This project will support NSF funded research programs by providing a safe, efficient, and economical platform for studies conducted in the Laurentian Great Lakes. This is a five-year cooperative agreement, and in CY2005, 25 days out of 68 will be used to support NSF sponsored research for two different awards. For each year of the cooperative agreement, funding is dependent upon the number of days at sea in support of NSF research, and budgets are renegotiated. The intellectual merit of the research programs being supported on the Blue Heron has been determined by the science programs. The Blue Heron will serve as the platform to support these projects. Although the Great Lakes dominate the northern boundary of the United States and constitute 20% of the world's freshwater, our understanding of these water bodies is limited. The work envisioned in the programs supported on this ship will increase understanding of natural processes in the Great Lakes.<br/><br/>Broader Impacts <br/>In addition to facilitating research projects on the Great Lakes, the Blue Heron has numerous teaching and class cruises during the year, enabling undergraduate and graduate students to participate in work on a research vessel with equipment typically used on larger, ocean-going research vessels. One of the programs on the Blue Heron will cooperate with the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College while sampling, thereby involving the Native American community and community college students in the research.
Ship Operations, R/V Blue Heron