NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows

Ruth Meadows examines specimens as part of her Teacher at Sea experience. NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows sorts specimens aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem (MAR-ECO) project.


Michael Vecchione/NOAA

In 2009, Ruth Meadows, a science teacher from Opelika Middle School in Opelika, AL was part of a team of international scientists that may have found a new species! Led by Mike Vecchione of the NOAA’s National Systematics Lab. Ruth spent 40 days aboard the NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow exploring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge as part of a project for the Census of Marine Life (featured in the Ocean Portal’s Deep Ocean Exploration story).

The group caught many unique specimens, including some that may prove to be new species. Detailed follow up studies ashore are needed to determine if the species are indeed previously undiscovered but at the very least, Ruth learned a tremendous amount about the deep ocean’s bathypelagic zone where organisms can be found in the water column at depths from 1,000 to 4,000 meters (3,280 to 13,123 feet), a major project focus of the Census of Marine Life / MAR-ECO cruise that Ruth was a part of. Read Ruth’s Ship logs to learn more about her amazing adventure!

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea Program gives teachers from kindergarten through college level a unique learning opportunity that they then bring back to their own classrooms. Under the tutelage of scientists and crew, the teachers work on NOAA research and survey ships gaining valuable first-hand experience of the work and life-styles of maritime research scientists.

Tags: New discoveries, NOAA, Research vessels, Surveys