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Floating University

The sailing training ship Nadezhda is the base area of the Far East Floating University. The main task of the Floating University is carrying out research of the major climatic factors in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean and the impact of climate changes on marine ecosystems of the Far Eastern Seas, training of researchers for the Far East in the field of environmental monitoring through research conducted by students and graduate students under the supervision of leading scientists of the Far East.

STS Nadezhda made over 20 large-scale marine research expeditions from 1997 to 2012 within the project of the Far Eastern Floating University in collaboration with leading domestic and foreign scientific organizations.

The Floating University is part of the Nevelskoy MSU research and innovation infrastructure. The on-board laboratories equipped with modern devices, represent the prototype of a technopark providing their resources to carry out various studies. The main task of the Floating University being solved currently is carrying out research of climate change in the region and their impact on marine ecosystems and training of researchers for the Far East in the field of environmental monitoring and the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems through research conducted by students and graduate students under the guidance of leading scientists of the Far East. In this work, the Maritime University cooperates with the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and other domestic and foreign research institutions and universities. Expeditions on board Nadezhda allow us to combine university and academic science, give the educational and research process an entirely new form. Students and young scientists are directly involved in research, and the scientific programs are full of lectures and practical classes.

From 1997 to 2002 the Project "Far Eastern Floating University" was supported by FTP "Integration" and by RFBR grants, since 2003 the financial support has been provided by FTPs "World Ocean", "Scientific and scientific-teaching staff of innovative Russia", the Russian President Program to support leading scientific schools and RFBR grants. Institute of Automation and Control Processes, FEB RAS; Ilichev Pacific Oceanological Institute, FEB RAS; Institute Marine Biology, FEB RAS; Institute of Atmospheric Optics, SB RAS; Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, SB RAS; FENU, Institute of Space Physics and Radio Wave Propagation, FEB RAS; Pacific Institute of Geography, FEB RAS; Lomonosov Moscow State University. FESTU, MIPT, University of Washington (USA) and Geophysical Observatory, Alaska (USA) were Maritime State University partners in the organization of marine expeditions in different years.

In 1997-1998, during the first FEFU marine expedition, the concentration of chlorophyll A in the upper ocean was measured and the first versions of the flow laser shipboard fluorimeters were tested. In 2000, bio-optical and hydro- chemical parameters of shelf waters of the Sea of Japan and near the island of Sakhalin were studied and shipboard laser spectrometers to monitor bio-optical parameters of seawater were tested. In 2001 an expedition was made in the Okhotsk Sea and the Sea of Japan, comprehensive studies of marine ecosystems of the Far Eastern Seas were conducted; subsatellite measurements of bio-optical characteristics of sea water to develop regional recovery algorithms of chlorophyll A concentration from data of satellite sea surface scanners were taken; environmental monitoring of sea water in the Gulf of Piltun, Sakhalin Island, was performed. Testing of shipboard laser spectrometers to determine the elemental composition of seawater and phytoplankton cells was carried out. The shipboard lidar system for sensing upper-air layers of atmospheric aerosol was tested.

During the expedition of 2002, comprehensive investigation of the parameters that determine the conditions for the development of phytoplankton communities were performed. New shipboard laser spectrometers were tested and subsatellite measurements of chlorophyll A concentration along the vessel were taken. A large complex of acoustic research was conducted, especially in areas of methane seep (as "gas flares") from the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk. The research data on the impact of tropical cyclones on spatial-temporal distribution of chlorophyll A concentration fields in the upper ocean (UO) were obtained.

During the circumnavigation in 2003-2004 complex studies were conducted on board the frigate: of atmospheric aerosol, bio-optical upper ocean parameters characterizing the state of phytoplankton communities, meteorological parameters of the atmosphere; also acoustic sounding of the upper ocean (UO) was performed. Laser fluorimetry of sea water and phytoplankton communities was carried out simultaneously with the UO acoustic sensing. Unique studies of the atmospheric aerosol transport processes over the Red Sea were conducted during sand storms in the Sahara Desert and on the Arabian Peninsula. Bio-optic parameters of the ocean were measured and acoustic sounding of the Ampere Mountain in the Atlantic Ocean was carried out. The data were obtained on the efficiency of reproduction of organic substance by phytoplankton communities for different World Ocean areas; a method of classifying phytoplankton communities in terms of the reproduction rates of organic substance was developed. Hydro lidar sounding of the upper ocean was performed simultaneously with acoustic sensing.

In 2006 with IFAW Hope the investigation at the mouth of the Amur and the Piltun Bay, Sakhalin Island was conducted. The acoustic impact of industrial origin on the behavior of gray whales that inhabit the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk was studied.

In 2007 the FEFU expedition was made aboard the training sailcraft of the Far Eastern State Technical Fishery University Pallada. The expedition was dedicated to investigation of phytoplankton communities of Japan and Okhotsk seas and study of the impact of tropical cyclones and dust storms on the state of phytoplankton communities of the Japan and Okhotsk seas.

In 2008 a complex expedition was organized to measure bio-optical parameters of seawater, to develop regional recovery algorithms of chlorophyll A concentration from data of sea surface color from satellite scanners, in the waters of the Peter the Great Gulf.

In 2009 a joint expedition with the FEB RAS and SB RAS was launched to the Sarychev Peak Volcano on Matua Island, where microphysical parameters of volcanic ash, of atmospheric aerosol of a volcanic origin, dynamics and vertical distribution of aerosol layers were studied using laser sensing. The impact of the volcanic eruption on the state of phytoplankton communities was studied. That year the Sarychev Peak Volcano erupted – it was the most powerful eruption of the Kuril volcanoes for the last 300 years.

In 2010 the FEFU international expedition was organized to the Kuril Islands and the northern part of the Okhotsk Sea. The response of phytoplankton communities to volcanic eruptions and the effect of phytoplankton communities on the formation of atmospheric aerosol near the water surface, and the impact of the Sarychev Peak Volcano on the Matua Island ecosystem were investigated.

Another research expedition took place in May 2011. The frigate Nadezhda sailed to the Sea of Japan to study the impact of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the environment. The background radiation in the offshore waters of Primorye and atmospheric aerosol transfer channels over the waters of the Sea of Japan were studied. The expedition was held under the auspices of the Russian Geographical Society. In addition to academics and cadets of the Maritime University, researchers of the Far Eastern and Siberian Branches of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as Russian EMERCOM specialists became the voyage participants.

In 2012 during the FEFU expedition, along with the traditional monitoring of the atmosphere and ocean, testing of the remotely operated underwater vehicle "MAX-300"was done. Nadezhda became a platform for the scientific exhibition of the Russian pavilion at the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, as well as the World Shipbuilding Exhibition in Geoje (Republic of Korea).

Diversity of the research and their results confirm the effectiveness of the Far Eastern Floating University as the innovative educational and research infrastructure of Nevelskoy MSU. Since 2003, the Far Eastern Floating University aboard Nadezhda has been recognized by the UNESCO IOC-WESTRAS (TTR) Program – “training through research”. The Maritime State University makes regular training and research expeditions aboard the STS Nadezhda. Thanks to the program, "Far Eastern Floating University", approved by UNESCO decision # IOC-XXII / 3 dated July 30, 2003, students and cadets of the Maritime State University and other Russian universities have the opportunity to learn the techniques of monitoring the climate change, responses of marine ecosystems to the impact of the major climatic factors of the Pacific, to watch marine mammals, and to participate in various types of monitoring, including the anthropogenic impact on marine ecosystems.

Nadezhda is the sailing training ship of the Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University. Currently, the frigate continues the glorious traditions of her predecessors, and is used as a sail training vessel and a research vessel. During the entire period of the FEFU, outreach in the form of lectures, presentations, public meetings, press conferences, sporting events at ports of call is also carried out on board the tall ship Nadezhda. FEFU participants get acquainted with the culture and sights of the places they visit.

The sailboat is equipped with modern facilities of ocean remote sensing, modern computing equipment, and modern communications that make it possible to send and receive data via Internet and to hold teleconferences. Thus, during the expedition of 2012 direct teleconference of the FEFU participants with the space station "Alpha" took place.

The introduction into operation of the training vessel of the Maritime University Professor Khlyustin gave the Far Eastern Floating University an opportunity to conduct the expeditions to the Arctic region.

In 2013 the FEFU expedition was conducted on board Professor Khlyustin. This was the first Arctic expedition and the first Arctic voyage of the STS Professor Khlyustin.