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Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2013


This report documents the internship of the author with Pangaea Explorations, a commercial sail research organization. The purpose of the internship was to create and assess the viability of a commercial citizen science sailing venture in the Great Lakes region of North America. An experimental expedition-planning model was first developed incorporating a citizen-science initiative. Eight individual expedition legs were designed for the vessel Sea Dragon to sail from Newport, Rhode Island to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then up the St. Lawrence River and through Lakes Ontario, Erie, St. Clair, Huron and Michigan. The last expedition leg returned Sea Dragon to the ocean, with a final destination of St. George’s, Bermuda. Each leg was tailored to a particular research interest and audience type. Individual research scientists were recruited to take part in the expedition to collect data and educate guest crewmembers. The expedition was designed and marketed as the One Water Story, with the goal of having local citizens sail and participate in the project. Thirty-five guest crewmembers paid to participate in the One Water Story Expedition. The crew conducted plastic pollution research with Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza and Dr. Sherri Mason, and studied chemical contamination of lake water with Dr. Paul Helm of the Ministry of Environment Ontario. Crewmembers also participated in a comparative study of nutrient and carbon dioxide levels in lake water for Dr. Laodong Guo of University Western Michigan. All crewmembers aboard Sea Dragon learned the protocols of the research, and participated in the collection of samples and data throughout the expedition as they learned to sail as part of the crew. Seven ‘One Water Festival’ outreach events were organized and implemented during the Great Lakes Expedition. The expedition received significant media attention, with Sea Dragon and her crew being featured in newspapers and blog articles, as well as local and national television and radio broadcasts. Although the expedition was not financially viable, the expedition was experimental in nature, and set the stage for future research expeditions and professional collaborations in the Great Lakes.


Department: MAF

MPS Track: CZM

Location: Pangaea Explorations

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