By: Tiffany King
March 3, 2023

All About the Deep

“Swerving like an injured fish, I was easily cornered. The pursuer approached us. Was this the end already? A book with two pages? It couldn’t be, but how did this all start? What led us to this worst case scenario? To understand, you must go back two days prior. My name is Harrison, and this is how Team Submarine’s adventure first began.” 

Excerpt from the book “Team Submarine”

College of Coastal Georgia student Harrison Faulk has taken his love for the deep sea to an even deeper level. He is the author and illustrator of Team Submarine, the first in a series of educational books for children that teaches about the deep sea, conservation, marine science, and more. Faulk, who is graduating in 2024, is majoring in environmental science with a concentration in marine science, and minoring in both biology and geology. He hopes to inspire a love for the deep sea in future generations the same way it was sparked and cultivated in him.

Team Submarine was a concept that first began in 2017 when Faulk was still in high school at Brunswick High. The eBook launched on Amazon in January 2021.

“It originally started as an idea when I was in GICA (Golden Isles Career Academy) to be an environmental educational tool,” Faulk said. “I started to build it out using PowerPoint, which is what I use for my illustrations and writing. I wanted to cover all sorts of topics like pollution, conservation, invasive species, and it’s grown all the way from there.”

The first book in the series covers topics about the coast, reefs, the open ocean and artificial habitats. Faulk said the reception of his book has been great so far. He’s gotten some good reviews and sales as well. There will be other books in the series, and Faulk is already working on the second book in the series, Team Submarine Part 2: The Depths!

The above is a preview of Team Submarine Part 2: The Depths!

“It’s important to spark an interest in marine science. The documentary series ‘Blue Planet’ did that for me. I want to do that for the next generation. No one is going to be interested in the deep sea if you don’t have that interest at a young age. I love that documentary so much. Not everyone has the ocean in their backyard. I was really lucky for that,” he said.

Faulk was born and raised in Brunswick. When it was time to graduate from high school, he believed there was no reason for him to leave the area. He heard great things about the College, and with the ocean in his backyard, he believes he made the right choice.

Faulk gets to explore his love for all things deep sea through his internship with the Estuarine Fish Monitoring Collaboration. The University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant are collaborating with the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, UGA Marine Institute, and the College of Coastal Georgia to better understand the responses of estuarine animal and plant life to changes in climate, sea level, and water conditions. Since 2021, the project consists of monthly fish trawls at 33 locations in the Sapelo, Doboy and Altamaha Sounds. The project also includes a training program for students at the College, who are provided an overview of the monitoring program and are able to participate in hands-on training. Faulk spends his time with whichever group needs him the most that day. He helps with pulling a trawl behind the skiff to collect fish to count species and do measurements. Through the long-term monitoring operation, researchers will be able to recognize trends and changes ahead of time, and have data to back-up their observations.

“I really like being out in the water. I’m learning more about marine life, and I get to photograph them,” he said. “Also, learning how to manage science on a boat in all these changing conditions is really important.”

One of Faulk’s favorite moments thus far was when he was first introduced to the internship. He was taking the Fisheries Methods course with Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Dr. James Deemy, and the final outing for the class was visiting the Marine Extension on their boat the “Bulldog.” Faulk had a great time during the trip, counting the fish and learning about all they do for fish research.

“As the class was starting to leave, Dr. Deemy says to me, ‘Come back! Come back!’ He introduced me to Bryan Fleuch, who is the assistant director at the Marine Extension. He’s the one I’ve worked with on the trawls. Deemy says to him, ‘You need this person’ and I was like ‘Really?!’ Then later on that summer I started working with them,” Faulk said. “So, being called back was a big moment.”

That moment of allowing his genuine interest to shine through led to great learning experiences in the field.

In addition to being an author, illustrator, student, and intern, Faulk is also a supplemental instructor (SI) for the Fisheries Methods course. Faulk does a weekly class presentation for students. In one recent presentation, he dissected a hagfish and did an egg count. Being able to present in front of the class and teach students is giving Faulk great experience as a future graduate teaching assistant. After graduating from the College, he plans to pursue a master’s degree for a career in the ocean’s deep.

“I will definitely go into marine science and deep-sea studies. That is my definite interest. I like anything related to the deep sea, like hydrothermal vents and deep-sea coral,” he said. “I would like to research anywhere that’s deep, including here too. I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s deep enough.”

Faulk describes Coastal’s environmental science program as a “real tight-knit family.” When he first started at the College, he felt like there was so much ahead of him. As he got into his major, he began to feel like he was truly part of the group.

“That built my confidence and made me want to try new things. It’s been really successful, and it helps to have a lot of supportive friends. Whenever you get thrown into something new, you feel like the new kid on the block and you don’t know what to do. By the end of it, you’re like okay, this is family,” Faulk said.

His advice for his fellow students is to find an internship that fits your interest, as it can help you find your niche.

“On top of that, go out and talk with your professors. It helps narrow down what you want to do,” he said. “It’s been helpful with me and Dr. Takagi (assistant professor of environmental science). It was like, this is what I’m interested in, and now deep sea is where I’m trying to go.”

Going forward, Faulk will be attending the Georgia Water Resources Conference with Assistant Professor of Geology Dr. Robin McLachlan. He’ll also be pursuing a summer internship with STEMSEAS. STEAMSEAS provides a ship-based exploratory experience for undergraduates aboard research vessels. In addition, Faulk will be looking at both graduate and undergraduate positions in deep ocean science, and will continue to work on his book series. Outside of school, Faulk enjoys snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing.

Team Submarine can be found on Amazon.

Check out Faulk’s cool Team Submarine stickers here.