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Laura Zaleski (MA, 2002)

Demetrios Caroussos tossing clams over a boat

Laurie Zaleski has found a way to communicate her science to new audiences and published her first book. . A graduate from the lab of Dr. Roger Flood, she earned her M.S. degree from the Marine Sciences Research Center (now SoMAS) at Stony Brook University in 2002.

A Young Person’s Field Guide to Finding Lost Shipwrecks is Laurie’s autobiographical account of an actual nautical archaeological expedition. The book is written from the surveyor’s point of view and explains the math and science behind multibeam sonars and how to use the technology to find shipwreck. Along the way she describes the equipment used to explore the seafloor. The reader is taken through a typical day at sea on a marine research vessel equipped with a multibeam sonar and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) on a real-life expedition in search of a shipwreck. The story begins alongside a dock in Cadiz, Spain with a team that includes Laurie, three archaeologists, two college students on a summer internship, three captains, one cook, one engineer, two SCUBA divers and one able-bodied seaman onboard the Hercules, a 37 meter research vessel and are in the midst of getting ready to set sail in search of the Santisima.

A Young Person's Field Guide to Finding Lost Shipwrecks cover

Readers will learn a lot more than science in this true-life account of a scientific expedition. They will learn history, eat tapas, and dance the flamenco all while in search of a 300-year-old shipwreck. Introducing Multibeam and Acoustic Reflectivity to children – What could be better? And women scientists! Yeah!

She says she wrote  A Young Person’s Field Guide to Finding Lost Shipwrecks “because of my love of science,” and “moreover my love of my 12-year-old granddaughter and the essential need for all children, especially girls, to keep their sense of adventure firmly intact as well as to find a connection to themselves through math and science.”

Thanks to her time at SoMAS launching her into her career, Laurie has been fortunate to have travelled the world–from the Arctic Circle to Saipan and all points in between conducting geophysical surveys. She has mapped thousands of kilometers by plane, boat and foot. She fondly remembers her time at Stony Brook as a turning point in her life. She had donated a copy of the book to SoMAS as a way to inspire the next generation of brilliant young oceanographers!

The book is available on Amazon in Kindle and Hardcover.

Zaleski, L.A. (2020). A Young Person’s Field Guide to Finding Lost Shipwrecks: The Search for the Santisima. Austin Macauley Publishers.