Archive for the ‘Diane Wyse’ Category

Diving the MLML Seawater Intakes

October 25, 2013

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

Earlier this week I volunteered to dive on the MLML seawater intakes, located about 200 m due west of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and 17 m below the surface.  The intakes supply seawater to multiple sites around Moss Landing, including the aquarium room at MLML, the Test Tank at MBARI, and the live tanks at Phil’s Fish Market.

Location of the intake pipes offshore.  Image: MLML/Google Earth (2013)

Location of the intake pipes offshore. Image: MLML/Google Earth (2013)

The purpose of the dive was to attach a surface float to a subsurface float located at a depth of about 15 feet.  A secondary objective was to visually inspect the intakes, which can be viewed in the video below.

The view from approximately above the intakes. Photo: Diane Wyse (2013)

The view of Moss Landing from approximately above the intakes. Photo: Diane Wyse (2013)

So how do you find an intake system 50 ft below the water?

To execute the operation, Assistant Dive Safety Officer Scott Gabara and I took a whaler from the MLML Small Boats with the assistance of boat driver Catherine Drake.  We used the best GPS coordinates previously called upon to locate the intakes, then threw a spotter surface float attached to a line and weight that unraveled to the seafloor.  We followed that line to the bottom and practiced our circle search skills until we found the first of the two intakes.  While anchoring the search line I saw a pipefish, a couple flatfish, and not much else.  During our descent and ascent we spotted half a dozen sea nettles, but on the sandy bottom it appeared pretty desolate.  The intakes, on the other hand, provide a hard substrate for sessile invertebrates and their predators to form a lively little oasis in the sand.  The first thing you notice when you come upon the intakes are the large white Metridium anemones.  If you take a closer look at the video, around 15 seconds in, you can spot a little octopus scurrying for cover.  After inspecting the first intake we moved to the second, that’s right, completely submerged by sand, with the line extending up to the subsurface float.  Though the video is short you can see some of the organisms residing on the line include seastars, Metridium, caprellids or “skeleton shrimp”, and my favorite marine invertebrate: nudibranchs.  Hermissenda (opalescent) nudibranchs, to be exact.  I wish I had a chance to take still photos while I was out there, but we had a job to do.  We successfully tied the surface float to the line and removed old line, thus making it much easier for future divers to study sediment movement and perform maintenance on the intake pipes.

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Tidepooling Take Two

October 17, 2013

Wyse_headshotBy Diane WysePhysical Oceanography Lab

Earlier this week, three graduate student volunteers and I ventured to Bay View Academy in Monterey to talk with the fourth grade class about trophic levels and intertidal zonation.  I had the unique opportunity to lead the trip again this year, you can learn about the first iteration of this trip in one of my very first posts for the Drop-In.

Sara Worden, Heather Kramp, Dorota Szuta, and Diane Wyse lead a classroom safety briefing and intertidal lesson. Photo: Erika McPhee-Shaw (2013)

Sara Worden, Heather Kramp, Dorota Szuta, and Diane Wyse lead a classroom safety briefing and intertidal lesson. Photo: Erika McPhee-Shaw (2013)

I volunteered for the trip again this year because it is the sort of educational outreach experience that to me really embodies the spirit of MLML; sharing resources and experiences from multiple labs and teaching in our beautiful marine backyard.  The student volunteers represented the Physical Oceanography Lab, the Phycology Lab (Sara Worden), the Benthic Ecology Lab (Dorota Szuta), and the Ichthyology Lab (Heather Kramp). Another reason I volunteered again? Try passing up an opportunity to geek out science on one of the prettiest beaches in the world.  Yeah, it’s tough to do.

Benthic Ecology Lab student Dorota Szuta teaches a group of fourth grade girls about intertidal invertebrates. Photo: Diane Wyse (2013)

Benthic Ecology Lab student Dorota Szuta teaches a group of fourth grade girls about intertidal invertebrates. Photo: Diane Wyse (2013)

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Sampling on the High Seas

March 7, 2013

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

Last week, students from the Chemical Oceanography class took advantage of many of the resources at Moss Landing Marine Labs to perform an analysis of dissolved oxygen throughout the seawater intake system.  The system supplies seawater from offshore to the MLML aquarium (up on “the hill,” at the main campus of the lab), the live tanks at Phil’s Fish Market, MBARI’s Test Tank, and to SLEWTHS.

Moss Landing

For the first stop of the day, students Kristin Walovich and Ashley Wheeler joined professor Kenneth Coale and teaching assistant Diane Wyse in loading up a whaler with supplies for sampling.  The team set out to collect water offshore at 17 m, around the depth that water is brought into the system.  The whaler, one of three available to students through the MLML Small Boats, was equipped with an aluminum pulley system to collect water at depth.

Professor Kenneth Coale and students Kristin Walovich and Ashley Wheeler prepare to sample water at depth.  Photo: D. Wyse

Professor Kenneth Coale and students Kristin Walovich and Ashley Wheeler prepare to sample water at depth. Photo: D. Wyse

Professor Kenneth Coale samples water from ~17 m using a Niskin bottle.  Photo: D. Wyse

Professor Kenneth Coale samples water from ~17 m using a Niskin bottle. Photo: D. Wyse

The second stop on the seawater sampling adventure was at the MLML Pumphouse, where unfiltered seawater passes through the instruments of the data acquisition system.  A variety of oceanographic parameters, including temperature, salinity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen concentration, are measured and shared with the public through the MLML Public Data Portal.

Finally, the sampling team headed up the hill to the MLML aquarium, and collected and pickled water that is pumped in for the marine flora and fauna kept for thesis research and class projects.  The “pickling” step involves addition of reagents to the glass collection bottles before they are sealed to prevent further biological processes from altering the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the sample.  The pickling process was applied in the same fashion, immediately after collecting, to all of the samples taken that day.

Kristin Walovich samples water from the MLML Aquarium

Kristin Walovich samples water from the MLML Aquarium

Back at the MLML Environmental Biotechnology Lab students performed a Winkler titration to determine the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the samples.   The data from this class experiment can be used to help calibrate the oxygen optodes on the Public Data Portal system.

WinklerAnalysis

Biological Oceanography Class Field Trip to the California Maritime Academy

February 12, 2013

by Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

Last week the biological oceanography class took a field trip to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo.  The purpose of the trip was to learn about the MLML Biological Oceanography Lab’s work with ballast water treatment aboard the Training Ship Golden Bear.

VallejoBridge

View of the Carquinez Strait Bridge from the TS Golden Bear. Photo: D. Wyse

We started the day with background about the importance of ballast water treatment for aquatic invasive species management, led by Biological Oceanography Lab students Brian Maurer, Heather Fulton-Bennet, and Julie Kuo.

Biological oceanography student Brian Maurer concentrates a water sample to test for zooplankton viability.

Biological oceanography student Brian Maurer concentrates a water sample to test for zooplankton viability. Photo: D. Wyse

 After that we took a tour of the ship’s engine room, bridge, and saw some of the living quarters.  The ship can house up to 350 people and each year takes a 2-month cruise in different parts of the world to train Cal Maritime students about merchant marine operations and engineering.

Members of the biological oceanography class take a tour of the TS Golden Bear.  Photo: D. Wyse

Members of the biological oceanography class take a tour of the TS Golden Bear. Photo: D. Wyse

In the afternoon we took a tour of the marine biology lab, where Biological Oceanography lab students, under the direction of Dr Nick Welshmeyer, analyze the effectiveness of different ballast water treatment methods.

Biological oceanography student Heather Fulton-Bennet counts live zooplankton under a microscope on the TS Golden Bear

Biological oceanography student Heather Fulton-Bennet counts live zooplankton under a microscope on the TS Golden Bear

Spring Tales and Tides

January 23, 2013

Moss Landing Marine Labs resumes classes today, and with the new semester comes renewed offering of exciting courses.  This spring, students at MLML have a number of options to satiate their appetites for statistics and data analysis, courses on scientific writing, methods, organisms both macro and micro, and field trips from the surface waters of Monterey Bay to the Elkhorn Slough to explorations of the seafloor and beyond.

Keep an eye out for stories from these classes and more as we hypothesize, test, and study our way through the spring semester:

Haiku of the Week – Scientific Writing

Humpback whales.  NMFS Permit #: 15271

Humpback whales. NMFS Permit #: 15271

Subtidal Ecology – one of our triennial field course offerings is back!

Recent Phycology Lab graduate and Friends of MLML Director Brynn Hooton-Kaufman manipulating Undaria for an NSF grant experiment. Photo: S. Jeffries

Recent Phycology Lab graduate and Friends of MLML Director Brynn Hooton-Kaufman manipulates Undaria for an NSF grant experiment. Photo: S. Jeffries

Algae pressing and herbaria  – Biology of Seaweeds

Recent Phycology Lab graduate Sara Tappan-Hutto shows visitors an algae pressing.  Photo: E. Loury

Recent Phycology Lab graduate Sara Tappan-Hutto shows visitors an algae press. Photo: E. Loury

Nutrient analyses and profiles of Monterey Bay, nearshore to offshore – Chemical Oceanography

CTD aboard the R/V Pt. Sur. Photo: A. Woods

Sampling, shipboard techniques, and plankton identification – Biological Oceanography

Julie Kuo, a graduate student in the Biological Oceanography lab at MLML, counts the number of zooplankton in a sample of pre-treated ballast water.

Julie Kuo, a graduate student in the Biological Oceanography lab at MLML, counts the number of zooplankton in a sample of pre-treated ballast water. Photo: C. Drake

…and much more!

Follow the R/V Point Sur on Her First Voyage to Antarctica

December 11, 2012

On Thursday, November 29 the R/V Point Sur, MLML’s largest research vessel and a member of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet, set sail for Palmer Station, Antarctica.  The ship and her crew, accessed for class cruises and interdisciplinary and inter-organizational research projects, will be making several stops through Central and South America during her voyage over the next several months.  You can even track the trip here.

The R/V Point Sur leaving Moss Landing Harbor (Photo: Andrea Launer)

The R/V Point Sur leaving Moss Landing Harbor, en route to Palmer Station, Antarctica. (Photo: Andrea Launer)

Over the course of her 8,200 mile journey the crew will post updates about all aspects of the cruise.  While we will miss the Pt Sur during her first voyage to Antarctica, we can look forward to exciting updates on the Pt Sur blog.

Sunset from the Point Sur off the coast of Mexico (Photo: India )

Sunset from the Point Sur off the coast of Mexico. (Photo: India Grammatica)

Stay tuned for updates and stories from the crew!

New Semester, New Students, New Stories

September 8, 2012

With classes underway, the lab is abuzz with new activities and learning.  This fall, the MLML community welcomes 22 new students to ten of our labs.  Ever find yourself wondering how graduate students at Moss Landing got their start in marine science?  Our new student backgrounds range from gray whale surveys off the Washington coast, to photographing white sharks in South Africa, to shipboard oceanography in Canada, and much more!  Learn about their paths to marine science and research interests by checking out their profiles on our Meet the Students page.

Jackie surveying whales off the Washington coast

Kristin freediving in South Africa

Heather performing field research in Canada

Stay tuned for their stories and more from your MLML blog team.

Buoy Riding in the Name of Science

August 27, 2012

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

Among the coolest aspects of interning at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) are all of the opportunities for new and exciting experiences in marine science and engineering.  On a beautiful Moss Landing summer day, fellow intern Samantha Peterson and I enjoyed one of those opportunities on a day cruise aboard MBARI’s R/V Zephyr.  We steamed out of Moss Landing Harbor early in the morning, and after two hours of getting our sea legs and munching on snacks (to avoid sea sickness, for sure), we arrived at our first of two stops for the day.  The cruise plan included a visit to the M2 mooring, a buoy deployed and maintained by MBARI scientists and engineers in partnership with the National Data Buoy Center (ID 46044), to download acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) data and perform routine maintenance.

R/V Zephry from the M2 moored buoy. Photo: D. Wyse

The whole process of visiting and maintaining a mooring was really exciting to experience, especially as a student of physical oceanography.  I got a kick out of the adventure inherent in maintaining oceanographic and meteorological instruments bobbing at the surface, moored 1000+ meters below on the seafloor.  As I stood at the back of the Zephyr taking in the experience- the albatrosses gracefully landing to investigate our activities, the sea lion curiously poking it’s head up around the buoy, the scientists and technicians climbing onto the buoy from the side of the ship- I wondered what sort of training or security clearance one has the endure to work on the buoy.  After pondering this aloud to my fellow intern, I inquired with the ship operator.  His job was to carefully back the boat up to the buoy to transfer people and equipment, then to maintain a safe distance from the buoy while the technicians were working on it.  As it turns out, it was surprisingly simple; I had to confirm with just about everyone on that day cruise that I am not sensitive to seasickness before getting the go-ahead to disembark the trusty Zephry and climb (well, pounce, really) aboard M2.  I could see immediately what everyone was driving at once I was aboard the mooring.  Because the platform is only about 10 ft in diameter, it is much easier to get tossed about with the swell.  You feel much more in touch with the ocean on a smaller vessel.  While ocean observers Mike Kelley and Jared Figurski downloaded the ADCP data, I climbed to the upper level to investigate the meteorological instruments.  With my finely tuned CSI skills, I observed the evidence of seabird visitors on the solar panels and offered to clean off the droppings, you know, in the name of science.  Surprisingly, they were more than happy to oblige that request, and I grabbed a cloth with seawater and scrubbed those panels squeaky clean.

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Ask a Shark Researcher

August 18, 2012

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

In the spirit of sharing exciting new student research during Shark Week, we caught up with MLML and Pacific Shark Research Center graduate student Paul Clerkin.  During the spring semester of his first year at MLML he took a two-month cruise aboard a commercial fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean for his thesis research.   During that time, Paul collected sharks that came in as bycatch of the planned fishing activities – sharks that would otherwise have been thrown back overboard because they are not among the targeted species of commercial value.  Clerkin explains that the sharks that he collected were all DOA, that very few survive under the weight of fifty tons of fish.   As part of his bycatch-only collection practices, any sharks that were still alive when the fish and sharks were sorted were promptly sent back overboard to increase their chances of survival.  Below are highlights from our interview with Paul on his latest fieldwork expedition.

Paul identifying sharks from a haul in the factory of the ship.

How long was the cruise?

I spent two months at sea, and then five weeks at Mauritius.  During that time I processed and prepared samples to ship back to MLML. Overall I spent about 100 days out of the US. I remember because I had to get my visa renewed while I was there.

How many specimens did you bring back?

We brought in around 400 to the island, and around 350 made the trip back to MLML. It was just about a ton. On top of that I have hundreds of vertebrae and spines and around 800 tissue samples.

When you collected, was it usually a consistent number per day or catch, or did the numbers vary with time and location?

The catch amounts varied greatly, some mornings I’d wake up and have no sharks to work with, during which time I’d work on data processing, and other days I’d wake up and have 16+ hours of work sitting for me on the deck.  Using bottom roller gear brought in many more sharks.

What will you do with the specimens?  Are they all to be used on your thesis project, or are some saved for other projects?

The specimens will be used both for my thesis research and will be available for future research projects. We’re looking to get a lot of use out of the data. The list of possible projects and papers is pretty long.

Paul working on deck with a false catshark. Paul comments on the critter: “This species isn’t new but it is considered to be rare. I was extremely excited the first time we found one. As we caught more false catsharks over the trip I started to suspect these sharks are not as rare as previously thought. I think they just live in remote locations relatively unexplored by science. Although it is not a new species I gathered data and information on this shark that was previously unknown and will increase our understanding of this strange animal.”

Was this your longest cruise to date?

Yes, my longest cruise before this was out of AK for 90 days, but halfway through we came back to land for one day, then went back out again. After the first two weeks all the days blend together anyway.

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Faster, Higher, Smarter

July 28, 2012

2012 MLML Games a “Smashing Success”

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

Photos by Gabriela Navas and Catherine Drake, Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab

With the world’s attention turned to London for the next two weeks, we think it’s high time to share our version of friendly “athletic” competition – the MLML Lab Olympics!

At the end of the spring semester, Moss Landing student body officers hosted the sixth annual event.  Highlights of this year’s Lab Olympics include a sprint relay, pie-eating contest, trivia, and Ultimate Marine Scientist Challenge relay complete with blindfolded dive slate assembly and a Macrocystis kelp slide.

Assistant Dive Safety Officer and Phyckers team member Scott Gabara crushes the “Shark” Attack competition at dive slate assembly. The challenge tests competitors’ grace under pressure in blackout dive conditions. Competitors also learn to appreciate the merits of well-fitting attire.

Danger Zone team member Michelle exhibits good sportsmanship in support of fellow Danger Zoner Catherine during the shoot-n-slide leg of the relay.

Staff team competitor Rhett shows off his unique slide technique.

Competitors sprint to the finish in the anchor leg of the relay.

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