BATON ROUGE – LSU Department of Geology student Jennifer Kenyon (’16) will set sail on an oceanographic research vessel across the Atlantic Ocean to investigate one of today’s foremost scientiﬁc challenges: global climate change. As part of a selective 12-week study abroad program, Kenyon and her classmates in the SEA Semester: Oceans & Climate program, will become working crew members of an 134-foot research vessel, the SSV Corwith Cramer and will use advanced oceanographic instruments to research diverse marine ecosystems as they sail from the Canary Islands to St. Croix from Nov. 14 to Dec. 23. They will examine first-hand the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and climate dynamics in order to apply their knowledge to pressing public policy questions.
“This program has shown me the importance of interacting with the public and more specifically, policy makers, in order to protect our planet. Before I believed that one person alone couldn't really make a difference, but after interacting with influential scientists. I have learned that individual effort can go a long way,” Kenyon said.
The ship’s ports of call form a unique lens for delving into climate science and policy. The class will examine approaches employed by the Canary Islands, which is harnessing abundant renewable resources in innovative hydro-wind energy systems that dramatically reduce reliance on fossil fuels. They will then compare such strategies to those used by small Caribbean islands moving toward sustainable development, ecological conservation and proactive coastal zone management.
Prior to the six-week voyage, Kenyon and her classmates from universities around the U.S. spent six weeks engaged in intensive scientific and policy coursework in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Mass. With ocean science and policy experts including SEA Semester faculty, they tackled complex questions on climate, sustainability, policy and designed their own research projects that will be conducted at sea. Their study topics include public health issues exacerbated by climate warming, precipitation patterns and its impact on freshwater availability, strategies for coastal disaster resilience, ﬁsheries changes linked to changing ocean temperatures and the use of Marine Protected Areas to aid struggling ocean ecosystems.
“It’s great being in a program where all of the students who are admitted are as passionate about science and the environment as I am,” she said.
Track the six-week voyage from Nov. 14 to Dec. 23 on the SEA Currents blog. SEA Semester is accredited through Boston University and run by Sea Education Association on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Mass.
Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations