Chalked on Pier 15 in front of the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown. Our sentiments exactly! Photo: Meg Chadsey

Our weekend at the San Francisco Exploratorium was a whirlwind of activity! The festivities began just minutes after the gangplank was lowered with presentations by cruise scientists in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory, followed by public demonstrations of zooplankton and toxic algae on the main floor. Meanwhile, sixteen new scientists (some from as far away as Finland!) scurried to load their gear onto the ship, while weary Leg 1 researchers stumbled off in search of lattes… Exploratorium high school interns, called ‘Explainers‘, were briefed on ocean acidification and its impacts by yours truly, then treated to a tour of the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown. Exploratorium Program Director Mary Miller said the weekend was “exactly what they dreamed of,” when they launched their partnership with NOAA, “research vessels docking at the Exploratorium, sharing what they do with our audiences, educators, and staff.”

The NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown approaches the Exploratorium Pier under sunny skies. Photo: Mary Miller
The ship pulls in at high noon–right on time! Photo: Meg Chadsey
NOAA PMEL Senior Scientist Richard Feely is ready to assume command of the mission! Photo: Meg Chadsey
“So how’ve things been so far?” Leg 1 scientists Martin Hernandez-Ayon, Dana Greeley and Julian Herndon chat with new arrivals while the crew readies the gangplank. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Chief Scientist Simone Alin is the first ashore. Note: a skirt and heels were not her daily attire! She’s on her way to give a presentation at the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Chief Scientist Simone Alin kicks off the public presentation about cruise research in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory. Photo: Meg Chadsey.
NOAA oceanographer Richard Feely explains how a new forecasting model called J-SCOPE will help scientists predict ocean chemistry along the West coast. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Pteropod expert Nina Bednarsek captivates the audience with her recent findings about the plight of these fragile creatures. Photo: Meg Chadsey
This model of the Exploratorium shows the locations of monitoring stations that measure atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The PMEL buoy monitors carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the air and seawater. Photo: Meg Chadsey
A glimpse of the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown from The Embarcadero along San Francisco’s waterfront, with NOAA PMEL’s CO2 monitoring buoy in the foreground. Photo: Meg Chadsey
The Exploratorium collection includes this plankton net, similar to the ones cruise scientists have been using to collect plankton samples. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Cruise scientist Nina Bednarsek and crew member Josh Gunter retrieving the Bongo nets after a nighttime tow in Mexican waters. Photo: Emma Hodgson
Pipettes at the ready, Lisette Mekkes and Nina Bednarsek prepare to collect pteropods from a fresh zooplankton sample. They’re looking for specimens to share with the public at the Exploratorium. Photo: Emma Hodgson
Lisette Mekkes and Nina Bednarsek give these Exploratorium guests their first look at live pteropods. Photo: Mary Miller
Nina Bednarsek turns the microscope monitor around so Exploratorium visitors can see her pteropods up close. Photo: Mary Miller
pic2_PlanktonTow Credit_MelissaWard
A magnified view of a plankton sample; the small snail-like creatures are pteropods. Photo: Melissa Ward
Cruise scientists are interested in why Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have become so prevalent along the West Coast. Here, NOAA researcher Brian Bill uses a ‘HABnet’ to collect phytoplankton. He’s looking for species of the harmful algae ‘Pseudo-nitzschia’. Photo: Emma Hodgson
pseudo-nitschia NOAA
‘Pseudo-nitzschia’, the harmful algae that shut down shellfish fisheries along the U.S. West Coast last year. Photo: NOAA Fisheries.
Charles Wingert, a graduate student in cruise scientist Bill Cochlan’s lab at San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center, talks to Exploratorium ‘Explainers’ (orange vests) and guests about the Pseudo-nitzschia cells he grew in the lab (yellow flask). Photo: Mary Miller
Undergraduate students Meghan Shea and Spencer Showalter explaining ocean acidification to Exploratorium visitors. They’re so excited to be joining the cruise! Photo: Meg Chadsey
NOAA microbiologist Linda Rhodes explaining her research to UC Santa Cruz Science Communication graduate student Brendan Bane while she waits to load her equipment onto the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Just one of several coolers full of supplies Leg 2 scientists had to load on board. Photo: Meg Chadsey
Captain Robert Kamphaus lead a tour of the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown for an enthusiastic crowd of Exploratorium ‘Explainers’ (high school interns). Photo: Rochelle Plutchack
A lucky group of Exploratorium interns visit the bridge of the largest research vessel in NOAA’s fleet. Photo: Rochelle Plutchack
A love note from the Exploratorium Explainers?…Photo: Meg Chadsey



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