Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 14 Issue 02

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Volume 14, No. 2
Pages 41 - 46


GSO and John Knauss

Robert A. Duce
First Paragraph

It has been almost 40 years since John Knauss brought an old ship and a new science to the University of Rhode Island (URI). In 1962 URI decided to upgrade its Narragansett Marine Laboratory, which had focused primarily on biological studies in the coastal regions around Rhode Island, to an open ocean comprehensive graduate oceanography program. URI turned to John Knauss to lead the development of what quickly became known as GSO (Graduate School of Oceanography), not only because he was recognized as an outstanding young physical oceanographer from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, but also because he said he could bring a ship to URI if he came! With the help of the Office of Naval Research and Scripps, John did indeed obtain a retired World War II floating machine shop, converted it for use as a research vessel, renamed it R/V Trident and in early 1962 sailed it through the Panama Canal and up to Narragansett. John brought with him from Scripps two new faculty members for GSO – Dale Krause and David Schink, to join the biologists already at the Narragansett Marine Laboratory, who included Charles and Marie Fish, Saul Saila, Ted Smayda, and John Sieburth, among others. To transport the household belongings, cars, etc. of the Californians to Rhode Island they loaded everything on Trident for the trip through the canal and up the east coast. If you look closely at Figure 1, you can see Dale Krause’s Renault Dauphine resting comfortably on the deck as the Trident moved toward Narragansett. Both John and R/V Trident served the faculty, students, and staff well at GSO for many decades. At its retirement Trident had completed cruises equivalent to 8.5 times around the world. At his retirement from the deanship of GSO (but not active life and service) 26 years later, John had developed one of the finest graduate education and research institutions in oceanography in the world. URI had made good investments indeed!


Duce, R.A. 2001. GSO and John Knauss. Oceanography 14(2):41–46, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2001.43.

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