Oxygen, that thing we all need to breathe…

OxygenWe all do it subconsciously. Breathe in… Breathe out… We probably only really notice we are doing it when we get to the top of a flight of stairs, or when we go up in altitude and realize that the oxygen availability has changed, but we all know that oxygen is critical to life. Continue reading “Oxygen, that thing we all need to breathe…”

Land Legs

We arrived in San Francisco on Saturday (May 21) to drop some folks off and pick some new ones up. Seven scientists left the boat and sixteen new ones came onboard today. Those of us coming off the boat after 16 days at sea had some wobbly legs to start, and for those not used to the infamous ‘dock rock’ we were forewarned that you feel it most when you are in a confined space… Vertigo!

Continue reading “Land Legs”

The Bloom! The Blob! What’s happening in the Pacific Ocean?

I’m sure most of you heard about the largest-ever harmful algal bloom that occurred in the Pacific Ocean during the summer 2015, causing closures of razor clam, Dungeness crab and rock crab fisheries.  Many of the reports in the media led us to believe that the Bloom and the Blob were the same thing or that the Blob was feeding the Bloom, like the alien amoeba in the 1958 science fiction movie starring Steve McQueen called “The Blob.”  That movie gave me nightmares when I was a kid. Continue reading “The Bloom! The Blob! What’s happening in the Pacific Ocean?”

What does this all mean for the fish that I want to eat?

So far you have been learning a lot about the chemistry of our oceans and the microscopic critters that live in it. I thought it might be fun to take a step back and think a bit about what these changes may mean for the animals that we like to catch, eat, and observe. What is the impact of ocean change on larger sea creatures (such as fishes, whales, dolphins, and sea birds)? And how does what we are doing on this research cruise matter to them? Continue reading “What does this all mean for the fish that I want to eat?”

Ring Around the Rosette: The Science of Seawater Sampling

Taking CTD Samples offshore from Baja California Sur, Mexico. Photo credit: Melissa Ward

In the open ocean, water can be thousands of feet deep. When oceanographers need to test seawater from such depths, how do they get their samples? The most experienced divers can only go to a few hundred feet, and even then, a diver can only bring back as much seawater as he or she can carry.  Therefore, specialized equipment is needed in order to obtain samples from the deep ocean. A CTD rosette is often the equipment of choice for such a task. Continue reading “Ring Around the Rosette: The Science of Seawater Sampling”

Too much of a good thing: the CO2 story

The CO2 in this picture is dramatized at ~1 billion times its actual size. Note: real CO2 doesn’t have eyes.

Scientists are trained to prefer being correct over being clear, and humor is discouraged in research journals, so you might imagine you’ve just stumbled onto the most boring imaginable blog outside of a live-tweeting of continental drift.  I’ll be trying to forget my training for the moment, however.  Continue reading “Too much of a good thing: the CO2 story”

It’s called a test station for a very good reason…

Dolphins at sunset
Silver fish flash their greetings
Then we troubleshoot.

We left San Diego under nearly perfect conditions, with partly cloudy skies and lower winds than the previous few days.  We arrived at our test sampling station just about sunset, under the escort of our diminutive dolphin* guides.  Continue reading “It’s called a test station for a very good reason…”

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