The 2016 SEAmester cruise took place while voyaging along the ASCA line, an existing research array where an annual dataset is collected. The cruise involved running a transect across the core of the Agulhas Current off Port St Johns. Applicants chose a programme based on two streams: Oceans in a Changing Climate or Tools of the Trade.
Oceans in a Changing Climate is geared toward understanding the chemical processes at play in the global ocean including the marine carbon cycle and an introduction to biogeochemistry. Tools of the Trade has a more practical approach aimed at introducing and familiarising students with the instrumentation used to collect data from the ocean and data analysis software. Both streams participated in daily morning lectures, themed Ocean Dynamics. The streams then split into practical deck work in the laboratories and programme specific lectures. The practical work was provided by the ASCA scientists on board who carried out scientific studies. In the evening, lectures covering more cultural topics from Marine Birding, Art at Sea and Photography at Sea took place. A themed party was held on the last night where all the students and staff came together to unwind after all the tasks had been submitted.
In addition to daily assignments students worked in small groups on an overarching project presentation. The objective was to propose a well thought out research cruise plan. Each group received a scientific question which the cruise plan had to cover. All aspects of planning had to be accounted for including operational costs, equipment costs, deployment timeline and a supporting argument of what was being suggested.