GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

by Claudio Paschoa 14. April 2014 06:50


The GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is one of the world’s leading institutes in the field of marine sciences. The institute investigates the chemical, physical, biological and geological processes of the seafloor, oceans and ocean margins and their interactions with the atmosphere. With this broad spectrum GEOMAR is unique in Germany. Additionally, the institute has successfully bridged the gap between basic and applied science in a number of research areas. The institute specializes in the interdisciplinary investigation of marine sciences, from sea floor geology to marine meteorology, with research efforts being conducted worldwide in all oceans and seas.

GEOMAR cooperates closely with the University of Kiel in the education of future marine scientists and also has cooperative programs with other universities around the world, and special programs for students and teachers aimed at stimulating interest in marine sciences at an early stage. In addition, GEOMAR contributes to the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" and the collaborative research center SFB754: "Climate-Biogeochemistry Interactions in the Tropical Ocean", funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG).

The institute operates four research vessels, along with state-of-the-art equipment such as the manned submersible JAGO, the ROVs KIEL6000, PHOCA and ABYSS as well as several major laboratories and has access to high-performance computing facilities. GEOMAR is among the three leading institutions in the field of marine sciences in Europe. Jointly with the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom and Ifremer in France, GEOMAR has established the “G3 group” of national marine research centers. It cooperates with a number of small companies active in marine technology and science, some of which were founded by former staff members of the institute. The institute is also active in a number of national and international committees and strategic alliances such as the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), the German Climate Consortium (DKK), the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation.

JAGO Submersible

Jago is a manned submersible primarily dedicated to exploration and research. It allows researchers of different disciplines a personal view on the seafloor to a depth of 400 meters. The submersible moves autonomously underwater, not being connected by an umbilical to a support ship. Two large hemispherical viewports provide excellent views of the seabed and surrounding environment for both the pilot and one observer. At 3 tons it is a relatively lightweight sub and the its compact size (3 x 2 x 2.5 m) enables worldwide operations from a wide variety of support ships with sufficient crane capacity, as well as logistically simple transportation in a single 20' container. Typical applications are deepwater exploration of the seafloor and water column; digital photo/video documentation; selective collection of specific organisms, rock, gas and water samples; deployment of instruments; environmental impact studies; inspections and salvages. JAGO is presently the only manned research submersible in Germany.



Deepwater Pipe IMR with AS Connector

by Claudio Paschoa 11. April 2014 08:09


AS Connector was founded in Bergen, Norway in 2000 to provided dedicated services and equipment for deepwater pipeline inspection. In the last 13 years the company has built up a proven track record in pipeline IMR, through the use of innovative technology solutions. It has been doing extensive pipeline work with Petrobras in Brazil since 2002, including comprehensive deepwater pipeline repair systems, installation, supply of deepwater rider protection, correction of pipeline freespans, using in-house developed tools and equipment.

One of their innovative equipment is a remote riser cleaning and inspection tool, the Riser Sovereign. This equipment was custom developed for Petrobras to clean and verify flex pipe integrity. The tool is self-propelled and operated similarly to a ROV. It is capable of attaching itself to riser and as it moves along a pipeline’s external surface it can remove marine growth and inspect the surfaces to provide detailed riser and pipe integrity data.

The company’s relationship with Petrobras is solid and they work closely with Brazil’s National Operator to develop new IMR tools for the Super-major’s sprawling deepwater pipelines and risers. Another AS Connector designed equipment is the lightweight pipeline lifting tool. This one-of-a-kind tool is compact enough to fit in a 10ft container for simplified transportation and has a relatively small deck fingerprint. The tools capacity to lift and shift large pipelines has been highly appreciated by Petrobras and both the two companies jointly developed procedures through which the tool has corrected hundreds of deepwater pipeline freespans all along the Brazilan offshore.AS Connector's Lifting Tool's allows a multitude of leg configurations whilst being lightweight and easy to handle. It is also foldable giving a very small footprint when not in use as mentioned before.

Another interesting equipment is the OD Cleaning Tool, which has a dual mode of operation on the outside of the pipeline that allows it to, remove pipe coating and also remove welding seams, thus guaranteeing a clean pipeline surface that allows for proper gripping and sealing conditions. There is no Brazilian company, which, at the moment, can offer the range of deepwater pipe IMR tools which AS connector has available and it may take another decade for one to appear in the market. Therefore it can be expected that AS Connector will maintain their priviledged position with Petrobras for the foreseeable future. Other than it's headquarters in Bergen, Norway, AS Connector also has a dedicated office and warehouse in the city of Macaé, in the Northeast coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is a hub for equipment going to the Campos and Santos Basins offshore Brazil.

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Subsea Technology

Bluefin-21 AUV

by Claudio Paschoa 4. April 2014 10:28


Bluefin Robotics’ Bluefin-21 is a highly modular AUV able to carry multiple sensors and comprehensive payloads, while at the same time boasting a high-energy capacity that enables extended operations even at the greatest depths. The Bluefin-21 was designed to operate from various ships of opportunity worldwide and has a software package that is flexible, robust, customizable and user-friendly, while also having advanced autonomy and behaviors. Bluefin’s next generation behavior control system provides a highly flexible system for accomplishing the goals specified in a mission plan.

This behavior control facilitates dynamic insertion, removal, and modification of mission elements during execution. This is a vital capability in the often uncertain and noisy environments that AUVs face. Behavior control is structured around behavioral capabilities, rather than low-level actions. For example, during mission planning the user simply specifies the region to be surveyed and the type of information required using our intuitive graphical Planner application. Mission plans are viewed as guidelines for execution. The mission is concisely represented in a plan file and sent to the AUV, which autonomously elaborates on the plan to have the right level of detail for execution and to be consistent with its capabilities.

Bluefin’s vehicle autonomy is designed to work robustly in the face of limited, intermittent or unreliable communications. This robustness is provided by two core mechanisms: a communications infrastructure and the mission plan representation used by its behavior control. The communications infrastructure provides different levels of reliability for messages, depending on their time criticality and frequency of transmission, and also appropriately filters those messages to fit the available bandwidth. At the same time, mission plans are designed to be compact and thereby easily communicated across bandwidth-limited, degraded, or noisy channels.

The Standard Payload Interface works in concert with all of the vehicle software systems as well as with the operator tool suite. Smart payloads can utilize raw or processed data streams from the core AUV to make decisions about what to do next, and communicate these decisions as requested modifications to the executing mission. The AUV processes and executes these changes using the behavior control system and other core software. While some customers use the Standard Payload Interface for their own payload development, others use it to interface Bluefin AUVs with third-party autonomy capabilities such as MOOS-IvP. Researchers have developed a MOOS module that interfaces with Bluefin’s Standard Payload Interface to provide core vehicle data to the MOOS system while also allowing MOOS to operate as a backseat driver by issuing heading, depth and speed commands to the core vehicle.

The vehicle design includes swappable payload sections and battery modules for in-field mission reconfiguration. Subsystems can be quickly accessed for rapid turnaround between missions and also allow for in-field maintenance, accelerating operational tempo. The Bluefin-21 is being used to try to locate the pinger from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 black box. The ocean in the search area is 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) to 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) deep.

Pictured above: The NRL Reliant autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), an advanced version of the Bluefin Robotics, Bluefin-21 vehicle, is the prototype for the new U.S. Navy Knifefish mine-hunter. The Reliant, shown here, outside New York City after completing a record setting endurance of 109 hours traveling nearly 315 miles. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Bluefin-21 Specification:

Diameter - 21 in (53 cm)

Length - 16.2 ft (493 cm)

Weight (Dry) - 1,650 lb (750 kg)

Buoyancy - ~ 16 lb (7.3 kg) net positive

Lift Points - 1 (located mid-vehicle)

Depth Rating - 14,763 ft (4,500 m)

Endurance - 25 hours @ 3 knots with standard payload

Speed - Up to 4.5 knots

Energy - 13.5 kWh of total energy

             Nine 1.5 kWh battery packs Lithium-polymer, pressure-tolerant

Propulsion - Gimbaled, ducted thruster for propulsion and control

UN Bans Japan from Antarctic Whaling

by Claudio Paschoa 31. March 2014 08:24


The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling program in the Antarctic. It finally agreed with Australia, which had presented the case in May 2010. Australia’s case claimed that the Japanese whaling program was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo, arguing that the program was commercial whaling in disguise. A score of other countries have condemned Japan for the practice, yet it took 4 years for UN’s ICJ to pass its verdict.

The court's decision is considered legally binding. Reading out the verdict, Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said the court had decided, by 12 votes to four, that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses for whaling in the Antarctic and refrain from issuing any new ones. It said Japan had caught some 3,600 Minke whales since its current program began in 2005, but the scientific output was limited. Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it "regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision". Japan had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan. Japan signed up to a moratorium on whaling in 1986, but continued whaling in the north and south Pacific under provisions that allowed for scientific research. Norway and Iceland still reject the provision and continued commercial whaling.

The meat from the slaughtered whales is sold commercially in Japan. Japan has clashed repeatedly with Australia and some other western countries, which strongly oppose whaling on conservation grounds. Japan has argues that Minke whales and a number of other species are plentiful and that its whaling activities are sustainable. A spokesman for Greenpeace UK, Willie MacKenzie, welcomed the ICJ's decision. "The myth that this hunt was in any way scientific can now be dismissed once and for all," he said. No doubt the Sea Shepard organization will also be relieved at the decision, since their ships have been clashing with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean for a decade, and have even had one of its support ships rammed by a Japanese whaler. It remains to be seen if the Japanese government will enforce the ICJ verdict.


Corals track strongest Indian Ocean Current

by Claudio Paschoa 26. March 2014 00:26

Researchers used corals as temperature archives. Natural variations in the warming and cooling cycles of the Agulhas current core region have been revealed from Madagascar corals. A new study, led by The University of Western Australia and with contribution by Professor Christian Dullo from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, has been published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The Agulhas Current, which flows down the east coast of Africa, is the strongest western boundary current in the Southern Hemisphere. Changes in its strength and the heat budget it transports are of interest, both on regional and global scales. The current is also the gateway for warm and salty Indian Ocean water that slowly goes up the Atlantic on its way to the far northern Gulf Stream.

The study used living corals to help understand the long-term changes that have occurred in warming and cooling of the Agulhas Current during the past 334 years. The large coral colonies and coral heads off Madagascar, were the perfect and the only instrument capable of measuring these changes over such a long time, as they live for over 300 years.

Chemical changes in the coral skeleton, which alter with ocean temperature, were used to trace past ocean climate change on a yearly basis. Researchers found that the Agulhas Current warming and cooling cycles follow slow, multi-decadal swings in the climate system and recent anthropogenic warming only exceeded natural variability after the 1990s. They also found a strong connection to the ocean temperatures off Western Australia, where long-term warming follows a fairly similar pattern.

These findings are important for climate science, as well as small and large-scale fisheries in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and marine conservation and climate adaptation planning agencies.The current releases a significant amount of heat into the atmosphere throughout the year and through that, it influences climate and agriculture in the countries of southern Africa. Professor Zinke, the first author of the published study, says. “It is also a lifeline for a variety of marine life from plankton to fish and larger megafauna such as manta rays and whale sharks which travel between Antarctica and the Indian Ocean.”

25th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

by Claudio Paschoa 24. March 2014 01:28

On March 24, 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil across 1,300 miles of coastline. The tankers grounding and subsequent oil spill lead to one of the most thorough examinations of the effects of oil on the environment. While the vast majority of the spill area now appears to have recovered, pockets of crude oil remain in some locations, and there is evidence that not all resources affected by the spill have recovered to the previous state.

No one anticipated any unusual problems as the Exxon Valdez left the Alyeska Pipeline Terminal at 9:12 p.m., Alaska Standard Time, on March 23,1989. The 987 foot ship, at the time the second newest in Exxon Shipping Company's 20-tanker fleet, was loaded with 53,094,5 10 gallons (1,264,155 barrels) of North Slope crude oil bound for Long Beach, California. Tankers carrying North Slope crude oil had safely transited Prince William Sound more than 8,700 times in the 12 years since oil began flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline, with no major disasters and few serious incidents. This experience gave little reason to suspect impending disaster. Yet less than three hours later, the Exxon Valdez grounded at Bligh Reef, rupturing eight of its 11 cargo tanks.

Until the Exxon Valdez piled onto Bligh Reef, the system designed to carry 2 million barrels of North Slope oil to West Coast and Gulf Coast markets daily had worked nearly flawlessly. At least partly because of the success of the Valdez tanker trade, a general complacency had come to permeate the operation and oversight of the entire system. That complacency and success were shattered when the Exxon Valdez ran hard aground shortly after midnight on March 24. Many scientists and environmentalists maintain that Prince William Sound's coastal ecosystem is permanently damaged. Thousands of gallons of Exxon Valdez crude still pollute the beaches and the seabed.

The U.S. government considers, as of 2010, only 13 of the 32 monitored wildlife populations, habitats and resource services that were injured in the spill as fully "recovered" or "very likely recovered." Some are still listed today as "not recovering." This includes a pod of orcas, which lost 15 of its 22 members after the spill, and has not produced a calf since. Given only one older female is left, scientists are certain that this unique pod of orcas will go extinct. The government conclusion is that "there appears to be no hope for recovery." The "not recovering" list also includes Pacific herring, one of the sound's keystone species. Once the source of a vibrant commercial fishery, herring declined so precipitously that a fishery closed, and has not reopened.

While inroads are deing made to tap the Arctic's O&G potencial, it's important to look back at accidents such as this and reflect on the dangers faced by Arctic oil exploration and eventually production and transportation in that fragile environment. In future posts we will take a closer look at the lingering effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and what has been and is being done to remediate these effects.

Sources: ExXon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, NOAA, CNN

Pre-salt Production Start for P-58

by Claudio Paschoa 20. March 2014 20:43

Petrobras’s P-58 FPSO started operations at Parque das Baleias, off the state of Espírito Santo, on the north sector of the Campos Basin through well 7-BFR-7-ESS, another pre-salt producer, which is showing an excellent productivity. P-58 is part of the North project of Parque das Baleias, which encompasses production from Baleia Franca, Cachalote, Jubarte, Baleia Azul and Baleia Anã plays.

P-58 is moored approximately 85 km off Espírito Santo, at a water depth of 1,400 meters. In the upcoming months, 15 production other wells, being 8 pre-salt and 7 post-salt, as well as 9 injection wells will be interconnected to it through 250 km of flexible pipelines and two subsea manifolds. The P-58 FPSO  has a daily processing capacity of 180 thousand barrels of oil and 6 million cubic meters of natural gas. Shuttle tankers will be responsible for exporting oil from the FPSO and a gas pipeline will transport natural gas to the Cacimbas Gas Treatment Unit in the municipality of Linhares, also in Espírito Santo.

The construction work created some 4,500 direct jobs, 13,500 indirect jobs and reached a local content of 64%. The construction of the FPSO’s oil processing and gas compression modules took place in Rio de Janeiro. Once finished, these modules were then sent to Rio Grande shipyard, in south Brazil, where the construction of the electrical panels and main power generating modules occurred and along with the integration of all modules on to the FPSO's deck.

The start-up of P-58 is in accordance to Petrobras’ 2014-2018 Business and Management Plan, which also calls for 3 new platforms will start-up operation in Q2 of 2014. At the Roncador play, in the Campos Basin, P-62 FPSO will develop the field along with platforms P-52, P-54 and P-55. P-55 started production in December 2013. At the Papa Terra play, a platform P-61 TWLP and a drilling support vessel SS-88 TAD (Tender Assisted Drilling) will come into operation. These units will develop the production of Papa-Terra together with platform P-63, which started-up production in November, 2013. This batch of new pre-salt and post-salt plays coming into the production stage will help in increasing Brazil's oil production, while at the same time highlighting the need for optimization and implementation of a comprehensive emergency response plan and securing the availability of emergency response assets.

P-58 specs:

Oil processing capacity: 180,000 barrels/day;

Gas treatment and compression capacity: 6 million m3/day;

Local content: 64%;

Water treatment injection capacity: 58,000 m³/day;

Power generation capacity: 100 MW;

Water depth: 1,400 m;

Living quarters: 110 people;

Total weight of the platform: 63,300 tonnes.

Compact Subsea Survey Tools - Meridian Ocean Services

by Claudio Paschoa 18. March 2014 19:17


As government agencies, research institutions, academia, and a range of industries look for new light-weight and low-cost solutions for subsea survey and inspection tasks, it becomes clear that new companies are entering the market with the goal of providing these specific services. At the same time the industry that manufactures the tools for these tasks, such as ROV’s, AUV’s and sensors and visualization software are also bringing in compact and affordable, yet powerful, products. Using the latest technology applied to inshore and offshore areas, these companies may soon be competing with established brands and in some case they offer services that few companies in the world can offer, creating their own niche. Today we will take a look at one of these up-and-coming companies: Meridian Ocean Services.

Meridian Ocean Services is a young company that provides subsea survey and inspection solutions that leverage the latest in ROV, AUV and advanced imaging technology. Meridian, which was founded in 2012, works across a variety of industries to optimize subsea survey and inspection efforts. While it is true that work class vehicles are capable, yet not ideal for inshore work, shallow and mid-water deployments or wide area survey, their purchase and operational costs can be prohibitive.

Meridian has built its observation and light work class fleet to be agile and can be quickly deployed with a small crew. With innovative approaches that employ combined deployments of ROVs and AUVs to address industry-specific survey and inspection requirements, Meridian’s fleet of vehicles is available for rapid deployment around the world. This globally deployable concept can definitely be interesting for time sensitive projects. Meridian is headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island and has additional presence in Houston, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; Pensacola, Florida; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Meridian specializes in subsea imaging inspection and their compact ROV's are ideal for subsea infrastructure inspection, including various non-destructive testing methods, such as water jetting, CP, UT, FMD, MPI and CVI. Their ROV's can operate in a traditional LARS format (Launch and Recovery) or in a free flying containerized format to minimize deck space. They currently use these ROV’s and AUV;

• Sub-Atlantic Super Mohawk

• Saab Seaeye Lynx

• Saab Seaeye Falcon & Falcon DR

• VideoRay Pro4

• Iver AUV

Meridian's in and offshore vehicle deployments are faster while leaving a small footprint. Meridian also is mindful that different jobs require different equipment and stresses the fact that there is no reason to be saddled with size and power that you don't need. Which is a very true fact and one that if not addressed, can lead to unnecessary expenses and lost time.

Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials in the O&G industry

by Claudio Paschoa 13. March 2014 18:01

Nuvia is one of the leading provider of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) management services in the UK. Oil and Gas

 According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, geologic formations that contain oil and   gas deposits also contain naturally-occurring radionuclides, which are officially referred to as "NORM" (Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials), such as:

·      Uranium (and its decay products)
·      Thorium (and decay products)
·      Radium (and decay products)
·      Lead-210

     Geologists have recognized their presence since the early 1930s and use their presence as a method for finding petroleum systems. Much of the petroleum in the earth's crust was created at the site of ancients seas by the decay of sea life. As a result, petroleum deposits often occur in aquifers containing brine (salt water). Radionuclides, along with other minerals that are dissolved in the brine, precipitate (separate and settle) out forming various wastes at the surface, such as mineneral scales inside drilling and production pipe, sludges, contaminated equipment or components and produced waters. Different countries have varying ways to deal with this waste, in the UK, Norway and the U.S., for example, there are specific sites prepared for sludge disposal and also specialized plants for pipe decontamination, whereas in Brazil, while there are specific sites prepared for sludge disposal, national operator Petrobras, keeps its used pipes in open air storage at a "pipe farm" and do not attempt to decontaminate them.

Because the extraction process concentrates the naturally occurring radionuclides and exposes them to the surface environment and human contact, these wastes are classified as TENORM. The briney solution contained in reservoirs of oil and gas is known as "formation water." During drilling, a mixture of oil, gas, and formation water is pumped to the surface. The water is separated from the oil and gas into tanks or pits, where it is referred to as "produced water." As the oil and gas in the reservoir are removed, more of what is pumped to the surface is formation water.

Consequently, declining oil fields generate more produced water. While uranium and thorium are are not soluble in water, their radioactive decay product, radium, and some of its decay products are somewhat soluble. Radium and its decay products may dissolve in the brine. They may remain in solution or settle out to form sludges, which accumulate in tanks and pits, or mineral scales, which form inside pipes and drilling equipment. Because radium levels in the soil and rocks vary greatly, so do their concentrations in scales and sludges. Radiation levels may vary from background soil levels to as high as several hundred nanoCuries per gram. The variation depends on several factors:

·      Concentration and identity of the radionuclides.
·      Chemistry of the geologic formation.
·      Characteristics of the production process.

The table below shows the range of activities in these wastes:


Radiation Level [pCi/g]





Produced Water  [pCi/l]




Pipe/Tank Scale  [pCi/g]




Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

With the amount of drilling that is done worldwide, it’s interesting to look at what is done with this radioactive waste from both offshore and onshore drilling in different locations around the world and we will be looking at this in future posts.



Decontaminating Drilling Pipes

Ocearch – Global Great White Shark Tagging

by Claudio Paschoa 10. March 2014 03:34

Hydraulic platform used to tag the sharks safely. Lydia (pictured)

OCEARCH is a global non-profit organization specializing on research of Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and other large predators, enabling leading researchers and institutions to generate previously unattainable data on the movement, biology and health of sharks to protect their future while enhancing public safety and education. OCEARCH is also a leader in open source research, sharing data in near real-time for free through the Global Shark Tracker, enabling researchers, students and the public to learn more about the Great White Sharks's habits and dynamics.

Over 50 researchers from more than 20 institutions have collaborated with OCEARCH to date with over three dozen research papers in process or completed. Research expeditions are conducted worldwide aboard the M/V OCEARCH, which serves as both a mothership and at-sea laboratory. Utilizing a custom 75,000 lb. capacity hydraulic platform designed to safely lift mature sharks for access by a multi-disciplined research team, up to 12 studies are conducted in approximately 15 minutes on a live mature shark.

Powered by five Cat engines, the M/V OCEARCH is capable of Global Circumnavigation. Lydia, one of the great whites tagged by Ocearch is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other. She has crossed the mid-atlantic ridge and is the first documented white shark to cross into the eastern Atlantic. OCEARCH expeditions are supported by Caterpillar and other partners such as Costa, Yeti, Yamaha, Contender, SAFE boats and Mustad to generate satellite tracks and other forms of data for sharks, with planned expansion to other species in the future. Seventeen research expeditions have been conducted to date, with seven more scheduled through the end of 2015.

Chris Fischer, Expedition Leader and Founding Chairman Member of The Explorers Club has led 17 global expeditions since 2007 to advance science and education, facilitating millions of dollars in collaborative ocean research on predators, involving over 50 scientists and 20 institutions. Fischer’s goals are to enable scientists and governments around the world to generate groundbreaking open-sourced data while enabling dynamic STEM education for school children.

OCEARCH and Fischer have been featured in over 5,000 news stories in 2013. Fischer believes that being inclusive is inspiring. By breaking down institutional barriers and being resource-focused, scientists can obtain data at a rate otherwise not possible. Partly through his initiative, U.S. students are being engaged with a K-12, STEM educational curriculum based on sharks and the Global Shark Tracker. This near real-time dynamic tool allows anyone to track and learn about sharks. An initial phase of lesson plans for grades 6-8 was launched in the fall of 2013.

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