COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Early Career Coring Principal Investigator Training Cruise
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Collection and analysis of seafloor sediment samples is a fundamental tool in marine geology. Sediment sampling is key to the study of earthquake hazards, climate change, and the deep biosphere. This project will focus on training scientists for seafloor sampling best practices. Practices encompass planning and executing an oceanographic field expedition involving collection of deep-sea marine sediments. The shore-based training will introduce participants to critical aspects of cruise planning and site selection. Such selection uses basic geophysical techniques, access to data, and use of core repositories. Participants will design a science-driven cruise plan with guidance from an experienced team of mentors. Then, the participants will sail on a UNOLS global class vessel to gain hands-on experience. The experience includes working with site survey, sampling equipment, and shipboard data collection. The training will conclude ashore with a review of the scientific outcomes of the cruise. The post-cruise component will allow for hands-on training. The training will include analytical, interpretive and archival techniques. The training will set the stage for efficient and successful future research using the collected materials. Participant selection will focus on promoting equity and diversity in marine geoscience. In August of 2019 a detailed survey was conducted to quantify interest in early career coring training for prospective NSF principal investigators. Nearly a hundred responses were submitted in a period of less than two weeks, highlighting community need and demand for a training opportunity that encompasses cruise planning, site selection, shipboard operations, core processing and curation. This proposal is to provide a sediment coring principal investigator (PI) training for early career scientists (ECS). Training will consist of a coupled workshop and field program: a field-based coring program of ten days aboard a UNOLS vessel to be directed by the early-career participants, bracketed by week-long pre-and post-cruise workshops. In the pre-cruise workshop participants will plan the cruise and select sites to be cored with the support and guidance of a team of experienced mentors. They will be trained in the utility of legacy data at the Oregon State University Marine Geology Repository (OSU MGR). They will also be introduced to the NSF Marine Sediment Sampling (MARSSAM) facility and the technical and logistical support offered to NSF coring PI?s by MARSSAM staff. At sea, participants will be trained in the operation and deployment of various coring systems, chirp and multi-beam data acquisition and interpretation, final site selection, core processing, multi-sensor core logger data collection and interpretation, and shipboard core description and curation. At the post-cruise workshop, senior mentors will guide participants through interpretation of core descriptions, integration of collected cores and preliminary physical property data with the stratigraphic/depositional environment. Participants will also be introduced to relevant analytical techniques and appropriate archival, sampling and data management practices. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.