Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Inviting Learners to the DEEPEND: A Team Approach to Successful Outreach and Education

Event Name/Location

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference / Tampa Bay, Florida

Presentation Date


Document Type

Commencement Program






The DEEPEND Consortium has taken a three-pronged approach to outreach during its 5-year tenure: 1) informal and formal science education (e.g., curriculum development, ‘virtual’ expeditions, educator training); 2) public outreach (e.g., aquarium, zoo, and natural history museum partnerships); and 3) shareholder outreach (e.g., presentations at fisheries management meetings, focused webinars, and scientific conferences). The multi-faceted approach allowed us to introduce DEEPEND research and discoveries to different types of audiences and age groups. Lessons we learned include the need for original imagery, publicizing the research, and the enthusiastic support and participation of science team members in outreach and education endeavors. An initial lesson learned was the importance of showing audiences something they have not seen before. In our case that involved craning a lab-van-turned-studio onto the bow of the ship for use by a dedicated and experienced photographer on every cruise. Photos and videos lead to the second lesson, make the images available as educational tools and promotional materials. Audiences formed important connections to the deep sea and the interest of editors was more likely to be piqued with exciting image accompanying the story. The third lesson was to share the research as broadly as possible. Incorporating multiple outlets at all levels to share the teams’ science proved particularly effective. The final lesson, all science team members are an essential and integral part of outreach and education. There was no shortage of ideas or DEEPEND Team Members willing to lead the charge for this important component of the DEEPEND mission. Their participation helped engage audiences and create a connection to the research, researchers, and ecosystem. Session discussion will focus on what we have learned through this endeavor, the lessons learned on our path to successful E/O initiatives, and how to engage a science team thoroughly at the outset.

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