30 July, 2002
Today has been an eventful day for me as I have talked with each member of the science service team. What an interesting group of people! Before I tell you a little bit about each of them and their work, let me tell you about two other exciting events that happened. One was on a rather large scale as someone noticed that the ice flow that the service team was trying to direct away from the CTD contained huge polar bear tracks! You could actually track the bearís movements from one end of the ice to the other. Iíll try to post the picture, but I think youíll have to work hard to see the tracks when itís that small. The other exciting biological event took place on a different scale. Do you remember Carinís work with grazing and egg production rates of copepods? Today, as she was observing one on her screen, it began laying eggs!! Everyone in the lab, even the chemists, watched as she produced a cluster of misshapen eggs. After a short period of time, the eggs will become round and, in about eight days, they will hatch.
Iíve already told you about Lou Codispoti (the journal for the 29th will be fixed soon), the science service team leader. Now let me tell you about the other members of this eight person team. Kristin Sanborn is a supervisor at the Oceanographic Data Facility of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, and she is in charge of the service team on this cruise from midnight to noon each day. Her team at the Oceanographic Data Facility does electronics, chemistry, and deep ocean CTD processing using WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment) standards for accuracy and precision of data. Members of her team are available to go wherever there is ocean research going on. On this cruise, Kristin is primarily responsible for processing the data from the CTD casts. As a result, she spends most of her time at her computer.
Carny Cheng is also working with the group from Scripps although he is currently an undergraduate student majoring in computer engineering at the University of California, San Diego. His job on this cruise is to prepare the CTD and to sample and analyze the CTD water for dissolved oxygen.
Another member of the Scripps team that is here is Doug Masten. When not working on a cruise, Doug is the manager of the chemistry lab at the Oceanographic Data Facility. Every time a service cast comes up, Doug collects water from every bottle (different depths) for nutrient analysis (phosphate, silicate, nitrate, ammonium, urea, and nitrite). This is important because, as Doug said, the nutrients in the water are like fertilizer in your garden, and the scientists want to know whatís available at different depths and at different stations. Dougís work takes him out on three Ė four cruises each year; he is sometimes gone for six months during the year. In addition, he told me it might take up to two months just to prepare for a cruise.
The final member of the Scripps team on our cruise is Rob Palomares, the CTD/bottle rosette technician on board. Rob is responsible for, as he puts it, the ďcare and feeding of the rosette.Ē Any maintenance that must be done, whether it be the bottles, the computer, or the rosette itself, Rob will work on it. He also draws samples to run through the salinometer to analyze for salt in the water. At Scripps, he is a senior electronics technician.
Dean Stockwell who is on the research faculty of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is the phytoplankton man on board. He does a chlorophyll analysis from each shallow CTD cast and from each productivity cast, His work gives us an idea of how the phytoplankton are distributed throughout the water column (different depths). Remember that the phytoplankton are the producers of the oceans. They use sunlight to turn the carbon of CO2 into a form that animals can use. They are obviously a critical part of the carbon cycle! Another piece of Deanís work is looking at diatoms (a type of phytoplankton) in the sediments (muds at the bottom). He can separate the chlorophyll from living phytoplankton from the chlorophyll that comes from dead phytoplankton (phaeochlorophyll) to get an idea of how many phytoplankton die and fall to the bottom. He can also use this analysis to get an idea of the geological history of the sediments.
Emily Cooper, like Carny, is on her first trip above the Arctic Circle.. She is a faculty research assistant at the University of Maryland. She does the same work that Doug Masten does (nutrient analysis with the auto analyzer) although she does it on a different shift. She was a biology major with a concentration in environmental science as an undergraduate.
John Gunn monitors the ADCP, the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, and also helps with the CTD. There are two transducers on the bottom of the ship that send pings into the water at the rate of 1/second. A computer program has been set up to listen for the return echoes and to measure all the components of velocity in order to calculate the speed of the currents beneath the ship. Johnís job is to monitor the equipment, do the final corrections for the turns made by the ship, and arrive at a corrected velocity. John is a physical oceanographer who works for the Earth and Space Research Facility in Seattle, Washington.
This is a highly skilled and extremely important group of people! They work around the clock to provide the most current data possible to the scientists who are conducting their individual research.
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