On the High Seas

August 1, 2008

This spring, eleven undergraduates, four graduate students, and Duke Marine Lab director Cindy Van Dover set sail in the Florida Keys aboard the brigantine research vessel Corwith Cramer. Over three days, they planned to net zooplankton—which serves as a building block of the ocean food chain and helps balance water chemistry—in several locations of the broad channel between the Dry Tortugas and the Marquesas, studying the composition of each haul. Stormy seas ultimately limited the amount of data they could collect. "Most of the time, things don't work out in oceanographic research, so you always have backup plans," says Josh Osterberg, a graduate student in marine biology and the voyage's chief science officer. "We definitely need another cruise."

Chris Hildreth