The Research Vessel (R/V) Weatherbird II is homeported on Bayboro Harbor at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science, St. Petersburg Campus. Her mission is to provide a seagoing platform for oceanographic and marine science education and research at sea.

R/V Weatherbird II is equipped with advanced laboratories, oceanographic devices and sensor technology designed to enable scientists and students to study and learn about various aspects of the ocean’s biological, chemical, geological and physical characteristics. Researchers use the vessel to support advanced studies on a myriad of complex issues impacting global and coastal oceans, as well as life in the sea.

In addition to supporting the State University System of Florida Universities she also serves State and Federal agencies including Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and various private enterprises.

The range of research projects supported by the Weatherbird II is broad. It includes coastal ocean monitoring with fixed platforms, moored buoys, and discrete sampling; red tide detection, monitoring, and population dynamics; fisheries resource assessment; optical oceanography related to remote sensing capabilities; coral reef research; and continental shelf mapping to name a few recent programs supported.

In response to the Deepwater Horizon spill, the R/V Weatherbird II and her crew made repeated journeys to the spill zone as part of the Natural Resources Damages Assessment, working in concert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and also carrying out National Science Foundation-supported research.