Post by CIMAGE Teacher- Mary St. Denis

It’s Saturday May 11th 2013, C-IMAGE scientists and educators are getting ready to head out to sea early Tuesday morning. We will be heading to the northern Gulf of Mexico to monitor the health and recovery of the plankton community as well as the general marine ecosystem and collect sediment samples between the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and several locations offshore of the Alabama and Florida coast. Take a virtual tour of the research vessel

Weatherbird II awaiting its crew for the C-IMAGE May 2013 voyage

Take a virtual tour of the Weatherbird II research vessel

Waiting to head out to sea

For researchers an expedition may be exciting or just another day at the office, but for me as the teacher accompanying the expedition it is an exciting countdown to an adventure. Many people don’t realize that science teachers are scientists too, sometimes even the teachers do not realize it. We do not get many chances to get out in the field and do science and that is a dream spot for many, many teachers like myself.

C-IMAGE Teacher at Sea: Mary St. Denis from Winter Haven High School in Polk County, FL. This is her first science expedition at sea.

Our mission

… to continue assessing the impact of BP Oil on Florida’s continental shelf ecosystems by comparing areas not impacted by oil (west Florida shelf) to areas impacted by oil (north Florida shelf)

We will be investigating the impacts of the blowout by focusing on the base of the food web, plankton and the bottom of the sea floor by collecting samples of the sediments at a variety of depths. Researchers from the College of Marine Science (USF) and RSMAS/University of Miami will assess the impact of oil on Florida marine ecosystems by comparing non-impacted west Florida shelf and impacted north Florida shelf sites.

Map of locations where we will collect plankton and sediment samples

Join us during the cruise

Please check in regularly to learn about the science that is happening aboard this research cruise.  Mary St. Denis would also love to Skype with classrooms to help bring these exciting adventures directly to you!

 If your classroom or group would like to participate in a LIVE video conference via Skype during our expedition, please contact Teresa Greely at for details.