- from papers to proposals and just about anything else, especially our biannual magazine, @Concord.
Anna Michel earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program. Anna then spent five years at the Center for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (NSF-Engineering Research Center) at Princeton University as a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow and then as an Associate Research Scholar. Anna returned to WHOI in the fall of 2012 as an Assistant Scientist in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering. Her research interests are in developing new instruments, with a strong focus on using optical and spectroscopic techniques, for chemical sensing of targets ranging from sediments to gases to aqueous solutions.
Zara Mirmalek is a Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her current project is an ethnographic study of telepresence and exploration among communities working with remote presence technologies for environmental knowledge production and who are navigating new terrains of participation, access, and intercultural communication. Zara's current research builds on her interests in science and technology knowledge production, organizations, and identity among diverse workgroups. She has conducted ethnographic studies for, and of, high-tech organizations and work sites, including Human-Centered Computing at NASA Ames Research Center, IBM Almaden, and United Airlines. Her research on the cultural production of time on Mars is informed by her work as a member of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers mission which involved one year of participant-observation at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Zara holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Science Studies from University of California, San Diego, and a MPA in Public Administration and Public Policy from California State University East Bay. She has also completed postgraduate work in the Science Technology and Society Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Eric Mittelstaedt is an Assistant Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Idaho. Eric specializes in marine geology problems related to mid-ocean ridges and hydrothermal vents. Recently, Eric worked with Daniel Fornari and several engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to develop a new deep-sea camera system designed to measure heat and volume flux of diffuse hydrothermal fluids. In addition to developing new instrumentation, Eric is collaborating with colleagues and students to develop new analog and numerical models of Earth processes from hydrothermal venting to sub-lithospheric mantle flow.
Amy Pallant is Senior Research Scientist at the Concord Consortium. She is the Principal Investigator on the High-Adventure Science project funded by the National Science Foundation with a focus on Earth's systems and using resources in a sustainable manner. She has been managing projects, developing curricula and contributing to research studies at the Concord Consortium for 14 years. She worked at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute a long time ago and has worked on collaborative educational projects with WHOI several times since then. It seems the ocean keeps calling her back.
Kanna Rajan is the Principal Researcher for Autonomy at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), which he is working on a hybrid integrated planning and execution system for goal-oriented platform control for single and multi-vehicle control. The Teleo-Reactive EXecutive (T-REX) synthesizes control actions onboard while being both reactive and deliberative on one of MBARI's autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
He has served as a Senior Research Scientist and a member of the management team of the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Area at NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, California, where he was tasked with putting together a credible demonstration of Human/Robotic collaboration on a planetary surface. The field demonstration at the Ames Marscape in September 2005 showcased how autonomous systems and EVA astronauts could "work" together towards exploration tasks. Kanna was the Principal Investigator on the MAPGEN Mixed-Initiative Planning effort as a decision support system to command the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission.
MAPGEN was awarded NASA's 2004 Turning Goals into Reality award under the Administrators Award category, a NASA Space Act Award, a NASA Group Achievement Award and a NASA Ames Honor Award. Kanna is the recipient of the 2002 NASA Public Service Medal and the First NASA Ames Information Directorate Infusion Award also in 2002. In 2004, JPL awarded him the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his role on the MER mission.
Chris Roman is Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, with a joint appointment in the Department of Ocean Engineering. He teaches a graduate course in modern oceanographic imaging and mapping techniques, and an introductory class on ocean exploration. His research interests focus on developing sensing systems and methods for acoustic and photographic seafloor mapping. This work involves underwater vehicle mechanical and control system design, navigation data processing, acoustic instrumentation and signal processing, image processing and mapping algorithm development.
Lynn Stephens is a postdoctoral researcher in the Cognitive Learning in Science Group at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she received her doctorate in Mathematics, Science and Learning Technologies. Her work has focused on identifying strategies to foster student use of mental modeling, particularly when computer simulations are used -- from the hands-on use by individuals or small groups to whole class use of simulations. Lynn is also interested in developing new ways for computer simulations to engage students in multi-model processing, including kinesthetic modes. She has been turned upside down with Contact Improvisation, a form of improvisational partner dance, and is also deeply interested in consensus-based community.
Masako Tominaga is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Michigan State University. Her research interests are in (Marine-) Geology & Geophysics, including i) characterizing tectonic, volcanic/magmatic, and geomagnetic processes of Earth using potential field measurements, acoustic remote sensing, and active source seismics; (ii) investigating interactions between water and CO2 and host rock formation and their geological consequences over time; and, (iii) developing novel quantitative approaches and devices that contribute to (marine-) geophysics operations. She has been PI and Co-PI of multiple projects and lead field programs (e.g., chief scientist of the NSF-OCE Jurassic Ocean Crust Magnetic Survey 2011 Expedition in the Pacific).
Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover is a deep-sea biologist with an interest in the ecology of chemosynthetic ecosystems. She is currently the Harvey W. Smith Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, where she serves as Chair of the Division and Director of the Marine Laboratory. Her current research includes a focus on exploring new models for deep-ocean research through telepresence, distributed research teams of early career scientists, and social media.
On receiving her Ph.D. in 1989, she joined the group that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. She qualified as pilot in 1990 and was pilot-in-command of 48 dives; she now serves as Chair of the Oversight Committee for an upgrade ALVIN vehicle. Her work with ALVIN and other deep submergence assets has taken her to the seafloor in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern Oceans.
She has authored a popular book for the lay audience about the deep sea and her experiences as an ALVIN pilot (The Octopus's Garden). She is curator of "Beyond the Edge of the Sea," a traveling exhibition of original deep-sea art by watercolor artist Karen Jacobsen, and is helping to develop "Art and Science: Envisioning Ocean Depths," a mixed media exhibition.
Scott Wankel is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research focuses on nitrogen and carbon cycling in marine systems through the combined use of several approaches, including the development and deployment of cutting edge submersible chemical and isotope sensor technologies. Scott particularly enjoys the multi-faceted nature of scientific research, constantly moving in many directions, in collaboration with interesting researchers all around the world and with exciting new discoveries happening in the lab and in the field.
Seminar in Remote Deep Sea Research & Exploration
The spring 2014 semester long seminar is designed to introduce the project and provide undergraduate students with background they will need to undertake research during the second year of the project.
The seminar will provide:
- an overview of the program
- background on science and research pertinent to the sites to be studied
- an introduction to the technology and the robotic vehicles
- planning time for the research
The seminar will be held on Monday nights at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Week 3: Feb 10-14
Michigan State University (Masako Tominaga)
Week 4: Feb 17-21
Harvard University (Peter Girguis)
Week 5: Feb 24-28
University of Idaho (Eric Mittelstaedt)
Week 6: Mar 3-7
University of Rhode Island (Chris Roman)
Week 8: Mar 17-21 Spring Break (No Zoom session)
Week 9: Mar 24-28
Feasibility discussion: Discuss your research ideas with scientists and other students. Get ideas about tools and techniques.
Weeks 10-11: Mar 31 - Apr 11 (Presentations March 31 and April 7)
Student presentations of research goals
Week 13 (TBD)
Finalizing the plan (timing to be determined)
Chris German will explain final plan for the cruise.
Log in to the seminar website for resources
McIntyre, C., & Pallant, A. (2015). Telepresence to support research experiences for undergraduates. The Concord Consortium.
Pallant, A. (2015). From ship to shore: Telepresence research. @Concord 19(1) 12-13.
Pallant, A., & McIntyre, C. (2014). Ocean research using telepresence. @Concord 18(2), 8-9.