About the R/V Sea Explorer

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The 65-foot R/V Sea Explorer is a marine educational vessel that is dedicated to science-based environmental education. It is a floating lab equipped with onboard computers, satellite technology, touch tanks, viewing aquariums, video microscopes, and state-of-the-art electronics. A bowsprit over the water provides any passenger with a breathtaking view of dolphins, whales and sea lions.

Research conducted aboard the vessel is integrated into our curriculum. There is no more in-depth and poignant learning opportunity for students than to participate in authentic statewide research collaborations such as the projects we have with the California Department of Public Health and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

These include:

A phytoplankton productivity project headed by Scripps Institution of Oceanography where we collect water samples off Dana Point that are processed and sent to Scripps for analysis. Chlorophyll in the water reflects the total mass of phytoplankton (drifting plants). These plants are at the bottom of the food chain and their accurate measurement corresponds with the health of all animals in the area.

Work with the California Department of Public Health monitoring blooms of plankton that might be dangerous to human populations. Certain plankton produce a biotoxin that can be fatal to birds and sea lions if ingested in large concentrations.