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Community College of Denver Faculty Selected to Set Sail on the Nautilus

CCD Biology Professor to Explore the Pacific Ocean with Dr. Robert Ballard

In the name of scientific exploration, Fleur Ferro, assistant professor of biology for Community College of Denver (CCD), sets sail November 8-19 aboard the 211-foot Exploration Vessel (EV) Nautilus to explore the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.

Ferro, selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, will join a diverse crew of 38 fellow scientists and educators to conduct expeditions to uncharted parts of the ocean to collect marine data and specimens. The E/V Nautilus is operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), a nonprofit founded by Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008, with a mission of oceanic study and exploration.

“Dr. Ballard is a mega celebrity in marine biology circles, probably best known for his discovery of RMS Titanic’s final resting place and as a National Geographic Explorer in Residence,” says Ferro. "Being a marine biologist in landlocked Colorado might not seem logical, but my passion is to bring this important part of our ecosystem to our students who are disconnected to it by virtue of geography.”

For her first expedition, Ferro will interact with audiences from all over the world on the ship’s international live video, audio and data feed, and post content to OET’s website in both English and Spanish.

“We will be live streaming the information we will be receiving on board from the ROVs (remotely controlled vehicles) that will be going to depths of up to 12,000 feet,” says Ferro.

Working alongside scientists from Harvard University and University of Rhode Island as they collect data about the geology and inhabitants of the sea floor, Ferro’s job on board provides a crucial role with OET’s joint goal of sharing the knowledge gained from their expeditions with scientists all over the world and bringing the excitement, knowledge and wonder of the ocean to wider audiences.

“The ocean is so mysterious,” she says. “I will be hosting multiple 20-minute ship to shore live interactions with students, scientists and educators. After I return, I will be creating learning sessions based on the data collected from the program to share with Community College of Denver students and faculty, and the Denver community at large.”

CCD will screen a live stream of Ferro aboard the Nautilus on various dates and times, including Wednesday, November 15th, at 12:30 p.m., to the CCD STEM Discovery science club. A live feed be available at www.nautiluslive.org at any time to see what’s happening aboard the Nautilus.

“The ocean is my happy place, even though I do get seasick,” laughs Feuro. “Even though we’ll be staying in small quarters and working long hours, having the chance to come together with great minds from all around the world in one place is an experience I am really looking forward to, and I can’t wait!”