Marine explorer Robert Ballard to host free live broadcasts

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Public can watch at URI; teachers, students can participate at school

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – February 15, 2007 – Rhode Islanders interested in following along with marine explorer Robert Ballard as his research team investigates the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico are invited to view live broadcasts of the expedition March 5-9.

Sponsored by Immersion Presents and the Office of Marine Programs at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, the public can view the broadcasts free at the Coastal Institute Auditorium at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus, while teachers and students in the state can view the broadcasts in their schools via Internet2 teleconferencing technology.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the unique biological and geological features 115 miles off the Texas coast, and to experience the day to day progress of an important oceanographic research expedition,” said Maryann Scholl, project manager at the Office of Marine Programs. “The expedition may reveal details of human habitation on ancient shorelines thousands of years ago when sea level was much lower due to the Ice Age.”

Six 50-minute programs will be broadcast each day beginning at 10:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:50 p.m., 1:50 p.m., 2:50 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. Each program includes a 10-minute introduction, a 30-minute broadcast from the expedition site, and a 10-minute question and answer session. (Note: The 10:50 a.m. program on March 6 and 8 are closed to the public, and the 12:50 p.m. broadcasts each day are taped due to impacts from the sun on the satellite signal.)

Teachers who register for the broadcasts may download educational materials, including an expedition overview, interviews with the researchers, and eight hands-on activities. Their students will have the unique opportunity of sending questions to the research team and having them answered during the broadcast. To participate, teachers must first join in one of four orientation videoconferences on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.

The public is not required to pre-register for the broadcasts at URI.

For more information and to download expedition materials, visit To register for the videoconference orientation and in-school live broadcasts, contact Maryann Scholl at the URI Office of Marine Programs at or 401-874-6211.