A famous quote by the late Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, world class educator and civic leader, says “Life is just a minute only sixty seconds in it, forced upon you, can’t refuse it. Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it, but it’s up to you to use it. You must suffer if you lose it, give an account if you abuse it, just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”
I can truly say I have been a true champion with my 248 hours of sea time! I am quite proud of myself and this achievement will be the highlight of my life for years to come. As I reflect I must do so with appreciation and gratefulness for such an opportunity.
The environmental changes that take place in the ocean are real and this cruise collected data to help us understand the effects. Effects such as hypoxia, or reduced dissolving oxygen, acidification due to the increase pCO2 levels and low pH, and also ocean warming of 1°C, are issues we must address.
I was glad I was on the Shelf Team, the team that used the ROV as the medium in which to assess these issues. The ROV allowed us, at times, to see what’s going on and what to expect. By no means is this information conclusive, as we only looked at summer conditions, but it is a guide as to where and what we should look at.
The intensity with which the ROV team worked was, well, INTENSE! The research technicians worked just as hard as the ROV team. What better way to learn what is common and what is not, then by actually studying it? Being on the team made an impact on my understanding of marine ecology and marine animal behavior. Mike Navarro is an outstanding graduate student mentor. There was nothing I couldn’t learn from him and nothing he was not willing to teach me.
At times we had to trawl at the bottom of the ocean which was a learning experience. The trawl captured some valuable information as to how the marine organism’s habitat changes with depth.
I met some amazing people. Faculty, graduate students, crew members, and other undergraduates I will work with in the future. They were very patient and very persistent. They enriched and enhanced my skill set by letting me work on many of their different projects. They even challenged me to broaden my perspective and to step outside my comfort zone.
The San Diego Coastal Expedition was a fun and memorable experience and I look forward to many more oceanographic ventures this summer!
-- Jesse Andrews, Morehouse College undergraduate student