Pterotomics: The Molecular Machinery of Pteropods

Kevin Johnson searches for pteropods in the sample collected from a net tow. Photo Credit: Meghan Shea
Kevin Johnson searches for pteropods in the sample collected from a net tow. Photo Credit: Meghan Shea

The nighttime bongo tows (see The Scoop from the Zooplankton Nets) provide a wealth of organisms for the biologists aboard the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown to study.  From krill and crabs to copepods and pteropods, researchers aboard the Brown are interested in one unifying question: How will ocean acidification change the distribution and abundance of these organisms? Continue reading “Pterotomics: The Molecular Machinery of Pteropods”

Harmful Algal Blooms: Why do we care?

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Chlorophyll along the West Coast during July 2015–the largest Harmful Algal bloom on record. Chlorophyll represents both toxic and non-toxic species. Photo Credit: NOAAClimate.gov

By now, you’ve heard of harmful algal blooms wreaking havoc along the California Current system. But what are these algal blooms actually doing that is so harmful? Continue reading “Harmful Algal Blooms: Why do we care?”

Daytime Visitors- Dolphins, Whales, and More Critters in Nets

After our previous post, ‘Creatures of the Night,’ we thought we would share with you some of the creatures we found during the day. Given we could see much better, these may be considerably more exciting than the plankton that turned up in our nighttime net tows (although I personally find the bizarre, microscopic world far more interesting). But I will let you be the judge!

Continue reading “Daytime Visitors- Dolphins, Whales, and More Critters in Nets”

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”