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Movin’ to the Motion in the Ocean

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Post by:  Heather Bracken-Grissom

Hi everyone!  My name is Heather Bracken-Grissom and I am an Associate Professor at Florida International University.  My lab studies crustacean systematics and genomics, but today I want to talk about life at sea.  Ever wonder if we get a little stir-crazy living on a research vessel in very tight corridors?  Well, the answer is YES, so we need to be creative in the ways we get our bodies moving.  Not only do we find creative ways to exercise on the ship, we also need to work off ALL the delicious food (and goodies) Chef Michael is cooking up for us every day!  Exhibit A below J


Photo:  Chef Michael and lunch options! (Photo:  HBG)

 So today, I want to introduce you to some of the ways we integrate exercise into our daily routine.   The ship is small, but the view is fantastic, so many of us take long walks around the upper deck.  Integrate stairs into the mix for a little added challenge!  Don’t be surprised to see a pod of dolphins or a sperm whale off the bow. 




Heather J and April C. walking the 01 deck loop (Photo:  HBG)

If you want to add a bit of cardio for those days we eat not 1, not 2, but 3 desserts (because breakfast, lunch and dinner dessert is a thing on this cruise), feel free to join me on the upper deck for a “Cardio Circuit” fitness class.  This is only possible on days when the waves are not 5 to 7 ft and ideally flat and calm.    



Heather BG in the middle of her cardio circuit (Photo:  HJ)

If you can handle the heat (literally the room is about 90 degrees) the spin bike is always an option!  This is a true luxury, as most research vessels are NOT equipped with these.  The space is cramped, but WORTH IT. 


 Kevin biking away (Photo:  HJ)

Lastly, we do get “some” exercise while we sample the amazing creatures of the deep sea.  This is Danté and Tracey pulling in the large MOC10 nets we use to collect our critters.  Believe me, this is no easy task.  Those nets are heavy and will get your heart-a-pumpin!


 Tracey and Dante with their daily upper body workout (Photo:  HJ)

So, as you will see we can still get movin’ to the motion of the ocean and stay in shape, even at sea!

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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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Guest Wednesday, 19 June 2024