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”

Sampling the Columbia River Plume

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Ensign Lydia Ames captions our entry into the Columbia River. Photo Credit: Bill Nilsson

The Columbia River is particularly important to unraveling the dynamics of coastal ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest because it brings waters with elevated temperatures and oxygen concentrations and lower salinities, pH values, and aragonite saturation states compared to open ocean waters into the coastal environment. Continue reading “Sampling the Columbia River Plume”

The Scoop from the Zooplankton Nets

http://faculty.washington.edu/jkeister/index.php
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”

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”

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?”

Pteropod Experiments in a Mobile Laboratory

It all starts with the idea, a hypothesis really, that we are interested to know about the system of our investigation. The subjects of our investigation are pelagic calcifiers called pteropods (also sometimes called “sea butterflies”), that are put in an experimental setup in which we control a variety of different physical and chemical conditions. Continue reading “Pteropod Experiments in a Mobile Laboratory”

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?”