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  • 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

    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.”

    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?”

    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.

    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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    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” 

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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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    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

    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.

    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.

    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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    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.

    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.

    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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    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” 

    From Science Magazine

    Nov. 19, 2018
    Erik Stokstad

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

    “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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  • 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

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


    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.”

    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.

    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.”

    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 .


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 .


    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 10:54 am on November 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Searching for ocean microbes", , Bermuda Atlantic Time Series, , Cyverse, DNA Databank of Japan, European Bioinformatics Institute, Hawaiian Ocean Time Series, Hurwitz Lab-University of Arizona, iMicrobe platform, National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Microbiome Collaborative, Oceanography, Planet Microbe, , The Hurwitz Lab corrals big data sets into a more searchable form to help scientists study microorganisms,   

    From Science Node: “Searching for ocean microbes” 

    Science Node bloc
    From Science Node

    07 Nov, 2018
    Susan McGinley

    How one lab is consolidating ocean data to track climate change.

    Courtesy David Clode/Unsplash.

    Scientists have been making monthly observations of the physical, biological, and chemical properties of the ocean since 1988. Now, thanks to the Hurwitz Lab at the University of Arizona (UA), researchers around the world have greater access than ever before to the information collected at these remote ocean sites.

    U Arizona bloc

    Led by Bonnie Hurwitz, assistant professor of biosystems engineering at UA, the Hurwitz Lab corrals big data sets into a more searchable form to help scientists study microorganisms – bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses, protozoa – and how they relate to each other, their hosts and the environment.

    Sample collection. Bonnie Hurwitz next to the metal pod that serves as the main chamber for the Alvin submersible that scientists operate to collect samples from the deepest parts of the ocean not accessible to people. Courtesy Stefan Sievert, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    The lab is building a data infrastructure on top of Cyverse to integrate and build information from diverse data stores in collaboration with the broader cyber community. The goal is to give people the ability to use data sets that span a range of storage servers, all in one place.

    “One of the exciting things my lab is funded for is Planet Microbe, a three-year project through the National Science Foundation (NSF), to bring together genomic and environmental data sets coming from ocean research cruises,” Hurwitz said.

    “Samples of water are taken using an instrument called a CTD that measures salinity, temperature, depth, and other features to create a scan of ocean conditions across the water column.”

    As the CTD descends into the ocean, bottles are triggered at different depths to collect water samples for a variety of experiments including sequencing the DNA/RNA of microbes. The moment each sample leaves the ship is often the last time these valuable and varied data appear together.

    The first phase of the project focuses on the Hawaiian Ocean Time Series and the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series. At both locations, samples are collected across an ocean transect at a variety of depths across the water column, from surface to deep ocean.

    A CTD device that measures water conductivity (salinity), temperature and depth is mounted underneath a set of water bottles used for collecting samples at varying depths in a column of water. Courtesy Tara Clemente, University of Hawaii.

    The readings taken at each level stream out to data banks around the world. Different labs conduct the analyses, but the Hurwitz lab reunites all of the data sets, including data from these long-term ecological sites used for monitoring climate and changes in the oceans.

    “Oceanographers have different tool kits. They are collecting data on ship to observe both the ocean environment and the genetics of microbes to understand the role they play in the ocean,” Hurwitz said. “We are including these data in a very simple web-based platform where users can run their own analyses and data pipelines to use the data in new ways.”

    While still in year one of the project, the first data have just been released under the iMicrobe platform, which connects users with computational resources for analyzing and visualizing the data.

    The platform’s bioinformatics tools let researchers analyze the data in new ways that may not have originally been possible when the data were collected, or to compare these global ocean data sets with new data as it becomes available.

    “We’re plumbers, actually, creating the pipelines between the world’s oceanographic data sets. We’re trying to enable scientists to access data from the world’s oceans,” Hurwitz said.

    A larger mission

    In addition to their Planet Microbe work, Hurwitz and her team work with the three entities that store and sync all of the world’s “omics” (genomics, proteomics) data – the European Bioinformatics Institute, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the DNA Databank of Japan, and others.

    “We are working with the National Microbiome Collaborative, a national effort to bring together the world’s data in the microbiome sciences, from human to ocean and everything in between,” Hurwitz said.

    “Having those data sets captured and searchable is great,” said Hurwitz. “They are so big they can’t be housed in any one place. The infrastructure allows you to search across these areas.”

    Going deep. Hurwitz and Amy Apprill, associate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in front of the human-piloted Alvin submersible. Deep-water samples are collected using the pod’s robotic arm because the pressure of the water is too intense for divers. Courtesy Stefan Sievert, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    “If we want to start looking at things together in a holistic manner, we need to be able to remotely access data that are not on our servers. We are essentially indexing the world’s data and becoming a search engine for microbiome sciences.”

    By reconnecting ‘omics data with environmental data from oceanographic cruises, Hurwitz and her team are speeding up discoveries into environmental changes affecting the marine microbes that are responsible for producing half the air that we breathe.

    These data can be used in the future to predict how our oceans respond to change and to specific environmental conditions.

    “Our researchers can not only use a $30 million supercomputer at XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) supported by the NSF for running analyses, they also have access to modern big data architectures through a simple computer interface.”

    “We’re trying to understand where all the data are and how we can sync them,” Hurwitz said. “How data are structured and assembled together has been like the Wild West. We’re figuring it out.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jody Deming, Oceanography, ,   

    From University of Washington: Women in STEM- “‘Ocean memory’ the focus of cross-disciplinary effort by UW’s Jody Deming” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    November 2, 2018
    Hannah Hickey

    Jody Deming

    The vast oceans of our planet still hold many unsolved questions. Uncovering some of their mysteries has been a decades-long focus for University of Washington oceanography professor Jody Deming.

    This fall, Deming embarks on a very different type of ocean exploration. A $500,000 grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, or NAKFI, will allow her and a group representing various disciplines in the sciences and the arts to look at the oceans in new ways.

    The Ocean Memory Project was one of three selected this fall as the inaugural winners of the NAKFI Challenge Grants, a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Deming is among a small group of leaders of the effort that will generate events, distributed interactive spaces and grants for cross-disciplinary mentoring around the idea of ocean memory.

    Deming had participated previously in smaller NAKFI-funded projects, which bring a few dozen people together to explore ideas through a cross-disciplinary lens. One of these groups, the Deep Sea Memory Project, met for the first time in September 2017 at Friday Harbor Laboratories. There, 20 participants and two facilitators spent five days sharing their various fields of expertise and coming up with new ideas. (Ben Fitzhugh, a UW professor of anthropology, and John Baross, a UW professor of oceanography, also participated in the workshop.)

    The format was different from a typical science conference, Deming said. Facilitators had smaller groups of people generate ideas quickly, then work together to create tangible objects reflecting those ideas.

    “If you are making something with your hands, then your brain works differently,” she said. “Although I may have been a skeptic in the beginning, I am a believer now, because I saw how we think and create differently.”

    The group held a second workshop at the Djerassi Resident Arts Program in central California, and will have a final workshop in 2019 on Santa Catalina Island.

    These smaller NAKFI-funded projects all emerged from a larger NAKFI conference in 2016, Discovering The Deep Blue Sea, led by oceanographer David Karl at the University of Hawaii. In one of many small break-out group discussions at that conference, an artist asked the question, “Does the ocean have memory?” and the phrase “ocean memory” immediately took hold.

    “Our group was looking for something we could all connect to,” recalls Deming, who holds the Karl M. Banse professorship in the School of Oceanography. “And that question, ‘Does the ocean have memory?’ galvanized us. It resonated with me personally, as that’s what I believe I have been studying all my life, without having those words to describe it.”

    The new grant will fund various activities around the theme of ocean memory, each led by participants from earlier NAKFI workshops using a rotating, collective leadership model. Deming is among the first group of leaders that also includes two artists, a marine biologist and cellist, and a cognitive scientist.

    Their winning proposal reads: “Our ocean and its inhabitants hold memories of events throughout the evolution of the planet, awaiting our cognition. We propose to establish a thriving community exploring and expressing Ocean Memory, a new line of scientific inquiry highly evocative beyond science, aiming for a sea change in our ability to address challenges of the Anthropocene.”

    The leadership team met for the first time in late October, and hopes to start accepting applications in early 2019 for the launching activity later that year. The group will select roughly 20–30 participants using criteria similar to those of the NAKFI workshops, which seeks people of varied expertise who are keen to work across boundaries.

    The grant will fund three annual “seed seminars,” each followed by a breakout working group and awards of small grants to pursue specific ideas, all culminating in 2022 with a larger conference at the UW. Also in the works are a science-oriented paper articulating the many meanings of ocean memory and plans for an exhibit at the San Francisco Art Institute.

    Deming described the project in October at the D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous, or DASER, event:

    Deming’s other, more conventionally funded, research investigates microbes in the polar regions. Members of her research group recently returned from the joint Sweden-U.S. icebreaker expedition to the North Pole, where they examined how acidifying waters of the high Arctic might affect the productivity of microbes on the underside of the sea ice and between ice floes, and how such microbes, when lofted into the air in sea spray, might affect the formation of Arctic clouds. The group is also studying microbial communities, found thriving in ancient brines deep in Alaskan permafrost, which may hold surprising “memories” of their past ocean.

    While the NAKFI grant allows her to explore different ways of knowing, there is overlap between the purely scientific efforts and those that bridge science and art, Deming said.

    “Here is one idea of what we want to explore: To what extent do microorganisms living in the ocean hold a memory of past conditions, so when they get challenged by a changing environment — whether more acidity from more carbon dioxide, or changing temperatures, or both — will some networks of organisms be better prepared, more fit, than others because they’ve retained genetic memories of the past?”

    For more information, visit http://memory.ocean.washington.edu, or contact Deming at jdeming@uw.edu.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Washingtonis 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 10:08 am on September 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Oceanography, , Rutgers Receives NSF Award to Continue Pioneering Ocean Initiative, , ,   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Receives NSF Award to Continue Pioneering Ocean Initiative” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 25, 2018

    Dalya Ewais

    The project delivers insight to researchers, policymakers and the public worldwide.

    The National Science Foundation this week announced it has awarded a five-year, $220 million contract to a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations, including Rutgers University–New Brunswick, to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative [OOI].

    The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with direction from the NSF, includes Rutgers, the University of Washington and Oregon State University.


    The initiative includes platforms and sensors that measure physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the sea surface in key coastal and open-ocean sites of the Atlantic and Pacific. It was designed to address critical questions about the Earth-ocean system, including climate change, ecosystem variability, ocean acidification plate-scale seismicity and submarine volcanoes, and carbon cycling. The goal is to better understand the ocean and our planet.

    The seafloor cable extends off the coast of Oregon and allows real-time communication with the deep sea. University of Washington

    Each institution will continue to operate and maintain the portion of project’s assets for which it is currently responsible. Rutgers will operate the cyberinfrastructure system that ingests and delivers data for the initiative.

    The initiative supports more than 500 autonomous instruments on the seafloor and on moored and free-swimming platforms that are serviced during regular, ship-based expeditions to the array sites. Data from each instrument is transmitted to shore, where it is freely available to users worldwide, including scientists, policy experts, decision-makers, educators and the general public.

    “Rutgers is proud to be a part of this transformative project that provides scientists and educators across the globe access to the richest source of real-time, in-water oceanographic data,” said David Kimball, interim senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers.

    Over the last three years, the Rutgers team led by Manish Parashar, director of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute and Distinguished Professor of computer science, designed, built and operated the OOI’s cyberinfrastructure. The team also included Scott Glenn and Oscar Schofield, Distinguished Professors in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and co-founders of Rutgers’ Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, who led the Rutgers data team.

    From left to right: Manish Parashar, director of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute and Distinguished Professor of computer science; Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president for economic development at Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development; and Ivan Rodero, project manager.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

    For the second phase of the OOI project, which begins on October 1 and runs for five years, Rutgers will receive about $6.6 million and will be responsible for maintaining the cyberinfrastructure and providing a network that allows 24/7 connectivity, ensuring sustained, reliable worldwide ocean observing data any time, any place, on any computer or mobile device. Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president for economic development at Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development, will serve as acting principal investigator.

    “Greater awareness and knowledge of the state of our oceans and the effects of their interrelated systems today is critical to a deeper understanding of our changing climate, marine and coastal ecosystems, atmospheric exchanges, and geodynamics. We are pleased to continue our involvement with this project that enables researchers to better understand the state of our oceans,” Brennan-Tonetta said.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

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