America’s Cup World Series Exhibits Focus on Ocean

The state-of-the-art catamaran racing event off Newport, Rhode Island, includes daily talks about marine health, water pollution, and climate change.

blue crab

Anna Malek, a Ph.D. student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, will talk about changes in fish species over five centuries. Malek assists as crew and researcher aboard the Cap’n Bert, the school’s 53-foot stern trawler. Elaine Lembo

From underwater volcanic eruptions to the movements of marine trash and hurricane forecasting, the ocean-related lecture topics offered through the America’s Cup World Series later this month are bound to take your eyes off the water—at least for a while.

The high-performance racing and related events featuring AC45 wing-sailed catamarans take place at Fort Adams State Park in Newport from June 22 to July 1, with actual fleet and match course work from June 28 to July 1.The last of a series of World Series matches that began in Europe and a prelude to the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in summer 2013, the Newport circuit is set on a course whose start/finish lines just off the shoreline offer numerous spectator access points.

The 15-minute talks are part of a series of exhibits and presentations under a big white tent called the Exploration Zone, which features the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, one of the premier oceanographic education, research, and outreach programs in the world. The Exploration Zone, made up of a consortium of local nonprofit organizations, is the largest display at the America’s Cup Village at Fort Adams. “This is the most exciting sailboat racing you’ll ever see, and we look forward to meeting race fans and sharing our informative exhibits with them,” says Dennis Nixon, associate dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “We’re looking forward to demonstrating the expertise of our scientists and students with a wide variety of interactive displays about Narragansett Bay, the ocean and the atmosphere and how it all ties in to the world of sailing.”


Exhibits include:
• What’s in A Drop Of Bay Water? Visitors can use microscopes to observe the tiny organisms living in Narragansett Bay, which includes waters off Newport, Rhode Island
• A 10-foot aquarium filled with dozens of live animals representing the Narragansett Bay ecosystem
• A SODAR sonic wind profiler, which measures wind speeds and wind turbulence at varying heights above the surface
• Oceanographic research equipment, including deep sea cameras, plankton nets, remotely operated vehicle arms
• Displays about Gulf Stream currents, chemical pollutants in the ocean, seaweed, the affect of low-oxygen levels in bay waters
GSO scientists and students will present short talks each day between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on such topics as ocean exploration, robots in the ocean, nautical charts, microscopic predators, hurricane forecasting, changing fish populations in the bay, scientific diving, recreational boating laws, and water circulation in the bay. The URI exhibits and talks are funded in part by Eleventh Hour Racing, which aims to use sailboat racing to educate the public about the marine environment and the responsible use of natural resources.

A lecture series of short presentations by URI Graduate School of Oceanography and NOAA scientists, and others, on marine topics

11:30 am
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations from the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer
LTJG Brian Kennedy EX Operations Coordinator, NOAA RI Office of Ocean Exploration and Research


12:00 pm
The Deep End of the Ocean
Katherine Croff Bell, PhD Vice President of Ocean Exploration Trust, directing E/V Nautilus Exploration Program

12:30 pm
Rozalia Project: Marine debris beware, our underwater robots are coming to clean you up!
Rachael Miller Founder and Executive Director, Rozalia Project

11:30 am
Robots in the Ocean: Today and Tomorrow
Christopher Roman, PhD Assistant Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography


12:00 pm
Circulation in the Coastal Ocean: Checking the Pulse of Narragansett Bay
Christopher Kincaid, PhD Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:30 pm
Extreme animals in extreme environments
Brad Seibel, PhD Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island

11:30 am
Navigate with Confidence: Nautical charts and NOAA’s Office Coast Survey
LT Brent Pounds, MBA Office of Coast Survey, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Narragansett Lab


12:00 pm
Discovering Undersea Mountains, Volcanoes, and Gas Seeps with the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer Seafloor Mapping Program
Meme Lobecker, MMA Mapping Team Lead, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research at University of New Hampshire
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

12:30 pm
Invisible Life In and Below the Ocean
Justine Sauvage, MS M.S. student, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:00 pm
Microscopic Predators: What Lurks in a Drop of Water?
Susanne Menden-Deuer, PhD Assistant Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:30 pm
Fire and Water: The Eruption of Underwater Volcanoes
Steven Carey, PhD Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

1:00 pm
Eye on the Storm: Predicting a Hurricane’s Path of Destruction
Isaac Ginis, PhD Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

11:30 am
Oceans in the News: Communicating Science, Risk, and Uncertainty
Sunshine Menezes, PhD Executive Director, Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting

12:00 pm
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Decoding five centuries of change in the fish community of Narragansett Bay
Anna Malek Ph.D. student, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:30 pm
New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: Innovative applications of technology enabling remote participation
Catalina Martinez, MMA, MS Regional Manager, NOAA RI Office of Exploration and Research

11:30 am
Scientific Diving: A Window into the Underwater World
Anya Watson, MS URI Diving Safety Office

12:00 pm
See a Spout Watch Out! Whale Watching Responsibility in the Northeast
Allison Rosner, MEM Marine Mammal Specialist, NOAA Gloucester, MA

Fort Adams Trust
Robert McCormack Director of Visitor Services, Fort Adams

11:30 am
What Can We Expect from an Ice-Free Arctic Ocean?
Brice Loose, PhD Assistant Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:00 pm
Talking Trash: Marine Pollution
Rainer Lohmann, PhD Associate Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:30 pm
Saving the Right Whale: NOAA’s Efforts to Reduce Harm from Ship Strikes
Mike Asaro, MS Northeast Ship Strike Coordinator, NOAA Gloucester, MA

11:30 am
Admiralty Law for Sailors
Dennis Nixon, JD, MMA Associate Dean for Research and Administration, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:00 pm
Sailors for the Sea
Dan Pingaro CEO and Executive Director, Sailors for the Sea

12:30 pm
The URI Inner Space Center and the Future of Ocean Exploration
Dwight Coleman, PhD Director, Inner Space Center, URI Graduate School of Oceanography