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Participants in the Sikuliaq Science Workshop in Marinette look at the hull of the Sikuliaq. Photo by Lori Nunemann.

Sikuliaq Science Workshops-- Wisconsin, May 2011

UAF researchers eye Sikuliaq science possibilities (news story, 5/17/11)

Fairbanks, ALASKA-- Sam VanLaningham can't wait to take the Sikuliaq for a spin. {read more}

About 40 scientists and agency representatives gathered in Marinette, Wisconsin for an early briefing on the science capabilities of the University of Alaska Fairbanks research vessel Sikuliaq on May 10-11, 2011. Participants included representatives from the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and many universities from around the United States. The ship, which is being constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, will be 261 feet long and the most capable academic vessel in the U.S. fleet.

Scientists attending the workshop discussed the science that will be done using the ship. The visiting scientists also toured full-scale models of parts of the ship, including mock-ups of several laboratories, the bridge and a control room. Members of the Sikuliaq project office were there to answer questions about the vessel.

As information about the Sikuliaq and its capabilities was presented, participants asked questions that ranged from how much space was available in the labs, to the ease of access of incubators, to temperature in various labs.  Participants also mentioned difficulties they had on other vessels and asked if anything in the Sikuliaq’s design had been modified to prevent the same difficulties.

“This meeting was designed with two objectives: to acquaint the science community with the capabilities of the Sikuliaq, and for scientists to discuss among themselves possible research that would be conducted on the ship,” said Terry Whitledge, professor of oceanography and the ship project’s principal investigator.

Several participants presented ways in which they felt the Sikuliaq would be beneficial in their field of research, which generated more discussions that included possible opportunities for collaboration.  Discussions flowed throughout the workshop, evolving as more information about the Sikuliaq and its capabilities were provided.

The first proposals to include ship time for the Sikuliaq will be submitted through the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences by August 15, 2011 and through the Office of Polar Programs by October 18, 2011. 

Another workshop is being planned for February 2012 in Salt Lake City.