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Ocean Sciences Chief Scientist Workshop Honolulu, Hawaii UNOLS February 23, 2014

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Ocean Sciences Chief Scientist Workshop Honolulu, Hawaii UNOLS February 23, 2014. Speakers Contact Info. Jon Alberts - UNOLS Office Univ. of Rhode Island/Grad. School of Oceanography Web: ; E-mail: URI Office: 401.874.6824 Clare Reimers

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Ocean Sciences Chief Scientist Workshop

Honolulu, Hawaii


February 23, 2014

speakers contact info
Speakers Contact Info
  • Jon Alberts- UNOLS Office

Univ. of Rhode Island/Grad. School of Oceanography

Web:; E-mail:

URI Office: 401.874.6824

  • Clare Reimers

Oregon State University/College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences


OSU Office: 541.737.2426

why this forum
Why this forum?

Most Early Career Scientists who have taken part in one or more oceanographic research cruise are not aware of the phases of pre-cruise science and logistics planning and post-cruise reporting that lead to a successful expedition.

This awareness will help you formulate compelling research proposals and accomplish your objectives.




FINAL cruise report DUE




Award notification

Expedition activities

Pre-cruise phone call / meeting vehicle requirements

Post-cruise assessment

(for NSF)

preliminary cruise report is due for activities in foreign waters






Identify essential equip. and facilities

Proposal planning

build science team

“budget reality check”

Special planning considerations

Cruise planning activities/instrument testing

NDSF debrief


for info to operator

Packing/ final prep. activities





~5 months before cruise

~3 months before cruise

2 years after expedition

data due per agency guide-lines

~1 month before cruise

~6 months before cruise

1 month after cruise

~5-6 months after proposal submission

~2 months after cruise

All planning activities should begin ~4 months before proposal submission

~ 18-24 months before 1st proposed cruise (RAPID proposals excepted)

proposal planning show that you will make good use of the capabilities of a research vessel
Proposal Planning: Show that you will make good use of the capabilities of a Research Vessel
  • Does your science question require collection of field data to answer the question?
  • Is there existing data which could be used that wouldn’t require ship time?
  • Is your field plan novel? feasible? cost-effective?
  • Are there other cruises already planned in the geographic area?
  • Can this be a collaborative expedition?
  • Can the field research be done as an ancillary project (+ days)?

Understanding ship scheduling and coordination of expeditions across ocean basins

  • Know the organization which is responsible for ship scheduling realizing there are different models.
  • Single ship organization versus consortium, versus government entity which plans an expedition.
  • Single PI’s or a Community Planned approach to expedition planning.
  • UNOLS Model- Consortium of ship operators which work together with funding agencies representatives. With a central point of contact to facilitate communications.
  • Other Models- Sharing of ship time across national and international operators. Ocean Facilities Exchange Group (OFEG) Model

Ship Request- making sure you are on the right platform

Does ship have the Shipboard Instrumentation- Sonars, flow-through seawater, data acquisition systems, deck space, deck load capacity, lab space, bunk space, to do your cruise?

Is the ship the right “size” for your work?

Don’t need a global ship to work in coastal zone. Don’t take a small ship into the North Pacific in mid winter.

Does the operator provide marine technicians familiar with the operations you want to conduct?


Presenting a Preliminary Cruise Plan in your Proposal

  • Where is your study area?
  • Is there a seasonal component that requires a specific time at sea?
  • How much time at sea is required? How many stations?
  • Is there flexibility in the direction that your cruise can be carried out, i.e. east to west or west to east?
  • Does your science program consider the availability of personnel or equipment (e.g., a piston corer or ROV)?
  • Do you have a back-up plan?

Heavy Weather

Does your cruise plan allow for the likelihood of days lost due to weather?


with Collaborators, Ship, Port Office, and Technical Support Personnel should start right after award notification

Establish lines of communication early to create a good flow of information

Document the pre-cruise planning exchange of information

Chief Scientists need to ensure all science party members needs are met.

develop your science team
Develop Your Science Team
  • What skills are needed for a cruise, over-the side operations, sample processing, data collection & processing?
  • What skills can the ship’s crews & technicians supply and have they agreed to help?
  • What education and outreach goals can you accomplish by inviting students, teachers, press?
  • Do you have enough people for round-the-clock operations including watch-standers and leaders?
  • Choose people who you can rely on to be team players and ask about sea-sickness and medical history.

Establish early what equipment you are bringing, what equipment is supplied by the ship, leased or borrowed, and how will it all be integrated.

Visit the vessel and hold a pre-cruise meeting with the operator.

leading your cruise
Leading your cruise
  • Communicate key objectives
  • Set priorities (stations, samples, ops)
  • Establish daily plans and a watch-schedule or operation chiefs
  • Have back-up plans
  • Keep tabs on your science party’s research needs, health, safety
  • Understand and respect chain of command

A Chief Scientist Can’t Ignore:

personnel issues, safety, medical, cultural understanding

  • Importance of establishing a friendly work environment while being prepared to handle any personnel conflicts which may arise.
  • Establish a Safety Awareness and Culture
  • Cross Training of personnel in the event a critical person becomes sea-sick
  • Understanding of any medical, physical, mental limitations in the science party as well as the crew.
  • Understanding and appreciating cultural differences
  • Gender make-up and berthing arrangements
  • Zero tolerance of drugs, alcohol, sexual harassment


  • Foreign Clearance reporting requirements
  • Post Cruise Reporting as directed by your funding agency and for the ship operators.
  • Data Dissemination
  • Shared Cruise Report