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 Across the Channel Investigating Diel Dynamics

A Journey of Art and Science in the Santa Barbara Channel




This whole mess started as a sud-soaked conversation with Dustin at some forgotten San Luis Obispo bar after a gig at a donut shop. ‘What if?’ turned into ‘when,’ and soon this pipe dream grew out from the back of our minds into a collaborative $50,000 proposal with more friends added and many, many months of detailed planning. We set out to communicate aspects of the Santa Barbara Channel that hadn’t been studied before in rigor: namely the daily activities of plankton populations that historically have been sampled just once a month. We planned to sample them four times a day, every day.

In January 2017, our group of graduate students at UC Santa Barbara were awarded ship time through the UC Ship Funds program aboard R/V Sally Ride to plan and execute a scientific field survey in the Santa Barbara Channel from December 16-22, 2017. 

Our cruise aimed to address questions about diel biogeochemical links across trophic scales, from the surface ocean to the deep mesopelagic. We also received funding from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative to include 3 artists aboard (a musician, illustrator, videographer), with the goal of bringing oceanography to the public eye through the mediums of art, music, photography, writing, and film. Our ‘ship-to-shore’ engagements will include pre- and post-cruise K-12 activities, onboard ship operations to communicate with coastal and landlocked communities in creative ways, and post-cruise art exhibitions and science presentations in Santa Barbara. We thank the Associated Students Coastal Fund for their generous support in contributing to our post-cruise data processing. 



A short documentary and magazine created by Gad Girling, Dustin Hayes, and Celia Jacobs


Sister Schools

Across the country, from Maine to Ohio to California, we have connected with elementary, middle, and high school teachers at “sister schools.” These educators are interested in helping their students to engage with science, art, and technology, creating a proximal connection to the ocean despite the distance of some of these communities from the sea. Through the collaboration with these sister schools, we hope to establish a small network of educators and students around the country interested in bringing ocean science to their classrooms, with pathways to exchange resources and ideas about joining oceanography with their science, art, technology, and shop classes.

From Coast to Post


As part of out sister school outreach effort, we invited students to write us postcards with any questions they have for the artists and scientists aboard the Sally Ride. From Coast to Post is a little series of video answers for some of the questions from our K-12 friends back on land,



A collection of links detailing some of the work from our cruise


VC Star

San Diego Union Tribune

CBS Los Angeles

News Deeply

Pacific Standard

Popular Science

LA Daily News

Earth Research Institute—and-these-researchers-are-first-study-it

UCSB Current

Santa Barbara Independent

Hakai Magazine


Daily Breeze

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

National Academies Keck Futures


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