When our roads are filled with visitors, our houses full and the beach is lined with families camped out on towels enjoying the surf and time together, itâåÛåªs easy to forget that the Outer Banks is actually a geological wonder . . . a series of gigantic sandbars that call the coast of North Carolina home.
IâåÛåªm thinking of all of this because I had a chance to visit the Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island the other day. The CSI, as it is known, is the gigantic very modern building that seems to rise out of the marsh on the road to Wanchese. Part of the UNC system itâåÛåªs a collaborative effort among just about every college and university in North Carolina.
The research theyâåÛåªre doing there is pretty cutting edge stuff, but one of the neat things about it, is every time IâåÛåªve had a chance to talk to the folks who work there–and yes, they are real scientists–they go out of their way to try to make their work understandable.
Here are some of the things theyâåÛåªre working on. How sea level rise effects the marshes of the sounds. Undersea archeology and mapping the sea floor off the North Carolina coast. And the Renewable Ocean Energy Project where they are looking at wave, tidal and ocean currents as a source of renewable energy.
Cool stuff. Mostly graduate school programs, but there are occasional undergrads who make their way there as well.