UC Davis may have an agricultural reputation, but a group of undergraduates have been diving into the waters of marine science as well. The UC Davis Oceanography Club, which began in fall of 2008, has been working to spread knowledge of the ocean throughout inland Davis and recruit more students interested in the field.
The club was first envisioned when a group of undergraduates met for a summer school session at UC Davis‘ own Bodega Marine Lab, said senior evolution ecology and biodiversity major Anna Brodsky.
“We felt we needed a club that addressed the ocean and the different jobs affiliated with it,” Brodsky said. “Davis lacked one, so we started [the club].“
With the club’s formation in the fall, members have hoped to spread knowledge of the ocean to the Davis community and shed light on some fields of study few realized UC Davis offered.
“Most of [the members] are pursuing a minor in oceanography in addition to their major at UC Davis,“ said Professor Tessa Hill, faculty advisor for the club and the oceanography minor. “The minor has existed for many years but we recently revised and revitalized it.”
UC Davis also offers a marine biology emphasis in the biological sciences major, Brodsky said. Students taking courses in the marine sciences have an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the marine environment by living in on-site housing at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab, Hill said.
While many of the club members have a major or minor that directly relates to oceanography, Brodsky said anyone who loves the ocean or simply wants to learn more about oceanography should join.
The club serves as both a social outlet for members with the same interests and a tool for community outreach. Group members have recently given presentations on beach erosion at Davis public schools and science fairs, said senior biological sciences major and club member Will Fennie.
In addition to informing the public on ocean-related issues, the club has also been setting up informal meetings between UC Davis marine scientists and students interested in the field, said Hill. These meetings serve to educate students on different job opportunities in oceanography.
“It turns out there are many faculty at Davis who are experts in marine environments, marine ecology and oceanography, even though we are two hours from the coast,” Hill said. “These meetings are a great chance for students to get to know their marine science professors a little better.“
The club is also planning several field trips which will be partially funded by the bake sale fundraisers they have hosted and donations they have taken at the Farmers Market.
These trips include beach clean-up efforts, surf trips and a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey Bay Research Institute pending a grant the club applied for.
The club members and faculty advisor say they feel that although Davis is inland, it is important for the general public to have an understanding of the ocean.
“Two-thirds of our planet is covered by water,“ Hill said. “The ocean is integrally linked to the earth’s climate system and provides habitat for a fascinating, diverse array of organisms.“
Members say the club is intended to be both fun and informative for members, and invite students who would like to participate to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMANDA HARDWICK can be reached at email@example.com.