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  • richardmitnick 3:27 pm on March 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Mapping the deep dark seafloor, Marine Geophysics, , Microbial Science, Oceanography, , The Ship's Doctor, The Ship’s Captain, Vessel construction, Voyage Management,   

    From CSIROscope: Women In STEM-“Seafaring superstars: Six women shining on our national science ship” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    8 March 2019
    Kate Cranney

    1
    Toni Moate lead the construction of the massive research vessel, Investigator. Image: Chris McKay

    This International Women’s Day, we’d like you to meet the talented women on board our research vessel Investigator.

    Investigator travels from the tropical north to the Antarctic ice-edge, delivering up to 300 research days a year. And on each voyage you’ll find female scientists, ship’s crew and support staff answering big questions, whether they’re studying ancient microbes or they’re ensuring the health and well-being of the people on board.

    The six women you’ll meet include an oceanographer, a doctor, a marine geophysicist, a voyage manager, a captain and—last boat not least!—a leader who oversaw the construction of the ship itself. Some of these women knew, when they were young, that science floated their boat. Others took a more sea-nic route. But one thing’s for shore: they’re all smart, adventurous, competent, courageous and hard-working.

    So steady your sea legs, you bunch of landlubbers, and let’s meet the women on board!

    Martina Doblin studies the first organisms on the planet
    2
    Martina Doblin studies microscopic organisms called microbes – the first organisms on the planet. Image: Doug Thost

    “When I was studying in Hobart I had the opportunity to volunteer on a voyage to Antarctica. I was really moved to see this pristine part of the planet. It changed me. I came back and the world looked different. I knew I’d chosen the right career path.”

    Martina is a biological oceanographer. She looks at microscopic organisms called microbes—the first organisms on the planet. As she points out, “If there were no microbes on the planet there’d be no people!” It’s important science, especially in the face of a changing climate: Martina seeks to understand what climate change and a warmer ocean will mean for these microbes.

    Martina has been on Investigator several times, including as the ship’s Chief Scientist. For Martina, “the Chief Scientist helps to make sure the scientists leave the ship with the data that they need to solve the big questions.”

    But it’s not just about her science. “I’ve been able to train several female biological oceanographers, which has been really satisfying, partly because it’s still a pretty male-dominated profession,” she says. “For young female scientists, it’s a very empowering thing to be able to do experiments on a big ship, to work at sea and use the equipment. It can be life changing”. Learn more about tiny organisms and big voyages!

    Fun fact: Martina’s identical twin also works in environmental science—she’s a plant biologist!

    Sheri Newman is the Ship’s Doctor, dentist, physiotherapist, counsellor…
    3
    Dr Sheri Newman was a ship doctor during a voyage to Antarctica, aboard RV Investigator.

    “As the Ship’s Doctor, I have to be the doctor, the dentist, the physiotherapist, the mental health counsellor and of course all the science roles. It’s a huge responsibility and one that I cherish.”

    When Sheri Newman was young, she knew she wanted to be a doctor and a surgeon. Jump ahead to 2016, and Sheri is a doctor and a surgeon. In Australia, women accounted for 50 per cent of all medical graduates, but women make up just 12 per cent of all surgeons—the smallest proportion of any medical speciality.

    But Sheri was resolute. “Going through the training is particularly intense, brutal even! The hours you have to put in, the mental and physical fatigue, can be quite a difficult and challenging career.” Mid-way through her training, Sheri decided that she “hadn’t had enough adventure” in her life at that point, so she took a year off and went to Antarctica as medical officer. “The experience was incredible.”

    The Antarctic experience got under skin. After her time on Investigator, she decided to become a wilderness doctor. She’s since been the Ship’s Doctor on many vessels in remote and exciting locations: she’s been to more than 17 countries, as a doctor, medical student and intrepid traveller.

    “[Through my work] I get the opportunity to work in a place that’s so isolated and so untouched … And my role is so varied: I get to be around the science crew, to be involved in what they do. And there are fabulous vistas … and whales! It’s truly special.”

    Tara Martin maps the deep, dark, mysterious seafloor
    4
    Tara Martin’s work links her back to the explorers: she maps the deep dark seafloor, as a marine geophysicist aboard RV Investigator.

    “I get immense satisfaction in my job. It’s not a normal job—I like that.”

    Tara is a marine geophysicist. She maps the deep ravines, plateaus and peaks of our uncharted seafloor, up to 11 000m below the ocean’s surface.

    “We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the sea floor … Australia has the third largest ocean zone in the word, and we’ve only mapped 25 per cent of it,” she explains. Each time Investigator goes to sea, Tara’s team maps more of this underwater world. Recently, Tara’s team revealed a diverse chain of volcanic seamounts located in deep water about 400km east of Tasmania. “Our job links us back to the explorers,” she remarks.

    But Tara wasn’t always so keen on science. “It wasn’t until I was much older that I looked at changes of career [and studied marine geophysics]. I didn’t know what physics was before then … so I worked hard at university. I worked really, really hard!”

    When she started working, life at sea wasn’t as female-friendly as it is now. “Over my 20 year career, I’ve certainly experienced moments where I’ve not been allowed to do work that my male colleagues were doing out on the back-deck, because I’m a woman. Things have changed.”

    Working at sea isn’t for everyone: Tara talks of long shifts, seven days a week. But then, she says, she’ll get to work with cutting edge science, or someone will make an exciting new discovery. For Tara, “Those are the moments you go to sea for!”

    Tegan Sime keeps the voyage science on course
    5
    Tegan Sime is a Voyage Manager aboard RV Investigator. She keeps the crew and scientists singing from the same sea-shanty songbook.

    “I’ve never really followed the same path as everybody else. Being a late bloomer isn’t necessarily a bad thing … I’ve just taken my time to really figure out what I want to do. And I’m there now. I’ve got a great job, a great career, and I love it.”

    When Tegan finished Year 12, she didn’t know what she wanted to do, so she volunteered at a sailing school. She loved the adrenaline and excitement of sailing, so volunteered on Young Endeavour. It was her first taste of tall ship sailing. “Being out on the middle of the ocean, in the quiet, on a creaky ship that was designed hundreds of years ago—there’s a romance to it. And it was so much fun! I just loved it.”

    At 23, Tegan was eager to study marine biology at university, but she hadn’t done so well the first time around at school. Determined, she did Year 12 again, got her high school certificate, started university, and did her honours aboard our former research vessel, Southern Surveyor.

    Years on, Tegan is a Voyage Manager on Investigator. She is the key liaison between the crew of the ship and the scientists—she brings their work together. She also plays a key role in the mood of the people aboard the ship: “I guess I’m a bit of an amateur counsellor and I try to help people get through the tougher times when we’re out there.”

    There’s no typical day at sea. She tells a story about her recent birthday. “We were down near the ice-edge in the Antarctic. I woke up at 3am, it was pitch black, but when I peeked through my curtains I could see the Aurora lighting up the sky! I raced up the bridge and there were a couple of people taking photos and footage, and they all started singing happy birthday to me under the Aurora. It was a really special experience.”

    Madeleine Habib is the captain of our ship (aye, aye!)
    6
    Madeleine Habib is a Ship’s Captain. She is part of a very small group of women seafarers in Australia: less than 1% of the workforce.

    “I am drawn to working on ships that have a purpose—I want my work to have purpose. Being a captain…it’s not always easy. There are times when you are literally making decisions that affect the survival of the people on board the vessel.”

    Madeleine is a Ship’s Captain. She began her seafaring career at 22: “I was enchanted—suddenly I’d found this mix between a physical and mental challenge and I felt really confident that that’s what I wanted to pursue.” But she had to break down some entrenched gender biases. “Everybody just assumed I was a cook, and I really resented that—just because I was a young woman on a boat, that shouldn’t be the only role open to me. So when I returned to Australia, I went for my first Captain’s licence. I wanted to be taken seriously in the maritime industry.”

    Women currently represent less than 1 per cent of the total number of seafarers in Australia. Madeleine is part of this pioneering group. “To young women I’d like to say that a life at sea is a viable career. It’s so important to believe in your own potential, and only be limited by your own imagination.”

    Toni Moate oversaw the building of our world-class research vessel Investigator
    7
    Toni Moate stands proud in front of Investigator. She oversaw the creation of this $120 million state-of-the-art research vessel.

    “Like many women, when I was first offered the opportunity to lead the project, I didn’t think I had the skill set. Now, when I see the Investigator, I feel incredible pride.”

    Not many people can say they were responsible for building Australia’s biggest state-of-the-art research vessel.

    In 2009, Toni was chosen to lead the build of Investigator. She spent the next five years propelling the creation of the $120 million ship. It took 3 million (wo)man hours, and some tense discussions in a male-dominated industry to build the ship. Toni is so familiar with Investigator that it “feels like I’m walking around my house!”

    Toni left school at 15, at the end of Year 10. At that stage, she’d never left Tasmania. She went into the public service, and hoped to be a secretary one day.

    Through her leadership role with the ship-build project, she’s shown her young daughters “that women can do a lot more than they think they can do.” As Toni says, “My daughters took away a lot of life lessons—I think they learned that hard work pays off; that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. They feel as proud of that ship as I do.”

    And we couldn’t be prouder of Toni. In 2017, she was awarded the Tasmanian Telstra Business Woman of the Year. She is now our Director, National Collections & Marine Infrastructure. Her ambit includes RV Investigator, so she can still step on board and walk around her second home!

    Women and science—why do we need to rock the boat?

    If we’re going to build a healthy, prosperous Australia, we need all of the talented women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) to be part of the team.

    But women in STEMM face a number of barriers in their careers, some obvious, some covert. In STEMM fields, only 18 per cent of leadership positions are held by women. Since the 1980s, more than half of all students graduating with a Bachelor of Science or a life science PhD are women, but women make up less than 20 per cent of lead researchers at senior levels in universities and research institutes.

    So what are we doing to get more women on board … and on boards?

    So what are we doing to address gender equity?

    We’re part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot and the Male Champions of Change (MCC) initiative.

    We were one of the first cohort members of Australia’s SAGE Athena Swan pilot program, and were recently awarded an Institutional Bronze Award. And we’re continuing to roll out our SAGE Action Plan, designed to drive systemic, long-term change towards gender equity within our organisation. You can read it here.

    And it’s not just an internal mission. We’re also addressing gender inequality in the research and projects that we deliver in developing nations.
    Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on March 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Eva Lincoln, For 10 weeks Lincoln was immersed in hands-on oceanographic research as a SURF student working under Dr. Susanne Menden-Deuer professor at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and a leading expert , Lincoln presented her research on single-cell herbivores or ‘microzooplankton’ at the annual SURF conference this past July. For her work she was honored by Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan , Oceanography, SURF-Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, The data collected will help scientists on board better understand how quickly plankton- the base of the marine food web- grow and die, The RV Endeavor the University of Rhode Island’s research vessel, , With SURF you are in the middle of a research lab learning all sorts of techniques and interacting with faculty graduate students and post-docs,   

    From University of Rhode Island: Women in STEM- “Ways of the Ocean Scientist” Eva Lincoln 

    From University of Rhode Island

    3.4.19
    No writer credit

    1
    Eva Lincoln (left) prepares plankton samples aboard the R/V Endeavor with Dr. Gayantonia Franze and undergraduate Anna Ward. Photo: Miraflor Santos/WHOI

    This past summer, Eva Lincoln was working in an unfamiliar place: a boat at the edge of the continental shelf, facing 12-foot swells and waking up at 2 a.m. to process water samples with tiny specks of phytoplankton in them. And she loved it.

    “Sleep was relative,” laughs Lincoln, a senior at Rhode Island College. “Our daily routine was, once we got to a station, to take water samples from the CTD (an instrument to measure salinity, temperature and depth profiles in the ocean), and place these water samples in our incubator. It was our job to make sure everything got done on time and that we handled the samples carefully.”

    For 10 weeks, Lincoln was immersed in hands-on, oceanographic research as a SURF student, working under Dr. Susanne Menden-Deuer, professor at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and a leading expert on plankton ecology.

    “She gave me the reins and said, ‘I want you to figure out what aspects of oceanography you find interesting, and then we can build a project from there,’” says Lincoln.

    At the end of her SURF experience, Lincoln was invited by Menden-Deuer to conduct research aboard the R/V Endeavor.

    The RV Endeavor, the University of Rhode Island’s research vessel. Photo courtesy of the Inner Space Center

    Working with a fellow undergraduate, Lincoln filtered the water samples over 24-hour and then 12-hour periods in order to achieve the most accurate chlorophyll readings. The data collected will help scientists on board better understand how quickly plankton, the base of the marine food web, grow and die.

    “It is a privilege to provide students with the opportunity to explore their own research interests, and Eva’s experience was the real thing,” notes Menden-Deuer. “With access to the high-caliber research environment at GSO, students like Eva quickly attain a high degree of proficiency, and as oceanographers, we gain a new colleague with a unique perspective.”

    2
    Eva explains her summer research at the annual SURF Conference to RI Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor and Christine Smith, Managing Director of Innovation at RI Commerce. Photo: Michael Salerno/URI

    Functioning as a researcher on board a ship was an entirely separate, and important, lesson for Lincoln.

    “At the dock, we had to make sure we had all of the equipment needed,” she explains. “On the first day we had to get up super early, and I was so sick. I had to go back to bed. There is so much that goes into not just the actual science, but preparing for the cruise.”

    The fourth-year RIC student, who also tutors anatomy and physiology at the Community College of Rhode Island, has always had a deeply inquisitive mind, and wanted to know more about plankton interactions in marine food webs.

    “I have always been the pain in the butt kid who asks, ‘Why does that happen?’” she says. ““Plankton are an essential part of the food web and are eaten by so many things. If you add more nutrients to the phytoplankton, does that make them happier and therefore better food for the zooplankton?”

    Dr. Sarah Knowlton, Lincoln’s advisor and chair of physical sciences at RIC, first suggested SURF as a possible research experience, meeting with the undergraduate this past spring to guide her through the application process.

    “With SURF, you are in the middle of a research lab, learning all sorts of techniques and interacting with faculty, graduate students and post-docs,” explains Knowlton. “The experience really builds confidence, and that students can cross institutions and see how things go is so valuable.”

    Lincoln presented her research on single-cell herbivores, or ‘microzooplankton,’ at the annual SURF conference this past July. For her work, she was honored by Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor at July’s SURF Conference for producing outstanding research.

    The RIC senior knows that she loves the environment and chemistry. Now, Lincoln’s focus is getting accepted to the best-fitting graduate program.

    “You get that little taste of what it is going to be like when you go to graduate school through SURF,” she emphasizes. “I can’t wait to be in graduate school myself.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Rhode Island is a diverse and dynamic community whose members are connected by a common quest for knowledge.

    As a major research university defined by innovation and big thinking, URI offers its undergraduate, graduate, and professional students distinctive educational opportunities designed to meet the global challenges of today’s world and the rapidly evolving needs of tomorrow. That’s why we’re here.

    The University of Rhode Island, commonly referred to as URI, is the flagship public research as well as the land grant and sea grant university for the state of Rhode Island. Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston in southern Rhode Island. Additionally, smaller campuses include the Feinstein Campus in Providence, the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence, the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.

    The university offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees in 80 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study through eight academic colleges. These colleges include Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Professional Studies, Engineering, Health Sciences, Environment and Life Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy. Another college, University College for Academic Success, serves primarily as an advising college for all incoming undergraduates and follows them through their first two years of enrollment at URI.

    The University enrolled about 13,600 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students in Fall 2015.[2] U.S. News & World Report classifies URI as a tier 1 national university, ranking it tied for 161st in the U.S.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:08 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Oceanography, One year into the mission autonomous ocean robots set a record in survey of Antarctic ice shelf, The first self-guided ocean robots to successfully travel under an ice sheet and return to report long-term observations,   

    From University of Washington: “One year into the mission, autonomous ocean robots set a record in survey of Antarctic ice shelf” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    January 23, 2019
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    A Seaglider, with the Getz Ice Shelf in the background, being prepared for deployment in January 2018 under the neighboring Dotson Ice Shelf.Jason Gobat/University of Washington

    A team of ocean robots deployed in January 2018 have, over the past year, been the first self-guided ocean robots to successfully travel under an ice sheet and return to report long-term observations.

    Beyond mere survival, the robotic mission — a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Korean Polar Research Institute and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation — has ventured 18 times under the ice shelf, repeatedly reaching more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) into the cavity, among the farthest trips yet into this treacherous environment.

    2
    The instruments’ travel routes over the past year. Pink, orange and yellow tracks show the three self-navigating Seagliders. Teal tracks show the drifting floats. The background is a satellite image of Dotson Ice Shelf captured Feb. 28.Luc Rainville/University of Washington

    “This is the first time any of the modern, long-endurance platforms have made sustained measurements under an ice shelf,” said Craig Lee, a UW professor of oceanography and member of the Applied Physics Laboratory. “We made extensive measurements inside the cavity. Gliders were able to navigate at will to survey the cavity interior, while floats rode ocean currents to access the cavity interior.

    “It’s a major step forward,” Lee added. “This is the first time we’ve been able to maintain a persistent presence over the span of an entire year.”

    The project funded by Paul G. Allen Family Foundation seeks to demonstrate the technology and gather more data from the underside of ice shelves that are buttressing the much larger ice sheets. Direct observations of how warmer seawater interacts with the underside of ice shelves would improve models of ice sheet dynamics in Antarctica and Greenland, which hold the biggest unknowns for global sea level rise.

    “Some ice sheets terminate in large ice shelves that float out over the ocean, and those act as a buttress,” Lee said. “If the ice shelves collapse or weaken, due to oceanic melting, for example, the ice sheets behind them may accelerate toward the sea, increasing the rate of sea level rise.”

    3
    This sketch shows how three self-driving Seagliders and four drifting floats tracked conditions below an Antarctic ice shelf. Inside these caves, warmer saltwater flows in on the bottom, carrying heat which may eat away at the ice, and fresher glacial meltwater flows out above. University of Washington

    “Most of the uncertainty in global sea level rise predictions for decades to centuries is from ice sheets, which could contribute from 1 foot to as much as 6 feet by 2100,” said Pierre Dutrieux, a research professor of oceanography at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “A key driver is interaction with the ocean heat and these new tools open tantalizing perspectives to improve on current understanding.”

    The mission set out in late 2017 to test a new approach for gathering data under an ice shelf, and on Jan. 24, 2018, devices were dropped from the Korean icebreaker R/V Araon. This week, two self-navigating Seagliders reached the milestone of one year of continuous operation around and under the ice shelf.

    Robot submarines operated by the British Antarctic Survey, known as Autosub3 and Boaty McBoatface, successfully completed 24- to 48-hour voyages in 2009, 2014 and 2018. These missions surveyed similar distances into the cavity but sampled over shorter periods due to the need for a ship support.

    4
    A drifting robot known as an Electro-Magnetic Autonomous Profiling Explorer, or EM-APEX, is lowered into the ocean. This is one of four floats that traveled with currents under the Dotson Ice Shelf.Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

    By contrast, the U.S.-based team’s technology features smaller, lighter devices that can operate on their own for more than a year without any ship support. The group’s experimental technique first moored three acoustic beacons to the seafloor to allow navigation under the ice shelf. It then sent three Seagliders, swimming robots developed and built at the UW, to use preprogrammed navigation systems to travel under the ice shelf to collect data.

    The mission also deployed four UW-developed EM-APEX floating instruments that drift with the currents at preselected depths above the bottom, or below the top of the cavity, while periodically bobbing up and down to collect more data. All four of these drifting instruments successfully traveled deep under the ice shelf with the heavier, saltier water near the seafloor. Three were flushed out with fresh meltwater near the top of the ice cavity about six to eight weeks later. One float remained under for much longer, only to reappear Jan. 5.

    During the past year, the fleet of robots has reached several milestones:

    A Seaglider reached a maximum distance of 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the edge beneath Dotson Ice Shelf in West Antarctica;
    The Seagliders made a total of 18 trips into the cavity, with the longest trip totaling 140 kilometers (87 miles) of travel under the shelf;
    The Seagliders also made 30 surveys along the face of the ice shelf;
    After one year, two out of three Seagliders are reporting back;
    In the current Southern Hemisphere summer, one of the Seagliders has gone back under the ice shelf and has completed two roughly 100-kilometer (62-mile) journeys;
    Another Seaglider will begin its second year of sampling at the face of the ice shelf;
    Three drifting floats journeyed under the Dotson Ice Shelf and back out in early 2018;
    After 11 months under the ice, the fourth float reported home in mid-January 2019 close to the neighboring Crosson Ice Shelf.

    Researchers are now analyzing the data for future publication, to better understand how seawater interacts with the ice shelves and improve models of ice sheet behavior.


    Four months of data show three Seagliders dropped from the ship in late January, then traveling toward the Dotson Ice Shelf (white). Two Seagliders (pink and orange) venture under the ice sheet in summer, while a third (yellow) samples along the face. The gliders then spend the colder months sampling along the ice sheet’s edge. Meanwhile, the drifting floats are dropped closer to the ice edge in late February. The teal tracks show how they drift under the ice sheet and then get flushed out in late March. A fourth float drifted to the right of this image, reaching a neighboring ice sheet.

    Other members of the team are Knut Christianson, a UW assistant professor of Earth and space sciences who is currently in Antarctica on a separate project; Jason Gobat, Luc Rainville and James Girton at the Applied Physics Laboratory; and the Korean Polar Research Institute, or KOPRI.

    ###

    For more information on the Seaglider component, contact Lee at craiglee@uw.edu or 206-685-7656; on the drifting floats, contact Girton at girton@uw.edu; and for more general questions, contact Dutrieux at pierred@ldeo.columbia.edu or 845-365-8393.

    Images and video are available for download at http://bit.ly/AntarcticRobotsOneYear.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AMP-Adaptable Monitoring Package, , Oceanography, R/V Light,   

    From University of Washington: “Underwater sensors for monitoring sea life (and where to find them)” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    December 13, 2018
    Sarah McQuate

    1
    Paul Gibbs, a mechanical engineer at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, inspects the newest Adaptable Monitoring Package, or AMP, before a test in a saltwater pool. AMPs host a series of sensors that allow researchers to continuously monitor animals underwater.Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

    Harvesting power from the ocean, through spinning underwater turbines or bobbing wave-energy converters, is an emerging frontier in renewable energy.

    Researchers have been monitoring how these systems will affect fish and other critters that swim by. But with most available technology, scientists can get only occasional glimpses of what’s going on below.

    So a team at the University of Washington created a mechanical eye under the ocean’s surface, called an Adaptable Monitoring Package, or AMP, that could live near renewable-energy sites and use a series of sensors to continuously watch nearby animals. On Dec. 13, the researchers put the newest version of the AMP into the waters of Seattle’s Portage Bay for two weeks of preliminary testing before a more thorough analysis is conducted in Sequim, Washington.

    “The big-picture goal of the AMP when it started was to try to collect the environmental data necessary to tell what the risks of marine energy were,” said Brian Polagye, a UW associate professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center, a research collaboration between the UW, Oregon State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “But we ended up with a system that can do so much more. It’s more of an oceanographic Universal Serial Bus. This is a backbone, and you can plug whatever sensors you want into it.”

    2
    3
    Paul Gibbs and mechanical engineering doctoral student Emma Cotter watch the newest AMP during a preliminary test in a saltwater pool. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

    The newest member of the AMP family has the biggest variety of sensors yet, including an echosounder, which uses sonar to detect schools of fish. It also will contain the standard set of instruments that all previous AMPs have supported, including a stereo camera to collect photos and video, a sonar system, hydrophones to hear marine mammal activity and sensors to gauge water quality and speed. This new system also does more processing in real time than its predecessors.

    “We want the computer to not just collect data, but actually distinguish what it sees,” said Emma Cotter, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering. “For example, we’d like to program it to automatically save images if sea turtles swim by the AMP.”

    This new AMP will get its first taste of life outside while hanging off the UW Applied Physics Laboratory‘s research dock. That way, the team can check all the sensors for any potential problems before the AMP goes to the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim for a suite of tests.

    “We’re going to be looking at quite a few different questions in Sequim,” Cotter said. “First we’ll look at how well we can track and detect fish. Then once a small tidal turbine is deployed, we’ll be monitoring that. Will we be able to discriminate targets close to it or detect animals interacting with the turbine?”

    4
    The wave-powered AMP (top left) after nearly two months of operation at the Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.University of Washington

    The team also has developed additional AMPs that are more specific to other types of oceanographic research. Since early October, an AMP has been surveying sea life off the coast of Hawaii while riding aboard a yellow metal ring, called the BOLT Lifesaver, through a partnership with the Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, University of Hawaii and the company Fred. Olsen.

    “They were interested in what happens if whales and sea turtles encounter the mooring lines that connect the Lifesaver to the seabed,” Cotter said. “The best way to answer that question is with an AMP.”

    The Lifesaver is a wave-energy converter — a device that converts the bobbing of waves into electricity — that powers this AMP. And for the days when the sea is calm, the team powers the AMP from a battery.

    “This is the first example of using wave energy to power oceanographic sensors,” Polagye said. “Previously people have collected wave energy and sent it back to shore. But this AMP is completely self-reliant. Marine energy is not just coming in the far future. It’s happening right now.”

    The research group is also working on a vessel-based version of the AMP, which will ride aboard APL’s newest research vessel, the R/V Light.

    6
    R/V Light

    The team plans to test tidal turbines on the boat, so the vessel-based AMP will let the researchers see if anything happens to fish that are close by.

    Now the team hopes to commercialize the AMP platform through a UW spinout company called MarineSitu. That way people can purchase AMPs with sensor packages that are specific to their research goals.

    Other members of the AMP team include Andy Stewart, assistant director of defense and industry programs at APL; Robert Cavagnaro, Paul Gibbs and James Joslin, mechanical engineers at APL; and Paul Murphy and Corey Crisp, research engineers in the UW mechanical engineering department. This research was funded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center and the U.S. DOE Water Power Technologies Office. Emma Cotter is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:21 pm on December 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Huge previously-undetected coral reef off US East Coast, Oceanography,   

    From The Conversation: “Deepwater corals thrive at the bottom of the ocean, but can’t escape human impacts” 

    Conversation
    From The Conversation

    December 3, 2018
    Sandra Brooke

    When people think of coral reefs, they typically picture warm, clear waters with brightly colored corals and fishes. But other corals live in deep, dark, cold waters, often far from shore in remote locations. These varieties are just as ecologically important as their shallow water counterparts. They also are just as vulnerable to human activities like fishing and energy production.

    7
    Deep sea corals off Florida. Image via NOAA.

    Earlier this year I was part of a research expedition conducted by the Deep Search project, which is studying little-known deep-sea ecosystems off the southeast U.S. coast. We were exploring areas that had been mapped and surveyed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research ship Okeanos.

    1
    Map of target areas to be surveyed during the first phase of the Deepwater Atlantic Habitats II study, DEEP SEARCH, including seep targets. USGS image.

    2
    NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

    NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is the only federal vessel dedicated to exploring our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge about the deep ocean. The ship is operated by the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and civilians as part of NOAA’s fleet managed by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. Mission equipment is operated by NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research in partnership with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration .

    Missions of the 224-foot vessel include mapping, site characterization, reconnaissance, advancing technology, education, and outreach—all focused on understanding, managing, and protecting our ocean. Expeditions are planned collaboratively, with input from partners and stakeholders, and with the goal of providing data that will benefit NOAA, the scientific community, and the public.

    During Okeanos Explorer expeditions, data are collected using a variety of advanced technologies to explore and characterize unknown or poorly known deepwater ocean areas, features, and phenomena at depths ranging from 250 to 6,000 meters (820 to 19,700 feet). The ship is equipped with four different types of mapping sonars that collect high-resolution data about the seafloor and the water column, a dual-body remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of diving to depths of 6,000 meters, and a suite of other instruments to help characterize the deep ocean. Expeditions typically consist of either 24-hour mapping operations or a combination of daytime ROV dives and overnight mapping operations.

    In an area 160 miles off South Carolina we deployed Alvin, a three-person research submersible, to explore some features revealed during the mapping.

    4
    Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin is part of the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF). Alvin enables in-situ data collection and observation by two scientists to depths reaching 4,500 meters, during dives lasting up to ten hours.

    What the scientists aboard Alvin found was a huge “forest” of coldwater corals. I went down on the second dive in this area and saw another dense coral ecosystem. These were just two features in a series that covered about 85 miles, in water nearly 2,000 feet deep. This unexpected find shows how much we still have to learn about life on the ocean floor.


    Scientists from the August 2018 Deep Search expedition discuss the significance of finding a huge, previously undetected deepwater coral reef off the U.S. East Coast.

    Life in the dark

    Deep corals are found in all of the world’s oceans. They grow in rocky habitats on the seafloor as it slopes down into the deep oceans, on seamounts (underwater mountains), and in submarine canyons. Most are found at depths greater than 650 feet (200 meters), but where surface waters are very cold, they can grow at much shallower depths.

    Shallow corals get much of their energy from sunlight that filters down into the water. Like plants on land, tiny algae that live within the corals’ polyps use sunlight to make energy, which they transfer to the coral polyps. Deep-sea species grow below the sunlit zone, so they feed on organic material and zooplankton, delivered to them by strong currents.

    In both deep and shallow waters, stony corals – which create hard skeletons – are the reef builders, while others such as soft corals add to reef diversity. Just five deep-sea stony coral species create reefs like the one we found in August.

    6
    Stylaster californicus at 135 feet depth on Farnsworth Bank off southern California. NOAA

    The most widely distributed and well-studied is Lophelia pertusa, a branching stony coral that begins life as a tiny larva, settles on hard substrate and grows into a bushy colony.

    6
    Lophelia pertusa

    As the colony grows, its outside branches block the flow of water that delivers food and oxygen to inner branches and washes away waste. Without flow, the inner branches die and weaken, then break apart, and the outer live branches overgrow the dead skeleton.

    This sequence of growth, death, collapse, and overgrowth continues for thousands of years, creating reefs that can be hundreds of feet tall. These massive, complex structures provide habitat for diverse and abundant assemblages of invertebrates and fishes, some of which are economically valuable.

    Other important types include gorgonians and black corals, often called “tree corals.” These species can grow very large and form dense “coral gardens” in rocky, current-swept areas. Small invertebrates and fishes use their branches for shelter, feeding and nursery habitat.

    Probing the deep oceans

    Organisms that live in deep, cold waters grow slowly, mature late and have long lifespans. Deep-sea black corals are among the oldest animals on earth: One specimen has been dated at 4,265 years old. As they grow, corals incorporate ocean elements into their skeletons. This makes them archives of ocean conditions that long predate human records. They also can provide valuable insights into the likely effects of future changes in the oceans.

    To protect these ecosystems, scientists need to find them. This is challenging because most of the seafloor has not been mapped. Once they have maps, researchers know where to deploy underwater vehicles so they can begin to understand how these ecosystems function.

    Scientists use submersibles like Alvin or remotely operated vehicles to study deep-water corals because other gear, such as trawls and dredges, would become entangled in these fragile colonies and damage them. Submersibles can take visual surveys and collect samples without impacting reefs.

    7
    The NOAA ROV Deep Discoverer documents benthic communities at Paganini Seamount in the north-central Pacific. NOAA

    This work is expensive and logistically challenging. It requires large ships to transport and launch the submersibles, and can only be done when seas are calm enough to work.

    Looming threats

    The greatest threat to deep corals globally is industrial bottom-trawl fishing, which can devastate deep reefs. Trawling is indiscriminate, sweeping up unwanted animals – including corals – as “bycatch.”“ It also stirs up sediment, which clogs deep-sea organisms’ feeding and breathing structures. Other forms of fishing, including traps, bottom longlines and dredges, can also impact the seafloor.

    Offshore energy production creates other problems. Oil and gas operations can release drilling muds and stir up sediments. Anchors and cables can directly damage reefs, and oil spills can have long-term impacts on coral health. Studies have shown that exposure to oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill caused stress and tissue damage in Gulf of Mexico deep-sea corals.

    Yet another growing concern is deep sea mining for materials such as cobalt, which is used to build batteries for cell phones and electric cars. The International Seabed Authority, a United Nations agency, is working with scientists and non-government organizations to develop a global regulatory code for deep sea mining, which is expected to be completed in 2020 or 2021. However, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has warned that not enough is known about deep sea life to ensure that the code will protect it effectively.

    Finally, deep-sea corals are not immune to climate change. Ocean currents circulate around the planet, transporting warm surface waters into the deep sea. Warming temperatures could drive corals deeper, but deep waters are naturally higher in carbon dioxide than surface waters. As their waters become more acidified, deep-sea corals will be restricted to an increasingly narrow band of optimal conditions.

    Conservation and management

    Vast areas of deep coral habitats are on the high seas and are extremely difficult to manage. However, many countries have taken measures to protect deep corals within their territorial waters. For example, the United States has created several deep coral protected areas. And the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management restricts industry activities near deep corals and funds deep sea coral research.

    These are useful steps, but nations can only protect what they know about. Without exploration, no one would have known about the coral zone that we found off South Carolina, along one of the busiest coastlines in the United States. As a scientist, I believe it is imperative to explore and understand our deep ocean resources so we can preserve them into the future.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Conversation US launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:02 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Climate change is intimately linked to our oceans, , Fish are helping feed a hungry world, industry and future research, Oceanography, Oceans are the lungs of our planet, Piping hot marine research delivered to your door, The data we collect about biodiversity informs policy, We don’t know much about what dwells in the deep blue   

    From CSIROscope: “Piping hot marine research delivered to your door” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    1
    Every biodiversity surveys discovers new life in our oceans. Credit Asher Flatt.

    Did you order some world-class marine research? On 12 December 2014, our resolute research vessel Investigator was commissioned into service, delivering a flexible blue-water research platform for collaborative marine research in Australia.

    3
    RV Investigator

    Four years and forty voyages on, we‘re serving up four reasons why the marine research we deliver flavours your world.

    1) Oceans are the lungs of our planet

    Every breath you take, every move you make, the oceans have contributed more than half of your oxygen. In fact, marine photosynthesisers such as phytoplankton, are estimated to produce up to 80% of the world’s oxygen.

    The problem is, we don’t fully understand how changes in our oceans are impacting on phytoplankton populations. We know factors like ocean temperature and iron levels are important but we need better data on ocean inputs and dynamics to better understand ocean productivity.

    Research we deliver includes study of ocean properties to look at what makes for happy phytoplankton and, as a result, healthy ocean food webs and oxygen production.

    2) Fish are helping feed a hungry world

    Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he will contribute towards a global fish catch estimated at over 120 million tonnes per year. The global harvest of fish has increased dramatically to meet the demands of growing populations, with recent studies estimating that four million fishing boats ply our oceans.

    For effective and sustainable fisheries management, we need to know about the size, distribution and health of fish populations, something that is poorly understood for fisheries globally (but slightly better for Australian waters).

    Our research contributes to the better management of fisheries through study of population sizes, changes and movements. This helps inform government and industry to manage fisheries so our increasing demand for fish doesn’t outstrip what our oceans can sustainably supply.

    2
    Investigator delivers piping hot marine research from ice edge to equator.

    3) Climate change is intimately linked to our oceans

    When the winds of change blow, we need to look to our oceans for answers. Our oceans help regulate the global climate by absorbing heat (possibly 90% of heat from global warming) and chemicals such as carbon dioxide.

    To understand and predict climate change, we need to understand the interaction between ocean and atmosphere, including how currents move energy and regulate temperature, and how chemicals are absorbed into the ocean.

    The research we deliver helps plug gaps in our knowledge by enabling long term ocean monitoring as well as targeted research into complex ocean systems that are poorly understood. The end result, more and better data, leading to better models and better predictions.

    4) We don’t know much about what dwells in the deep blue

    Imagine if every time you walked out the door you discovered a new species! Well, that’s what happens nearly every time we undertake biodiversity surveys in our oceans. We find new fish new corals, new molluscs, new worms, new algae – you name it, we find it. And then name it!

    A good reason to study and understand biodiversity is because it influences productivity. Recent studies have found that diverse fish communities are more productive and resistant to the impacts of climate change. For effective and sustainable management of our marine environment, we first need to know what’s down there.

    The data we collect about biodiversity informs policy, industry and future research. A recent report into life found in the Great Australian Bight, including during biodiversity surveys by RV Investigator, found 400 new species. This knowledge is already being used to better inform planning for future development in the region.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:16 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Oceanography, Stanford researchers uncover startling insights into how human-generated carbon dioxide could reshape oceans,   

    From Stanford University: “Stanford researchers uncover startling insights into how human-generated carbon dioxide could reshape oceans” 

    Stanford University Name
    From Stanford University

    December 11, 2018
    Nicole Kravec

    Volcanic carbon dioxide vents off the coast of Italy are rapidly acidifying nearby waters. This natural laboratory provides a crystal ball-view into potential future marine biodiversity impacts around the world.

    Something peculiar is happening in the azure waters off the rocky cliffs of Ischia, Italy. There, streams of gas-filled volcanic bubbles rising up to the surface are radically changing life around them by making seawater acidic. Stanford researchers studying species living near these gassy vents have learned what it takes to survive in acidic waters, providing a glimpse of what future oceans might look like as they grow more acidic.

    1
    Volcanic carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor near Ischia, Italy. (Image credit: Pasquale Vassallo, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn)

    Their findings, published December 11 in Nature Communications, suggest that ocean acidification driven by human-caused carbon dioxide emissions could have a larger impact than previously thought.

    “When an organism’s environment becomes more acidic, it can dramatically impact not only that species, but the overall ecosystem’s resilience, function and stability,” said Stanford marine biologist Fiorenza Micheli, lead author on the paper. “These transformations ultimately impact people, especially our food chains.”

    A natural laboratory


    Pietro Sorvino and Pasquale Vassallo

    Overall, the researchers found that the active venting zones with the most acidic waters were home to not only the least number of species, but also the lowest amounts of “functional diversity” – the range of ecosystem-support services or roles that each species can provide.

    “Studying the natural carbon dioxide vents in Ischia allowed us to unravel which traits from different species, like snail shell strength, were more vulnerable to ocean acidification. These results illuminate how oceans will function under different acidification scenarios in the future,” said lead author Nuria Teixidó, a marine biologist from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Italy, who was a visiting researcher at Stanford during the research.

    Acidification in the waters of Ischia displaced long-lived species, such as corals, that form habitat for other species – a process already often witnessed on reefs across the world. The researchers also found that high levels of carbon dioxide and more acidity favored species with short life spans and fast turnover as they are the only species that can resist these environmental conditions. This change could lead to further diversity loss and instability in the oceans, as biodiversity tends to increase an ecosystem’s stability.

    A broader application

    Localized case studies such as Ischia can shed light on how future global environmental conditions may affect ocean life. Beyond losing biodiversity, ocean acidification will threaten food security for millions of people who depend on seafood, along with tourism and other ocean-related economies.

    3
    Biodiversity loss is mapped along a natural CO2 gradient. (Image credit: Nuria Teixidó, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn)

    “The effects of ocean acidification on whole ecosystems and their functioning are still poorly understood,” said Micheli, a professor of biology. “In Ischia, we have gained new insights into what future oceans will look like and what key services, like food production and coastal production, will be lost when there is more carbon dioxide in the water.”

    To read all stories about Stanford science, subscribe to the biweekly Stanford Science Digest.
    Micheli is the David and Lucile Packard Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences and is also also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. Other co-authors are from Villa Dohrn Benthic Ecology Center of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, University of Perpignan, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Montpellier and Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes- CSIC.

    Media Contacts

    Fiorenza Micheli, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and Hopkins Marine Station: (831) 917-7903, micheli@stanford.edu

    Nuria Teixidó, Hopkins Marine Station and Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, present address: Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, nuria.teixido@obs-vlfr.fr

    Nicole Kravec, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions: (415) 825-0584, nkravec@stanford.edu

    The work was funded by National Geographic Society, the Total Foundation, a Maire Curie Cofund and by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus. No image credit

    Stanford University

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 4:02 pm on November 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Norwegian REV Big Boat Big Scence, Oceanography,   

    From Science Magazine: “Norwegian billionaire funds deluxe deep ocean research ship” 

    AAAS
    From Science Magazine

    Nov. 19, 2018
    Erik Stokstad

    1
    Twice as big as most research ships, the REV (seen in an artist’s concept) can operate in polar regions.
    ESPEN ØINO INTERNATIONAL

    “A dream vessel” is what Joana Xavier, a sponge expert at the University of Porto in Portugal, calls a new research ship due to launch in 2021. Funded by a Norwegian billionaire, the 183-meter-long Research Expedition Vessel (REV) will be the largest such ship ever built, more than twice the length of most rivals. Engineered to endure polar ice, punishing weather, and around-the-world voyages, the REV will not only be big and tough, but packed with top-of-the-line research gear—and luxurious accommodations. Its full capabilities were detailed for the first time last week at a meeting on deep-sea exploration at The Royal Society in London.

    The $350 million ship, under construction in a Black Sea shipyard in Romania, is owned by Kjell Inge Røkke, 60, who made his fortune in fishing, offshore oil, and other marine industries. In October, he promised an additional $150 million to REV Ocean in Fornebu, Norway, to operate the ship for at least 3 years, giving scientists free access. Røkke started the foundation last year to find solutions to climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, and marine pollution. “The scale of the investment and commitment is astounding,” says Victor Zykov, science director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a charity in Palo Alto, California, that has its own research vessel, the Falkor.

    Many national research fleets are aging and shrinking. Since 2005, for example, the U.S. academic fleet has declined from 27 vessels to 18, and by 2025 it will it drop to 16 ships. As a result, marine scientists can face long waits for ship time. “If I want to know what’s happening in a particular place, it might not work out within a decade,” says Antje Boetius, an oceanographer and director of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany. Philanthropists have launched several vessels to help shorten the queue, but few are dedicated to research, and all are dwarfed by the REV.

    It offers room for 60 researchers and large areas for science and engineering. It will have trawls for capturing marine life and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for on-the-spot observations, a rare combination, and much else. “The idea that all the assets are on the ship, and you can pick and choose, that is tremendous,” says Ajit Subramaniam, a microbial oceanographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. The ROV, capable of 6000-meter descents, can be launched through large side doors or a moon pool in the hull. A pair of ship-borne helicopters can release smaller autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which don’t need tethers to the main vessel. “Think of it as an aircraft carrier for robotics,” says Chris German, a marine geochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The REV will also have a crewed submersible, probably one capable of descending 2000 meters.

    The main trawl, designed by Røkke’s company Aker BioMarine for harvesting krill in the Southern Ocean, can remain 3000 meters deep while funneling fish to a tube that quickly pumps them up to the ship’s wet labs. This offers the tantalizing possibility of collecting jellyfish and other soft organisms that normally don’t survive the slow trip to the surface when the trawl is winched up, opening a porthole into marine food webs. “If the gear can sample with less damage, this would really help,” says biological oceanographer Xabier Irigoien, science director of AZTI, a nonprofit institute for marine research in Pasaia, Spain.

    The REV could also make a significant contribution to understanding fisheries on the high seas, Irigoien adds. The intergovernmental organizations that regulate fishing beyond national jurisdictions don’t own ships and can rarely afford to pay for time. Free access to the REV could help scientists fill the gaps. They might be able to track tagged tuna or sharks with AUVs, for instance, while sizing up schools of fish with the ship’s high-tech sonar. By combining data from the trawl and sonar, Irigoien says, researchers could chart potential fisheries in the deep sea before they’re exploited. The same technologies would be useful for investigating far-flung marine protected areas.

    Norwegian REV Big Boat Big Scence

    Most research vessels are spartan, but on the REV scientists will have nearly full run of the ship, including its lounges, gym, dining room, and seven-story atrium. Magne Furuholmen, an artist and former keyboardist of 1980s pop group A-ha, is choosing the art collection. The REV is also eco-friendly: It’s fuel efficient with low emissions and a broad, stable hull designed to reduce noise pollution. If it encounters a garbage patch, booms can collect up to 5 tons a day of plastic to incinerate onboard for energy.

    Alex Rogers, an oceanographer at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, starts next month as the full-time science director for REV Ocean. He says scheduling an expedition on the REV could be quicker and more flexible than on government research vessels, which are sometimes limited by range, budget, or scientific focus. On the other hand, working with philanthropists is not like dealing with a research funding agency. “You have to explain what you’re doing,” Rogers says. “Be prepared to communicate with them.”

    Røkke’s history could raise concerns about hidden agendas. “I think there will always be some level of suspicion from the public that a person like Røkke—who made a fortune in ocean industries—that somehow there are strings attached,” Rogers admits. So he is working with the Research Council of Norway to design an independent review process that will select projects for ship time. Rogers says the only expectation is that researchers focus on solutions and share their data after they publish. “If Alex is involved, I have faith,” says Kerry Howell, a deep-sea ecologist at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom. “He’s not the kind of person who would work for the dark side.”

    As for Røkke, he has no plans to run the foundation and is “very meticulous about this being fully independent and objective,” says Nina Jensen, CEO of REV Ocean. “He is serious about making a difference for the oceans.” Jensen, who studied marine biology and previously led the environmental advocacy group WWF Norway , says she told Røkke she will resign if one of his companies, Aker BP, drills for oil in Norway’s Lofoten islands, which boast rich fisheries and the largest known deep-water coral reefs.

    To help cover the costs of operation, for 4 months a year the REV will open 60% of its berths on research expeditions to paying eco-tourists. For another 4 months, the entire ship will be available as a luxury yacht. Jensen hopes benefactors will charter it as a “floating think tank” to win more support for ocean protection. Any extra funds raised will go to support early-career scientists.

    It’s an unproven model, Jensen concedes, but the REV won’t sink or float on its fundraising prowess. Røkke’s pledge last month to support operations was only his first, Jensen says. “It will not be the last.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 12:10 pm on November 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Integrated Bay Observatory, Narragansett Bay, Oceanography, RI C-AIM-Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment Innovation and Modeling, Start of the 3D modeling process by examining the buoys and creating technical drawings,   

    From University of Rhode Island: “Bringing the Bay Observatory to 3D life” 

    From University of Rhode Island

    1
    RISD graduate student and C-AIM researcher Stewart Copeland in his Providence studio developing new 3D models of the Bay Observatory’s equipment.

    11.16.18

    Shaun Kirby,
    RI C-AIM Communications & Outreach Coordinator

    Stewart Copeland has been a webmaster, documentary filmmaker, and even a touring musician over the past 10 years. Now, the Tennessee native is developing 3D models of sensor buoys which comprise the integrated Bay Observatory, a new array of equipment to monitor the ecological changes of Narragansett Bay.

    “I grew up an hour south of Nashville, and I’m not a water person,” admits Copeland, a graduate student at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Edna Lawrence Nature Lab. “But I’m learning a lot about the ocean.”

    2
    C-AIM researchers and students run a test launch of a sensor buoy this past spring. (Photo by Timo Kuester)

    The observatory, which is being deployed by the Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation and Modeling (RI C-AIM), encompasses multiple marine research tools that will gather new data about Narragansett Bay’s ecosystems, from nutrient concentrations and phytoplankton populations to water circulation patterns.

    But Copeland, alongside Neal Overstrom, a co-principal investigator for the consortium and the Nature Lab’s director, is working to visualize not the data collected from the observatory through 3D modeling, but these tools which make subsequent research possible.

    3
    Copeland starts his 3D modeling process by examining the buoys and creating technical drawings.

    “We get way too used to aerial views, dots on a map showing a buoy’s placement,” the RISD student explains. “But passing by it on a boat, you see this yellow thing with solar panels on it. It has all this technology extending from its bottom, and then life grows on it.”

    “That’s really exciting, and the challenge is showing more about the place itself from where all this data is coming.”

    The buoys will be moored at specific locations in Narragansett Bay this coming spring. Overstrom likened the buoys to a Mars rover, a vehicle oftentimes drawing more interest as a sojourning machine than in the data it collects.

    “These sensor buoys are entities in and of themselves, out there on Narragansett Bay day and night, through all kinds of weather,” he asserts. “The question for us is, how do virtual representations further inform what these buoys are doing above and beyond being critical platforms for data collection?”

    Copeland is also working closely with Dr. Harold ‘Bud’ Vincent, lead researcher for RI C-AIM coordinating the installation of the Bay Observatory’s equipment.

    “3D models allow ocean engineers to do things such as assess the buoyancy and stability of a buoy prior to assembly and deployment into the water, and also visualize placement of the many component parts inside,” explains Vincent, associate professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island. “3D modeling offers a source of permanent documentation for future engineering changes.”

    4
    After creating technical drawings, Copeland takes a multitude of photos of the sensor buoy equipment, which he will utilize in a 3D visualizing computer program.
    [Animated in the full article and in this blog’s RSS feed.]

    “We can share with the public what is happening “under the hood” of the buoys with the 3D models as well, which is a great opportunity for outreach.”

    For Copeland, the test is utilizing current modeling technology to develop the most detailed 3D representations.

    “When you start to rebuild an object digitally, you learn what 3D tools can and can’t do,” he says. “While I am trying to think about how the project can grow, I also want to generate 3D assets that are useful to all of the consortium.”

    Funded by a $19 million grant from the NSF through EPSCoR, and also a $3.8 million state match, the consortium is a collaboration of engineers, scientists, designers and communicators from eight higher education institutions across the state—University of Rhode Island (lead), Brown University, Bryant University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University—across the state developing a new research infrastructure to assess, predict and respond to the effects of climate variability on coastal ecosystems.

    Working together with businesses and area communities, the consortium seeks to position Rhode Island as a center of excellence for researchers on Narragansett Bay and beyond.
    For more information about the consortium and its researchers at institutions across the state, including URI, visit http://www.uri.edu/rinsfepscor.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Rhode Island is a diverse and dynamic community whose members are connected by a common quest for knowledge.

    As a major research university defined by innovation and big thinking, URI offers its undergraduate, graduate, and professional students distinctive educational opportunities designed to meet the global challenges of today’s world and the rapidly evolving needs of tomorrow. That’s why we’re here.

    The University of Rhode Island, commonly referred to as URI, is the flagship public research as well as the land grant and sea grant university for the state of Rhode Island. Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston in southern Rhode Island. Additionally, smaller campuses include the Feinstein Campus in Providence, the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence, the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.

    The university offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees in 80 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study through eight academic colleges. These colleges include Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Professional Studies, Engineering, Health Sciences, Environment and Life Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy. Another college, University College for Academic Success, serves primarily as an advising college for all incoming undergraduates and follows them through their first two years of enrollment at URI.

    The University enrolled about 13,600 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students in Fall 2015.[2] U.S. News & World Report classifies URI as a tier 1 national university, ranking it tied for 161st in the U.S.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on November 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ACC- Antarctic Circumpolar Current, , , , Oceanography   

    From CSIROscope: “Explainer: how the Antarctic Circumpolar Current helps keep Antarctica frozen” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    16 November 2018
    Helen Phillips
    Benoit Legresy
    Nathan Bindoff

    The Antarctic Circumpolar Current, or ACC, is the strongest ocean current on our planet. It extends from the sea surface to the bottom of the ocean, and encircles Antarctica.

    It is vital for Earth’s health because it keeps Antarctica cool and frozen. It is also changing as the world’s climate warms. Scientists like us are studying the current to find out how it might affect the future of Antarctica’s ice sheets, and the world’s sea levels.

    The ACC carries an estimated 165 million to 182 million cubic metres of water every second (a unit also called a “Sverdrup”) from west to east, more than 100 times the flow of all the rivers on Earth. It provides the main connection between the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

    The tightest geographical constriction through which the current flows is Drake Passage, where only 800 km separates South America from Antarctica. While elsewhere the ACC appears to have a broad domain, it must also navigate steep undersea mountains that constrain its path and steer it north and south across the Southern Ocean.

    1
    Scientists deploying a vertical microstructure profiler (VMP-2000), which measures temperature, salinity, pressure and turbulence, from RV Investigator in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, November 2018. Photo credit: Nathan Bindoff.

    What is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current?

    A satellite view over Antarctica reveals a frozen continent surrounded by icy waters. Moving northward, away from Antarctica, the water temperatures rise slowly at first and then rapidly across a sharp gradient. It is the ACC that maintains this boundary.

    2
    Map of the ocean surface temperature as measured by satellites and analysed by the European Copernicus Marine Services. The sea ice extent around the antarctic continent for this day appears in light blue. The two black lines indicate the long term position of the southern and northern front of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

    The ACC is created by the combined effects of strong westerly winds across the Southern Ocean, and the big change in surface temperatures between the Equator and the poles.

    Ocean density increases as water gets colder and as it gets more salty. The warm, salty surface waters of the subtropics are much lighter than the cold, fresher waters close to Antarctica. We can imagine that the depth of constant density levels slopes up towards Antarctica.

    The westerly winds make this slope steeper, and the ACC rides eastward along it, faster where the slope is steeper, and weaker where it’s flatter.

    Fronts and bottom water

    In the ACC there are sharp changes in water density known as fronts. The Subantarctic Front to the north and Polar Front further south are the two main fronts of the ACC (the black lines in the images). Both are known to split into two or three branches in some parts of the Southern Ocean, and merge together in other parts.

    Scientists can figure out the density and speed of the current by measuring the ocean’s height, using altimeters. For instance, denser waters sit lower and lighter waters stand taller, and differences between the height of the sea surface give the speed of the current.

    3
    Map of how fast the waters around Antarctica are moving in an easterly direction. It is produced using 23 years of satellite altimetry (ocean height) observations as provided by the European Copernicus Marine Services. Author provided.

    The path of the ACC is a meandering one, because of the steering effect of the sea floor, and also because of instabilities in the current.

    The ACC also plays a part in the meridional (or global) overturning circulation, which brings deep waters formed in the North Atlantic southward into the Southern Ocean. Once there it becomes known as Circumpolar Deep Water, and is carried around Antarctica by the ACC. It slowly rises toward the surface south of the Polar Front.

    Once it surfaces, some of the water flows northward again and sinks north of the Subarctic Front. The remaining part flows toward Antarctica where it is transformed into the densest water in the ocean, sinking to the sea floor and flowing northward in the abyss as Antarctic Bottom Water. These pathways are the main way that the oceans absorb heat and carbon dioxide and sequester it in the deep ocean.

    Changing current

    The ACC is not immune to climate change. The Southern Ocean has warmed and freshened in the upper 2,000 m. Rapid warming and freshening has also been found in the Antarctic Bottom Water, the deepest layer of the ocean.

    Waters south of the Polar Front are becoming fresher due to increased rainfall there, and waters to the north of the Polar Front are becoming saltier due to increased evaporation. These changes are caused by human activity, primarily through adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone hole is now recovering but greenhouse gases continue to rise globally.

    Winds have strengthened by about 40% over the Southern Ocean over the past 40 years. Surprisingly, this has not translated into an increase in the strength of the ACC. Instead there has been an increase in eddies that move heat towards the pole, particularly in hotspots such as Drake Passage, Kerguelen Plateau, and between Tasmania and New Zealand.

    We have observed much change already. The question now is how this increased transfer of heat across the ACC will impact the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet, and consequently the rate of global sea-level rise.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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