Scoping out Copepods

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Jonna Engström-Öst and Olivier Glippa examining net samples under the microscopes. Photo Credit: Meghan Shea

Among the biologists onboard the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown are Dr. Dr. Jonna Engström-Öst and Dr. Olivier Glippa from the Novia University of Applied Sciences in Finland. As we mentioned in another post, one of the zooplankton groups being examined on this cruise is copepods, small crustaceans of the subclass Copepoda. Continue reading “Scoping out Copepods”

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?”

The Scoop from the Zooplankton Nets

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Image Credit: Keister lab, University of Washington

Along with the CTD action you saw in Ring around the Rosette, many of our stations also involve lowering zooplankton nets into the water. Zooplankton are an incredibly diverse group of animals that float freely with the ocean’s currents; they range from tiny, microscopic larvae to giant, 50-ft long jellyfish (this video captures some of their amazing diversity). Continue reading “The Scoop from the Zooplankton Nets”

Marine Bacteria in a Changing Ocean

'Starry starry....oceans?' It is estimated that there are 100 million times as many bacteria in the oceans (13 × 1028) as there are stars in the known universe
‘Starry starry…. oceans?’ These aren’t stars; they’re marine bacteria stained with a fluorescent dye that makes them glow in ultraviolet light. It is estimated that there are 100 million times as many bacteria in the oceans (13 × 1028) as there are stars in the known universe. Image Credit: Linda Rhodes
Bill Nilsson and Linda Rhodes smiling on the deck of the Ronald H. Brown. Photo Credit: Meghan Shea
Bill Nilsson and Linda Rhodes smiling on the deck of the Ronald H. Brown. Photo Credit: Meghan Shea

Linda Rhodes and Bill Nilsson are scientists from the Marine Microbes and Toxins Program at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Their focus on this cruise is the little guys: the bacteria! Continue reading “Marine Bacteria in a Changing Ocean”

Creatures of the night

After a week to observe the ocean and put our nets in the water at various times, we have seen quite a different community of creatures at night than we do during the day. Granted it is trickier to see things like dolphins and whales at night, so those observations are expected to change. Continue reading “Creatures of the night”

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?”