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LLO Science on Deck

picture of Blue Heron

LLO Science on Deck

Welcome Aboard the R/V Blue Heron!

Free Vessel Tours and Presentations

Every summer, the Large Lakes Observatory hosts Science On Deck events on the research vessel (R/V) Blue Heron. The Blue Heron is part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), and is chartered by research scientists to explore any of the Great Lakes. These tours are offered on a monthly basis during the sailing season (about five times a year) and LLO started hosting them in the spring of 2013.

Upcoming 2019 event dates are: 

  • July 19, 2019 - Open to the public from noon to 4:00 p.m., Presentation at 3:00 p.m. from Dr. Katie Schreiner on microplastics in Lake Superior
  • August 30, 2019 - Open to the public from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The boat is docked for these on board tours behind the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth's harbor.

Special Event in Chicago - August 3, 2019

The R/V Blue Heron will be at Chicago's Navy Pier  

Free tours are available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

(Check back to this website for an exact location of the boat at Navy Pier closer to the event.)

The Great Lakes are undergoing dramatic changes — less ice, warmer climate, and new invasive species - and LLO scientists are evaluating how these changes impact the lakes.

Dr. Ted Ozersky and his team of researchers will be on board at the event and are studying the impact of invasive quagga mussels on the biology and chemistry of the Great Lakes. This year the scientists will work on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie taking samples of water and bottom sediments and running experiments in the ship's lab.

Science On Deck Details

During Science On Deck, we tie up near the Great Lakes Aquarium and extend the gangway so the public can come aboard from noon to 4:00 p.m. Tours are provided by scientists, crew and students to provide an overview of the R/V Blue Heron's layout and research capabilities. A variety of scientists prepare and present results of large lakes studies under a canopy on deck at each event, too. Each scientist will answer questions on a related topic and share photos, graphs, equipment and samples.

If you have a group interested in participating in Science On Deck, please contact Lisa Sundberg at 218-726-8683 or sundb103@d.umn.edu to let us know more details.

We can make accommodations for large groups and design extra activities if we know of your arrival in advance.


Science Comes Alive

Every summer, the Large Lakes Observatory hosts Science On Deck events for the public. The 2018 dates are on June 29 and July 20. This is an opportunity to learn about the Large Lakes Observatory, the Research Vessel Blue Heron , and the research being done by scientists such as Taeho and Sam Kelly!

During Science On Deck, the ship ties up near the Great Lakes Aquarium and extends the gangway so the public can come aboard from noon to 4 p.m. Tours are provided by scientists, crew and students to provide an overview of the R/V Blue Heron's layout and research capabilities. A variety of scientists prepare and present results of large lakes studies under a canopy on deck at each event, too. Each scientist will answer questions on a related topic and share photos, graphs, equipment and samples.

If you have a group interested in participating in Science On Deck, please contact Lisa Sundberg at 218-726-8683 or sundb103@d.umn.edu to let us know more details.

The Blue Heron is part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), and is chartered by research scientists to explore any of the Great Lakes. These tours are offered on a monthly basis during the sailing season (about five times a year) and we started hosting them in the spring of 2013.