Synergy in the Near-Shore

Three federal agencies partnered to sample this section of the Olympic coast on June 1. Image Credit: OCNMS
Three federal agencies partnered to sample this section of the Olympic coast on June 1. Image Credit: OCNMS (click for a larger view).

Early Wednesday morning, the NOAA Ship Ronald Brown reached Station 120, within spitting distance (for a ship) of Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the continental United States. After collecting samples by starlight, the ship swung round and headed south, back towards the wild stretch of Washington coastline that is recognized for its extraordinary natural history by three federal designations – the Washington Islands National Wildlife Refuges, Olympic National Park (ONP) and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS). Continue reading “Synergy in the Near-Shore”

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Farewell San Francisco!

The NOAA Ship Ronald Brown left the Exploratorium dock Monday afternoon. Our collaborator Bill Cochlan shared these photos of the ship leaving the Bay, and the new at-sea blog coordinators Spencer Showalter and Meghan Shea put together a short video that perfectly captures the excitement of young scientists heading to sea!

Explora-palooza!

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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… Continue reading “Explora-palooza!”

pHretting over pH

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Acidity is measured on the pH scale. This scale can be a bit counter-intuitive, since the pH value decreases as acidity increases. Click on the image above to learn why. Credit: NOAA PMEL.

If you’ve ever measured the pH of your swimming pool, you understand that a proper pH range is important for anyone going into water. You wouldn’t want to swim in your own pool if the pH was not in a safe range for you. It is no different for the plants and animals that make their homes in the oceans. Continue reading “pHretting over pH”

Eyes in the Sky

[Alternative Title (with apologies to the late David Bowie): Space Oddity Oceanography]

Did you know that in addition to working in the field and laboratory, there are oceanographers that use satellites to study the ocean from space?

Satellite image of the WCOA2016 cruise off Baja California, Mexico (ship not to scale). Image credit: Joint Polar Satellite System
Satellite image of the WCOA2016 cruise off Baja California, Mexico (ship not to scale). Image credit: Joint Polar Satellite System

Satellites can provide information about regions of the ocean where direct measurements aren’t possible or regular, and help with the identification of global trends and seasonal changes in the surface ocean. From satellite information, scientists can analyze sea surface temperature, measure surface winds to support weather forecasts, determine sea surface salinity and measure how much sediment and plant life is in the water. Continue reading “Eyes in the Sky”

Next stop, San Francisco!

Pier 15 at the Exploratorium; NOAA seawater chemistry monitoring buoy in the foreground. Photo: Mary Miller
Pier 15 at the Exploratorium; NOAA seawater chemistry monitoring buoy in the foreground. Photo: Mary Miller

The NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown will be making a mid-cruise pit stop tomorrow in San Francisco! We’ll spend just under 24 hours tied up at Pier 15, right outside the Exploratorium science museum’s Fisher Bay Observatory. Continue reading “Next stop, San Francisco!”

Carbonate: The Building Block of Marine Life

Seashells use calcium carbonate to build their shells. Photo Credit: Melissa Ward

Next time you are walking along a beach, pay attention to how many unique types of shells you see: scallops, gastropods (snails), oysters, pteropods, and many other marine organisms rely on shells for protection and housing. Just as humans build our homes from brick and wood, these marine organisms build their homes out of a chemical compound called calcium carbonate. Continue reading “Carbonate: The Building Block of Marine Life”

Visit the cruise Photo Gallery!

We’ve created a West Coast OA Cruise Photo Gallery to house some of our favorite images. We’ll post a variety of pictures here: candid photos of the folks on board the Ron Brown, data collection action shots, views from the ship, critters we pull up in the nets, and more. New photos will be added regularly, so visit often. Continue reading “Visit the cruise Photo Gallery!”

Acidifying Seas – Investigating OA impacts in the intertidal zone

Looking North along the intertidal zone at the very tip of Point Loma, in Cabrillo National Monument. Photo: Johnny Jones
Looking North along the intertidal zone of Cabrillo National Monument, at the very tip of Point Loma. Photo: Johnny Jones
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Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma; intertidal samples were collected samples from the tidepool beach on the lower left. Credit: National Park Service.

If the scientists unloading onto the Ron Brown had taken a moment to look up from their boxes of equipment yesterday, they might have noticed a small Navy vessel cruising past the Point Loma Light Station. Continue reading “Acidifying Seas – Investigating OA impacts in the intertidal zone”