NEWS | Aug. 15, 2012

NRL-SSC Midshipmen Interns Gain Oceanographic and Survey Experience

By Donna McKinney

Two U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen completed summer internships under the Marine Geosciences Division at Naval Research Laboratory — Stennis Space Center (NRL-SSC).

During their time in Mississippi, Midshipman 1st Class Mckenzie Bowden and Midshipman 2nd Class Hunter Gaskins assisted in an oceanographic survey and experiment of the Atchafalaya Basin offshore of Louisiana. During the experiment, Bowden worked directly with the Fleet Survey Team and her USNA professor, Dr. Joe Smith, to collect single-beam bathymetric data while Gaskins worked aboard the R/V Pelican assisting Dr. Yoko Furukawa and others with sample collection - on occasion Gaskins found himself assisting Jenna Brown, a doctoral candidate at the Naval Post-Graduate School (NPS) in the deployment and recover of an unmanned underwater vehicle, an IVER2.

The interns and others in the survey team, including members from NRL-SSC, NPS and Louisiana State University, worked aboard the R/V Pelican. The team measured bathymetry and environmental data (such as salinity, temperature, current velocity and turbidity) and took sediment and water samples. All the environmental data collected will be used to better understand the unique coastal region. The Fleet Survey Team, led by Lt. Goosen, operated daily out of Fresh Water Bayou to collect bathymetric data.

Bowden and Gaskins interned under the guidance of Dr. Allen Reed of NRL's Seafloor Sciences Branch.