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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Caribbean > Caribbean Islands
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  #11  
Old 10-24-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Copacabana- Thank you for the kind welcome!
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  #12  
Old 10-24-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Lauren,

I checked out the project site earlier today when I first saw this post. As a NIH funded investigator myself, it looks like you have a great research project with world-class arachnid scientists leading the project. You will have to forgive the members of this forum if they are not initially warm to your proposal, you would not believe some of the outrageous things that are proposed on here by new members (as well as some of the old members).

I applaud your efforts to crowd source, reaching out to the sailing community for assistance with transportation around the Caribbean. It makes sense for a few reasons:

1. It is economical. You have to stretch a grant razor thin to investigate your specific aims in the time allotted.
2. It is an ecologically friendly mode of transportation for your research project
3. How about learning to sail as education outreach? How freaking fun is that for you and your team?

So, I get it and I hope the forum members that sail in the area that you need to go do as well. I would love to help you out, but unless you want to study arachnids in the middle of the US, I can't help. Although my boat has a plethora of diverse representative samples to offer

A couple of questions and suggestions. How are you offering compensation? Are you paying from the grant? If so, Donna's suggestion is right. The OMB would probably be more accepting if the boat has a licensed captain aboard. For your safety, this would be a safer bet as well. You might want to look into companies that charter sailboats in each area as well.

Good luck on your research!
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  #13  
Old 10-24-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Itsaboat!

Great to get some positive feedback from another researcher! Thank you! We will most certainly take your suggestions to heart.
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  #14  
Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaribBiology View Post
This is a little on the technical side but briefly outlines the goals and objectives of the project.

"...A mega-transect across one of the world's most biologically rich archipelagos will transform knowledge of the history of the Caribbean. Many new scientists will be trained -- the project will recruit and train young diversity specialists at multiple institutions, with the central focus at the University of Puerto Rico. These biologists will be trained in the importance of educating the public about biodiversity. The work will generate rich resources for further biodiversity research by making species data, phylogenies, range maps, specimen photographs, databases, and DNA sample data publicly available through the internet and museum depositories."
I'm sure learning about biodiversity will be very interesting for some, but what "practical" purpose with this "study" serve?
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Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I'm sure learning about biodiversity will be very interesting for some, but what "practical" purpose with this "study" serve?
Doubt you'll get an answer. I simply asked what the funding was being spent on, particularly since they're looking for free transport, and got radio silence.

Since the project is publicly funded, with our money, you'd expect an answer though.

A little background. My father-in-law was the head of an Ivy League University's physics department. He died several years ago. As a child, my wife spent winters in St. Moritz and summers in St. Thomas, all funded by her Father's research!!

The answer is not to cut programs, its simply to cut wasteful spending.
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  #16  
Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Hi CaribBiology, I too applaud your efforts, and your idea of linking with the cruising community. Looks like a fascinating research project.

I Wish I could offer our boat, but we're up here on the Great Lakes for another season before heading south. Good luck with the search, and if you know of any researchers needing a floating base up our way, pass on my contacts. It's a great idea...
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Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Did I misread, or did someone really find 60 caribbean islands where they also expect to find fossils of arachnids?

I'm not really up on carib geography but didn't think there was a strong fossil record on what are often coral islands. And that spiders didn't fossilize too well in those circumstances. I know, arachnids is more than spiders but still...I'd have expected that a rather long search would be necessary in most of those locales, simply to find relevant fossils from each island. Or are they really that common?
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Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaribBiology View Post
I am the Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on the project, currently at the University of California at Berkeley, and am generally in charge of everything that the Professors don't feel like doing..
This quote sure sounds legit.

As far as the question some have asked about what is the purpose of the study that is the cool thing about science. There doesn't have to be a purpose. The very fact that someone woke up one morning and had an idea that:
1. There are a lot of islands reasonably close by each other.
2. Spiders have a relatively short life cycle so spiders that get cut off from the big island may evolve in interesting ways rather quickly.
3. No one has studied this before.
4. Lets do it we might find out something interesting.

That alone is worth it as the more we expand our understanding of our world the better able we are to take care of ourselves and the planet.
Donald Rumsfeld said something like:
We have known, knowns and
known, unknowns but the most dangerous are
unknown, unknowns.
That is the purpose of pure science research.

I suspect that is the reason many of us are on sailnet.
We are looking the the unknown, unknowns.
Things we don't even have a clue about that might bite us, but if we read it here first we can be prepared.

Mr. Carib
As you probably know on an open forum like this everyone is free to express their opinions. We all waste our own money in someones opinion sometime even our own. We all have opinions on how the government should spend our money too.

My advice to you is to keep this thread going and continue to answer questions and keep it going that way you will maximize the number of people that will see the thread and maybe you can find a willing ride to two.
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Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

On the one hand, they're spiders (SPLAT!) and useless and it is all a waste of money.

On the other hand, let's suppose one of those odd spiders has silk twice as strong as any other. Spidersilk, yes, it is already being studied as a structural material which could revolutionize a couple of industries.

That's all it takes to turn a complete waste of time and money into a really great idea, isn't it?

Although, personally, I'd write the grant proposal to include A BOAT which could then carry out a proper tour, stopping when, where, and as needed to get the job done properly instead of relying on cribbing random rides subject to other priorities. And yes, a stipend for one or two crew, with the "scientists" being used as the main crew labor pool.

Surely SOME alumni is willing to donate a boat to one of those prestigious institutions, just getting the alumni associations to send out some requests might snag the boat for free. (Funds still needed to prep it.)
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Old 10-26-2012
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Re: Host a Scientific Expedition!

Just to be clear, I am not opposed to scientific research. I have scientists all around me, including my kids. My Father-in-law was a world renowned physicist.

But those that haven't seen inside the system, may be shocked at how your money is actually spent. Grants can be as political as anything on this planet. Sure, we need to do research. We need to draw the line on the budget somewhere, otherwise, logic above would justify every penny from the treasury in the name of research.

I ask about what the money is being spent on, because its entirely possible that the grant does include transportation. When they can figure out how to get funded pieces for free, the money may not be spent as honestly as you may like to believe. I'm not accusing them, I just asked the question.
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