Outdoor adventurers are teaming with lab-bound scientists to collect data for them in wild places, hoping to make their outings more meaningful and less self-indulgent, reports The New York Times. Alaska-based researchers are among the beneficiaries.
Russell Hopcroft, a professor of marine life at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, sees the beauty and the thrift in linking his studies of the health of zooplankton, a major food source for fish, to a monthlong expedition being led by Paul Ridley, a Chicagoan who plans to row a 29-foot boat 1,100 miles across the Arctic Ocean with three companions this summer.
Chartering a research vessel can cost more than $50,000 a day, Dr. Hopcroft said. "This is an incredible buy if they're able to get some useful science done at the same time," he added.
Strapped to their boats will be a zooplankton dragnet, a sampling container and observational equipment. "They'll be covering a big chunk of ocean, and there are things that we don't learn from a satellite," he said. "People are going to see this as having that edge to it, and you don't get that with your science very often."