URI Graduate School of Oceanography exhibits to be featured at America’s Cup World Series, June 23-July 1

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – May 24, 2012 – When the America’s Cup World Series sailing races come to Narragansett Bay in late June, spectators and sailors will have the opportunity to learn how oceanographic research relates to sailboat racing through a series of exhibits and presentations hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

GSO is the lead exhibitor in the event’s Exploration Zone, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23-26 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 27-July 1 in the America’s Cup Village at Fort Adams, Newport.

“We’re looking forward to demonstrating the expertise of our scientists and students with a wide variety of interactive displays about Narragansett Bay, the ocean and the atmosphere and how it all ties in to the world of sailing,” said Dennis Nixon, associate dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. “This is the most exciting sailboat racing you’ll ever see, and we look forward to meeting race fans and sharing our informative exhibits with them.”

Coordinated by GSO student Lauren Killea, the exhibits will include:

– What’s In A Drop Of Bay Water?, where visitors can use microscopes to observe the tiny organisms living in the bay;

– A 10-foot aquarium filled with dozens of live animals representing the Narragansett Bay ecosystem;

– A SODAR sonic wind profiler, which measures wind speeds and wind turbulence at varying heights above the surface;

– Oceanographic research equipment, like deep sea cameras, plankton nets, remotely operated vehicle arms, and other tools of the trade; and

– Displays about Gulf Stream currents, chemical pollutants in the ocean, seaweed, the affect of low-oxygen levels in the Bay, and many more.

In addition, GSO scientists will present short talks each day between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on such topics as ocean exploration, robots in the ocean, nautical charts, microscopic predators, hurricane forecasting, changing fish populations in the bay, scientific diving, the law of recreational boating, water circulation in the bay, and other topics.

“This kind of opportunity doesn’t come around for us very often, where thousands of people with an interest in sailing and the sea will be visiting almost in our backyard, so we can’t wait to share our resources and expertise with an audience we know will appreciate it,” said Nixon.

The GSO exhibits are funded in part by the 11th Hour Racing, which aims to use sailboat racing to educate the public about the marine environment and the responsible use of natural resources.

For more information about the GSO exhibits, contact Killea at lkillea@my.uri.edu or 401-874-6820. For details about the America’s Cup World Series, visit www.americascup.com/en/Events/2011-2012-world-series.