A Golden Eagle goes to the North Pole - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

A Golden Eagle goes to the North Pole

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

University of Southern Mississippi graduate student Laura Whitmore hopes to discover a bit of magic at the North Pole this summer, whether she detects any signs of Santa’s workshop or not.

Whitmore, a second-year master’s student in the Department of Marine Science, will participate in a unique 65-day research cruise to the top of the world aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Healy.” Her Arctic Ocean adventure begins Aug. 9 with departure from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

A native of Palmer, Alaska, Whitmore is no stranger to icy climates. But spending more than two months aboard a massive, state-of-the-art research vessel in frigid ocean waters offers a different set of challenges.

“I always wanted to do something like this, but never expected to experience the reality of going to the North Pole,” she said. “I’ve never had an overnight trip on a boat before. I’ll have a very steep learning curve for how to live on a boat, especially in a region notorious for rough seas.”

Whitmore will join 49 other researchers – representing 30 institutions from across the world – for the U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES Expedition whose mission is to study marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes. Her research focus will be the study of dissolved methane distribution and transport in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Beyond her research goals for the trip, Whitmore hopes to catch a glimpse of a narwhal or a bowhead whale. “A polar bear would be cool, too,” she said.

As for a Santa sighting, anything is possible.

Copyright 2015 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly