Ship, Shipmate, Self: The sponsored abroad experience of an aspiring scientist, Mandy Camp

Ship, Shipmate, Self: The sponsored abroad experience of an aspiring scientist, Mandy Camp

Mandy Camp, a Coral Shores High School 2012 graduate, will be speaking in Marathon on Tuesday, March 3 at the Middle Keys Marine Association. The Stetson University student will be sharing details about her research on the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, some of it conducted aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer.

“I spent five weeks of April and May of 2014 in the Atlantic Ocean with 13 other students and a team of scientists and sailors,” she said.

Sponsored in part by the MKMA, the formal title of Mandy’s adventure is the “Sea Education Association’s (SEA) Marine Biodiversity and Conservation abroad experience.”

The 12-week semester included seven weeks of shore-based training and classes, and a five-week live-aboard sail spanning the length of the North Atlantic. During the shore component, Mandy proposed and designed her own research project on the distribution of the commercially important species, the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, as well as developed a conservation plan for the ecologically unique region of the Sargasso Sea.

Throughout her time at sea, Mandy was a research scientist, collecting, processing and analyzing data, in addition to being a member of the crew, with daily watches and duties on the ship.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m really glad that I went. There was no outside communication and only one port stop in Bermuda during the five weeks,” she said. “Oh, and we only got to shower once every three days!”

Upon returning to shore, Mandy and shipmates organized their data for the final symposium, to which many world-renowned scientists and environmentalists were invited and attended, including esteemed guest Sylvia Earl.

The research that Mandy conducted is significant to the conservation of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, and has equipped her with sampling and laboratory skills and experience that make her competitively qualified to achieve her goal in the workplace of being an environmental consultant and conservation scientist.

Mandy will graduate in May. She said she hopes to land a job that will enable her to travel.

“But somewhere tropical, always tropical; I’m not a big fan of cold,” she said, laughing.

“The Keys will always be home base,” she said.

Mandy will speak on Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Marathon Power Squadron, 12 Loggerhead Lane (off 52nd Street, bayside). The public is invited.

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