URI Friends of Oceanography Lecture Sails in Search of Sperm Whales

Narragansett, R.I. — November 27, 2000 — Sarah Davidson, a URI Graduate School of Oceanography student, spent the past summer doing what anyone who ever wanted to be a marine scientist dreams about: She went to sea to study sperm whales. The public is invited to learn about her odyssey to the Pacific in a free lecture on “Sailing the Tropical Pacific in Search of Sperm Whales” on Tuesday, December 12, at noon in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

Davidson made a Pacific passage from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas Islands aboard a 94-foot sailboat called the Odyssey. The “Voyage of the Odyssey” is a 3-year program run by Ocean Alliance, a non-profit organization that collects genetics and toxicology samples and acoustic recordings from sperm whales globally. To learn more about the “Voyage of the Odyssey,” visit the PBS website at www.pbs.org/odyssey/.

“I was lucky enough to act as chief scientist on this first Pacific leg (36 days without sighting land), and we had a very successful trip in which we were able to sample almost 60 whales!” said Davidson.

Davidson, who lives in Narragansett, originally hails from Durango, Colorado, where she completed her undergraduate degree at Colorado College. Under the guidance of major professor Saran Twombly, she is studying biological oceanography and working on several projects, including modeling the endangered population of Northern Right Whales and studying copepod life histories.

Established in 1985 to support and promote the activities of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Friends of Oceanography informs and educates the membership and the general public about the scientific, technological, and environmental research that takes place at GSO. The organization sponsors public lectures, open houses, marine-related mini-courses, science cruises on Narragansett Bay, and an annual auction. The Friends office is located in the Coastal Institute building on URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus. For information about Friends of Oceanography, call 874-6602.

Visit the URI Graduate School of Oceanography website:www.gso.uri.edu Contact: Lisa Cugini, 874-6642, lcugini@gso.uri.edu