University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


'S-A-S’sing it up in the Gulf

Enjoy a montage of snapshots from the recent SAS cruise. Visit the link at the bottom of the story to see even more snaps from the field.

Three members of our CMS community recently participated in the NSF-funded “Scientists at Sea” program led by Eckerd College. Great work, Steve Murawski, Sherryl Gilbert, and Kylee Rullo!

This program offers Eckerd undergrads the unique opportunity to participate in a signature research cruise that not only exposes them to cruise-based field science but helps continue research efforts in the response to the historic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The CMS led the 10-year international research effort in response to the spill via its C-IMAGE program.

This year’s cruise took place May 22 – June 2, 2023 and transited to the northern Gulf of Mexico aboard the R/V Weatherbird II. The CMS team participated in legs 2 and 3.

The seas were not always calm – as you’ll see in the video -- but spirits remained high.

“For as much as we think we know about the oceans and their inhabitants, experiences like these continue to provide new surprises and insights.  For the undergraduates to experience the sense of discovery and scale involved in big ocean research expeditions provides valuable lessons that will last a lifetime.” - Steven Murawski, Fisheries Scientist

"This program is so much fun to be involved in because you get to watch the undergraduate students become more confident scientists throughout the cruise. The students get hands-on participation in field work where nothing (especially the weather) ever goes exactly according to plan, but that’s all part of the real research experience!" - Kylee Rullo, Graduate Student

“After the C-IMAGE program ended, we anticipated that our 10-year post-Deepwater Horizon time series would end. We are so grateful to Eckerd College for allowing us to continue monitoring the northern Gulf of Mexico while engaging a new generation of researchers in the interdisciplinary nature of marine science. And seeing them rethink their definition of a ‘cruise’!"  - Sherryl Gilbert, Program Manager, COMIT

Students in the SAS program will present their findings to their peers at the annual SAS Symposium to be held in December of 2023. In addition to USF, partners in Eckerd College’s program include FIO, USGS, and Tampa Baywatch.

To learn more about the program, visit:

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.