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Education & Outreach


Carthe_Drifter_072513Welcome to the CARTHE Education Page!!

CARTHE = Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment. We study ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico in hopes that we will be able to predict where oil or other toxins may go in the event of a future spill.

CARTHE’s outreach program disperses our scientific results to a wide audience and interactively engages students in geoscience, mathematics and computational research. Our outreach team synthesizes our Gulf of Mexico research into interesting, accessible, educational materials and activities. They also develop partnerships with schools, universities, government agencies, science centers and museums, allowing a wide audience to use our research to explore how science and mathematics are applied to solve practical environmental problems.

If you would like to get involved in CARTHE activities, please contact our Outreach Manager, Laura Bracken, at lbracken@rsmas.miami.edu.

Bay Drift Miami

  • A citizen science experiment conducted in Biscayne Bay near the city of Miami, focused on understanding the local ocean currents and how trash and other pollutants are transported within this important ecosystem.  Hundreds of people across Miami-Dade county will collaborate to design the experiment, make, release, and report the drift cards, and come up with solutions on how to reduce the debris found in the ocean and along our shores.  To get involved or for more information, please visit: BayDrift
  • Follow along or report a card via Intagram/Twitter using #BayDrift


K-12 Programs

  • CARTHE in the Classroom
    • CARTHE team members visit middle and high school classrooms to engage students in oil spill and ocean current research.  If you are interested in having a physical oceanographer visit your classroom, please contact us.
    • The Miami Science Museum’s Integrated Marine Program and College Training (IMPACT) is an Upward Bound program for underprivileged, first-generation, college bound students.  As part of the program, the CARTHE team teaches the students about physical oceanography and CARTHE research.
  • Designing drifters with CARTHE
    • CARTHE scientists use drifters to track the movement of ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico. Drifters are important pieces of equipment that float along with the ocean currents and provide data on their location and speed via GPS units. The more we know about the currents, the better prepared we will be to predict how oil or other toxins will move in the future.
    • High school students from several Florida schools worked with CARTHE scientists to design and build their own drifters.  Our scientists wanted to know how the currents, wind, and waves affect the movement of oil and other toxins.  These students were challenged to create new and improved drifters that can help scientists answer these tough but important questions.  To see where the students’ drifters went, please visit the SCOPE page.
    • If your class would like to work with us to design the next generation of surface ocean drifters, please contact us.

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Educational Resources

Online tools

  • CARTHE videos – check out our video library to learn more about our research.  We have technical tutorials, experiment recaps, and model animations.
    • For K12 audiences, make sure to check out BOB THE DRIFTER and Drones at the Beach, fun and educational videos, which were named finalists in the 2015 Ocean 180 Video Challenge! Both created by our friends at Waterlust.
    • New videos!
      • Drifting in the Gulf – The 2 year process of designing the CARTHE drifter
      • Motion of the Ocean – A summary of the diversity of equipment used in CARTHE’s field experiments to study the ocean.
  • Ocean Currents – a web-based ocean current reference site.  Each current has important links, summary text detailing velocity and hydrographic observations, and plots with average current speed and locations.
  • Oil Spill Simulations – CARTHE co-PI Bruce Lipphardt has developed a simple Oil Spill model so you can see what might happen in the event of an oil spill in various locations throughout the Gulf of Mexico.  Being able to predict where the spilled oil will go may help in clean up efforts, protecting the environment, the economy, and human health.  Test out our model and see where oil might go if it is spilled in different parts of the Gulf.
  • Blog – Keep up to date with our team as they prepare for, execute, and analyze results from some of the largest oceanographic experiments ever conducted.
    • GLAD Experiment – read about the journey of our scientists who deployed approximately 300 drifters in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012.
    • SCOPE Experiment – The 2013 coastal experiment featured special surfzone drifters, dye, balloons, and helicopters, click here: CARTHE blog.
    • LASER Experiment – In 2016, CARTHE deployed 1000 drifters, 8000 drift cards from 2 research vessels.  Understand what it is like to be out at sea with our scientists in this blog series.
    • SPLASH Experiment – This 2017 experiment connected the offshore research from GLAD & LASER with the coastal research from SCOPE. This blog series gives you a glimpse into this massive campaign across the shelf near Louisiana.


Lesson Plans


Professional Development Workshops

  • Piano Slam STEAM writing workshop  (October 2017, July 2017, November 2016, January 2015)
    • Hosted by the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation, these workshops prepare teachers to bring writing, specifically poetry, into art, music, and even science and math classes. CARTHE shares our research and the importance of writing skills in the scientific community.
  • Oil Spill Science Seminar: Technology & Deepwater Horizon by Sea Grant  (August 30, 2016)
    • A glimpse of the technologies that were either used during DWH oil spill or have come about as a result of it, including tours of University of Miami laboratories.
  • Science Visualization workshop  (September 23, 2015)
    • A partnership with Miami Dade County Public Schools and University of Miami School of Communications
    • Science and Graphic Arts teachers worked with CARTHE scientists and UM Visual Journalism professor to understand the criteria for making clear, informative, science graphics.
  • GLOBE workshop, a partnership with C-IMAGE (February 2013)
    • GLOBE is a worldwide, hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program, which promotes inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system.
    • The entire Science Department at Country Club Middle School became certified in the atmospheric protocols of the GLOBE Program.  This event was facilitated by C-IMAGE’s Dr. Teresa Greely, CARTHE’s Dr. Arthur Mariano, and Dr. Lisa Pitman, the GLOBE US Partner Director for the University of Miami.
  • SENSE IT workshops, a partnership with C-IMAGE (November 2013)
    • SENSE IT brings real world environmental sensor networks into the high school classroom. SENSE IT participating students are challenged to design, build, deploy and interpret data from their own environmental sensors.


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The CARTHE Art Project:  Print art, photography, and poetry, all inspired by CARTHE research.

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Community Lectures

Join us!  The CARTHE scientists are regularly sharing their research through interactive lectures.   They discuss the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ocean currents, and the long-term fate of the oil and its environmental consequences, highlighting the results of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.  We have presented at rotary clubs, fishing clubs, and various community events.  If you are interested in hosting or attending our lectures, please contact us.

  • BayDrift: Finding the solution to pollution
    • by Laura Bracken, at Nerd Nite Miami,  November 10, 2016
  • Trash Detectives: Understanding how marine debris moves in Biscayne Bay
    • Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Lecture series by Laura Bracken
    • November 11, 2016, Key Biscayne Community Center
  • Technology and Deepwater Horizon
    • Organized by the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program, featuring CARTHE PI Brian Haus.
    • August 30, 2016, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science | Miami, FL
  • Oil Spill Research
    • CARTHE director Tamay Ozgokmen presented our research to our neighbors at the Key Biscayne Rotary Club
    • June 3, 2016, Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Miami, FL
  • Go with the Flow: Studying Transport in the Ocean
    • A look at how currents can transport harmful algal blooms onto our beaches, how understanding currents can help oil spill response, and what tools scientists use to study these powerful pathways.
    • July 28, 2015 at the Moore Auditorium, Schoodic Education and Research Center, Winter Harbor, ME
  • Five Years Later, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – What Do We Know?
    • UM professors answer your questions with regard to, “What are the impacts of oil spills on the environment?”, “What have we learned over the past five years?” and “What mysteries still need to be solved?”
    • April 16, 2015, part of the 2015 Sea Secrets Lecture Series, University of Miami Rosenstiel School Auditorium, Miami FL
  • Waves
    • by Nathan Laxague, at Nerd Nite Miami, November 13, 2014
  • Shark Week: A Marine Consortium at the Museum of Discovery & Science
    • CARTHE’s Arthur Mariano and Laura Bracken are two of the invited speakers for this public event on Saturday & Sunday, August 9-10, 2014.  401 SW 2nd St.  Ft Lauderdale, FL
  • Oil Spills, Airplanes, Rubber Duckies: The challenges of predicting motion in the ocean
    • Science Cafe – an informal, lively conversation with scientists about an interesting topic.
    • July 28, 2014 at Deer Park Tavern, 108 W Main St, Newark, DE 19711
  • Motion of the Ocean: Studying Ocean Currents with a New Wave of Research
    • Science Cafe – an informal, lively conversation with scientists about an interesting topic.
    • April 29, 2014 at Organic Brewery, 290 N Broadwalk, Hollywood, FL 33019

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      Internships & Student Exchange

      Undergraduate and graduate students spent summer 2014 with some of the world’s best physical oceanographers and modelers through the CARTHE Internship and Student Exchange Program.


      • University of Miami undergraduate students worked alongside Dr. Shuyi Chen to learn high-level numerical computing and analyze data from the GLAD and SCOPE experiments.
        • Reed McDonough – a Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism major from Branchburg, NJ, worked to improve the accuracy of the UMCM-WMH wind speed forecasting model and examined influential air-sea fluxes.
        • Shane Hinton – a Meteorology major with minors in Mathematics and Electronic Media from Princeton, NC, worked on energetics of water cycle and air-sea fluxes in tropical cyclones.
      • Millersville University undergraduate student continued working with Drs. Bruce Lipphardt, Helga Huntley and Denny Kirwan from the University of Delaware on statistical analysis of GLAD drifter trajectories.
        • Nate Murry – an oceanography student who has been working with this group for a couple years on surface drifter data analysis.
      • Texas A&M University undergraduate student worked with Dr. Darek Bogucki on particulate characterization of GLAD data.
        • Jonathan Zikos – an environmental chemistry major with a minor in mathematics from Corpus Christi, TX.
      • University of Western Australia undergraduate student worked with CARTHE director Tamay Ozgokmen and Post-doctoral researcher Guillaume Novelli.
        • Josh Doolan – an honours student with the Centre for Water Research in Perth, Australia.


      • Various CARTHE graduate students traveled to other CARTHE institutions this summer to work with other CARTHE scientists in hopes of learning new skills, collaborating on research projects, and networking.

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      Photo Gallery

      Check out some of our stimulating outreach activities as well as the important research we are doing by going to our Photo Gallery.

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