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First GOM Exploration Teacher Workshop a Success!

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The first GOM Exploration Teacher Workshop (grades 6-12) through the DEEPEND Program was held Saturday, April 18th at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and was a great success!  Teachers joined us from Florida and Alabama for the day-long workshop and learned about DEEPEND projects, background content and classroom activities they can take back into their classrooms. Activities included exploring the dark with bioluminescence, exploring cephalopod and plankton taxonomy as well as practicing with DNA extraction methods!

They also received details about the first DEEPEND cruise that is scheduled for May 1- May 8th where they will be able to follow the DEEPEND crew as they begin their science adventures.  Teachers and their classes can follow along, ask the scientists questions, and receive feedback from the crew as the cruise progresses on the Point Sur, our vessel for this year which calls Gulfport, MS home.

I am thrilled that the first workshop went so well with only a few minor things to adjust for next year's workshop for grade 6-12 teachers which will be in Dania Beach, FL at the Nova Southeastern Oceanographic Center.  The group was enthusiastic and I was excited to share our upcoming experience with them all!  Out of this first group, 3 teachers will be selected to join us at-sea.  There is an application they submit, the DEEPEND team reviews the applications and will be announcing the teachers by May 2nd.  Stay tuned to hear who will be joining us!

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Dr. Heather Judkins is an associate professor in the Integrative Biology Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received a Bachelors degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, Masters degree in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University and her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on understanding the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cephalopods with a main focus currently in the Wider Caribbean. Her role in this project includes the identification of deep-sea cephalopods, examining genetic diversity, and analysis of cephalopod ecology and distribution in the water column.
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