Ross School Field Academy: Bringing Mo’orea to San Francisco

CubicFoot_TentPanel_Outside3 For the 2014 Midwinter Term, a Ross School Field Academy class journeyed to the island of Mo’orea to work on-site at the University of California Berkeley Gump South Pacific Research Station with distinguished marine scientists from the Smithsonian. The students conducted biodiversity research and fieldwork to collect, inventory, identify, and document marine species and behaviors using biocubes—one-cubic-foot, open-sided cubes, used by field scientists to provide a standardized, clearly defined approach to sampling.

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Ross students will share their experiences at the National Geographic BioBlitz on March 28–29 in California’s Golden Gate National Park. Part scientific endeavor, part festival, part outdoor classroom, BioBlitz brings together more than 300 leading scientists and naturalists from around the world with 2,000 students to discover, count, map, and learn about the park’s diverse organisms, ranging from microscopic bacteria to wildflowers to and seals to hawks to redwoods.


In addition to participating in the explorations, Ross students and teachers will staff a booth at the festival to offer detailed information about their biocube studies, tutorials, and video documentaries from Mo’orea. They will also distribute Ross School Biocube Kits to students and educators. The kits, funded in part through a grant from the National Geographic Society, contain all the materials and instructions for recipients to make their own biocubes, collect and identify specimens.


Ross School Field Academy allows students to learn and apply skills in real-world settings and to be exposed to different cultures, peoples, and languages. Classes will continue to collaborate with National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and other distinguished experts on future trips and explorations.


Ross School would like to specifically thank the following scientists and photographer for sharing their knowledge with the Field Academy students and for the opportunity to study with them in the South Pacific:

  • Hinano Murphy, Atitia Center
  • Neil Davies and Frank Murphy, UC Berkeley Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station
  • Chris Meyer and Seabird McKeon, Smithsonian
  • Photographer David Liittschwager and assistant Zach Kobrinsky