URI Graduate School of Oceanography exhibits to be featured at Volvo Ocean Race, May 9-17

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – April 29, 2015 – When the Volvo Ocean Race, the premier offshore sailing race, stops in Newport next month, spectators and sailors will have the opportunity to learn about oceanography, climate change and ocean exploration through a series of exhibits and presentations hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.


Starting on May 9 and running through May 17, GSO will host six exhibits in the event’s Exploration Zone, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Race 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 together,” said Tom Miller, director of administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography. “This is an exciting sailboat race, and we look forward to meeting race fans and sharing our informative exhibits with them.”


Among the exhibits will be:


– “Life in Narragansett Bay: What’s In A Drop Of Bay Water,” an exhibit introducing visitors to the many beautiful and fascinating ocean plants and animals that are too small to notice with the naked eye – the plankton. Activities include looking at plankton collected from Narragansett Bay with microscopes, building model plankton, drawing plankton and learning about monitoring plankton in the bay.


– “Carbon, Oxygen and Our Breathing Ocean,” in which aquariums will be used to demonstrate the importance of the ocean in producing the oxygen we breathe and absorbing carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels. Visitors will also be able to participate in “respiration contests.”


– “Climate Change – Eyes on the Storm: Hurricanes and Society,” an exhibit that addresses recent hurricane disasters, exemplifying the need for education and awareness about these large tropical cyclones. Participants will learn about how hurricanes are forecast, how climate change is impacting these tropical systems, and why it is critical to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.


– “Climate Change and What You Can Do.” Participants will learn about the impacts of climate change, including coastal flooding and sea level rise, and what they can do.


– “Oceanographic Research, People and Platforms,” a series of videos and activities that will engage participants in learning about research equipment, vessels and the people that make oceanographic research happen.


– “Ocean Exploration.” Videos from URI’s Inner Space Center’s will illustrate various underwater marine research projects.


In addition, GSO scientists will present short talks each day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on such topics as ocean circulation, maritime law for yacht owners, nautical charts, ocean exploration, microscopic predators, recent advances in hurricane forecasting, impacts of offshore wind energy, changing fish populations in Narragansett Bay, scientific diving, 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 are ready to share our resources and expertise with an audience we know will appreciate it,” said Miller.