Blog Home » Partner Spotlight | Passion for Ocean Science with Ellen Kappel

Blog Home » Partner Spotlight | Passion for Ocean Science with Ellen Kappel

Partner Spotlight | Passion for Ocean Science with Ellen Kappel

ellen kappel

We are proud to work with such excellent partners, one of them being the team over at Oceanography Magazine! This month, we are excited to feature Ellen Kappel, Oceanography Magazine Editor, for our May Partner Spotlight. Oceanography magazine is an excellent source of peer-reviewed articles that cover myriad areas of ocean science and oceanography, managed by The Oceanography Society. Learn about Ellen’s story, and how she came to Oceanography magazine below:

What’s your role at Oceanography magazine?

As editor of Oceanography, the principal publication of The Oceanography Society (TOS), I am responsible for the overall content of the journal, its look and feel, and operations. I review and edit every article that we publish, work with the associate editors to pursue topics that would be of interest to our readership, write the Quarterdeck column in each Oceanography issue, and work with the TOS Executive Director on magazine-related budgets.

Why did you decide to work at Oceanography mag?

After more than a decade working as a program manager for the Ocean Drilling Program at Joint Oceanographic Institutions, my career took an unexpected turn toward publications. In 1999, I became an accidental entrepreneur, starting my own business called Geo Prose. I work with a graphic designer to assist the geoscience community on projects that communicate the importance of their research to the broader science community. Among other projects, we have collaborated with geoscience community members to develop and publish documents such as program plans for large, new initiatives. When TOS asked me to become editor of Oceanography, it was a natural fit.

erin kappel

What first got you into ocean science? Who/what inspired you?

I can’t say that I had a passion for the ocean since I was a kid growing up in New York City. Ocean science was not even on my radar as an undergrad or early graduate student. My undergraduate studies at Cornell were filled with abundant field (land) geology opportunities, and I did a senior thesis on earthquakes along the Indonesian subduction zone. I started grad school at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory studying seismology. That changed after I took — and thoroughly enjoyed — a course in marine geology taught by Bill Ryan. At the end of the semester, Bill invited me on a cruise to the Juan de Fuca Ridge to do deep-sea camera work where he had collected side-scan sonar the year before. I accepted Bill’s invitation to go to sea — which turned out to be the first of more than a half-dozen cruises I went on over the next couple of years, not just to the Juan de Fuca Ridge, but elsewhere in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. I was hooked!

What is the most memorable thing you have seen while on a cruise/at sea or out in the field?

Hands down, diving in HOV Alvin to a hydrothermal vent and seeing black smokers and tube worms first-hand through the porthole wins the lottery.

What do you think is important for people to understand about ocean science/research?

It is important for people to appreciate the many challenges associated with obtaining data at sea, the many different types of data we obtain as well as their spatial and temporal limits, and the vast array of instruments we deploy to collect data. One of the reasons the title pages of Oceanography articles usually have background photos of seagoing fieldwork is to drive home the point that the data displayed in the articles’ figures were not always so easy to come by and that data collection requires a collaborative effort among scientists, engineers, technicians, and ships’ crews.

Connect with Ellen on LinkedIn

Thank you for overseeing such an integral magazine in the oceanography community, Ellen! We’re grateful to have you in the oceanic community!

May 26, 2023

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