By Robert Barossi
For a while, when I was in high school, I dreamed of becoming a marine biologist or oceanographer. Always fascinated by the ocean, it’s species and ecosystems, I imagined myself out on a boat in the middle of a great blue expanse of water, studying and learning about the seas that cover our planet. For one reason or another, I ended up not following that career path. My love for and fascination with the oceans never diminished, though, and now it looks like I could still get a chance to do some oceanography, as a volunteer. More accurately, I would be a citizen scientist, like the volunteers mentioned in this story, who are helping oceanographers study far-flung areas of the oceans. As the article mentions, the oceans are so vast, it’s nearly impossible for all areas to be studied and tested accurately, in a timely manner. So, citizen scientists, those who have boats of their own, are being given the chance to study the ocean and provide the professionals with the data they collect. These volunteer sailors will be provided with the proper equipment so that data can be collected, perhaps from previously unexamined regions of the ocean, filling in gaps in the currently available information. So, I might still have a chance to do some oceanographic work after all…I just need to figure out how to afford to buy a boat.