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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Website launched to track oceanographic expeditions aboard URI's R/V Endeavor

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- May 10, 2006 -- Armchair explorers now have a simple way of learning about ongoing oceanographic research expeditions around the globe. The University of Rhode Island has launched a new website-- www.uri.edu/endeavor -- that tracks the exact whereabouts of the R/V Endeavor and provides regular updates about the work of the scientists onboard.

"The Endeavor is an ambassador for Rhode Island as it travels around the world," said Maryann Scholl, the research associate in URI's Office of Marine Programs who coordinated development of the website along with Senior Information Technologist Roy Bergstrom of URI's Information and Instructional Technology Services department. "Yet there are so many Rhode Islanders who don't realize that a ship based here at the Bay Campus is doing such important work."

The Endeavor is owned by the National Science Foundation and has been operated by URI's Graduate School of Oceanography for 30 years. It was built in 1975 and refitted in 1993. The ship is 185 feet in length, with a crew of 12 and accommodations for 17 research team members.

The website was created by a team of students in URI's Student Technology Assistants Program and with funding from the Rhode Island Endeavor Program, a state-supported initiative that provides Rhode Islanders with direct access to the scientific research and educational capabilities of the Endeavor.

The website provides a detailed map of exactly where the Endeavor is located at any given moment -- this week it's in the Black Sea off the coast of Ukraine on an expedition led by URI Professor Robert Ballard -- as well as detailed weather and oceanographic data updated every six hours. In addition, the website includes information about shipboard technology and instrumentation, the crew, and photographs from past expeditions.

Links from the site take visitors to more detailed information about the scientific objectives of current expeditions.

In addition, the website offers information about the Rhode Island Teacher-at-Sea program, which is funded by the Rhode Island Endeavor Program and allows schoolteachers from the Ocean State to become part of a scientific research team during a cruise aboard the Endeavor. Participating teachers write daily logs of their adventures that are posted to the site.

Kathleen Podraza, a science teacher at Kickemuit Middle School in Warren, returned May 4 from a research expedition aboard the Endeavor to the Sea of Crete, and her daily logs can be viewed on the website.

"As an educator emphasizing hands-on, project-based learning in the classroom, this expedition created an avenue for my own continued learning and became a valuable resource to be shared with colleagues and students in my school district," said Podraza. "Working side by side with geologists and oceanographers at the waters of ancient history was indeed a thrill."

In the future, links to educational resources related to particular expeditions will be added to the website.

For more information about the website, the Teacher-at-Sea program, or URI's Office of Marine Programs, contact Maryann Scholl at 401-874-6211.