Student Application: Please Join Us On the VISIONS 2023 Seagoing Expedition

The ROV Jason about ready to enter the deep waters in the NE Pacific Ocean. Credit: M. Elend, University of Washington.

We are looking for students interested in participating in the UW Sea-Going Research and Discovery course (OCEAN 411). This at-sea experiential learning program will provide you the opportunity to sail on a global-class research ship using a state-of the-art underwater robotic vehicle (ROV). The expedition will take place August to mid-September 2023 aboard the 274-foot R/V Thomas G. Thompson and will utilize the deep diving robotic vehicle Jason. We will be working at depths of up to 9500 ft beneath the ocean’s surface and at >300 miles offshore in some of the most extreme environments on Earth.

An active black smoker on the hydrothermal chimney “Mushroom” is surrounded by a dense colony of beautiful tube worms. Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/CSSF

The expedition worksites include methane seeps off the Oregon margin; Axial Seamount (the largest and most active submarine volcano off our coast); active hydrothermal vents hosting novel animal and microbial communities; and at highly productive coastal environments off Newport, OR.

Working in the control van of Jason alongside the pilots, engineers, and scientists, you will “see” places rarely observed and animal communities that thrive in perpetual darkness. The expedition will include four 8-10 day legs leaving from and returning to Newport, OR. You may participate on one or more legs.

VISIONS students work side-by-side the ROV pilots and the UW scientists and engineers in the vehicle control center onboard, seeing sites in real-time rarely observed by humans. Credit: M. Elend, University of Washington.

During the cruise you will conduct your own research and/or outreach projects using data and stunning imagery collected with these advanced technologies. During Fall Quarter 2022, you will have the opportunity to finish your individual and/or team projects and present your results in a symposium at the end of the quarter. The course will emphasize the importance of science communication during your time at sea. Longer term projects are available as well, which may turn into publications in national journals and allow you to give presentations at national meetings.

As a member of this oceanographic expedition and class, you will be taking part in maintenance of the US’s high-power and high-bandwidth underwater ocean observatory that is directly connected to the Internet – the Regional Cabled Array – funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the Ocean Observatories Initiative. Here, over 150 instruments are streaming data and imagery live to shore 24/7/365 that are available for you to explore and to make your own discoveries. You will be participating in a truly groundbreaking effort that continues to transform ocean sciences and exploration.

Please click below to download the VISIONS’23_Student_Application

There are no costs to participate in this program, and no expectations of prior sea-going experience or knowledge about the ocean. All transportation to and from the ship is provided by the program. The goal is to share with you the excitement of sea-going research and the importance of the ocean.

Please submit the application  via email by April 7, 2023 to Dr. Deb Kelley (; 206-685-9556) or drop off at Room 261, Ocean Teaching Building.