Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 5

July 28, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

 

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould'”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

04/26/15

 

Let’s Get Physical

 

Everyone decorated Styrofoam cups and we attached them in a mesh bag to the CTD.  They went down to 4000m. The air in the cups is compressed and thus shrinks the cup size.

Everyone decorated Styrofoam cups and we attached them in a mesh bag to the CTD. They went down to 4000m. The air in the cups is compressed and thus shrinks the cup size.

This week’s research has been dedicated to the physical oceanographers onboard. These scientists from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Caltech, and Princeton are studying how water masses interact in the Antarctic. They accomplish this by recording temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll levels at different depths within the water column using a variety of instruments. The area they are sampling is back in Drake Passage–about a 40 hour steam from Palmer. Read the rest of this entry »

Is TV Showing Us What Shark Experts Really Look Like?

July 6, 2015 by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vicky Vásquez is a graduate student under the Pacific Shark Research Center and the founding Deputy Director of the Ocean Research Foundation. You can follow Vicky on Twitter at @VickyV_TeamORF.

The Shark Expert.

As an early career scientist, I am still learning about what it means to be a shark expert and the standards by which we uphold these individuals to. Before starting school at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, I used programming similar to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week or NatGeoWild’s SharkFest to help me define those terms and build my knowledge of “shark facts”. Did you make the same mistake?

Shark Week's 2014 campaign, King of Summer used a comical caricature of a shark expert.

Shark Week’s 2014 campaign, King of Summer used a comical caricature of a shark expert.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 4

June 11, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould’”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

 

April 22, 2015

Antarctic Krill

Euphausia superba: also known as Antarctic krill, these were more than 2 inches in length, also notice the phytoplankon in stomach.

Euphausia superba: also known as Antarctic krill, these were more than 2 inches in length, also notice the phytoplankon in stomach.

When we unlatched the cod end from the net, gobs of krill poured over the top, I scrambled to catch the wriggling animals in a bucket.  The boat was en route to a fish trawling area near Dallmann Bay.  Read the rest of this entry »

Happy World Oceans Day!

June 8, 2015 by

Happy World Oceans Day!

A lemon shark swims near the ARMS deployed in Tetiaroa, Society Islands, French Polynesia.

A lemon shark swims by the ARMS deployed in Tetiaroa, Society Islands, French Polynesia. Photo: Christopher Meyer, Smithsonian

 

Every June 8th, marine and citizen scientists around the globe spread the word about celebrating our oceans and taking action to protect the diversity of life within. We are celebrating World Oceans Day on the island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia! Read the rest of this entry »

Tales From the Field in Mo’orea: Part I

June 4, 2015 by

812640_10100637121929820_1046383806_o-3By Emily Schmeltzer, Invertebrate Zoology Lab

Hi everyone! Although I don’t have much to show for it just yet, I was asked to write a series of blog posts about my current research trip to Mo’orea and Tetiaroa in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Talk about a fantastic place to do some fieldwork!

Mo'orea, French Polynesia

Mo’orea, French Polynesia- my view from the bungalow                                                    Photo Source: Emily Schmeltzer

Mo’orea is a small island and coral atoll near Tahiti, and is about 10 miles in width east to west. A coral atoll is formed over tens of thousands of years! Coral begins to grow as a fringing reef on an oceanic island, and as the island landmass is eroded and begins to become submerged, the coral continues to grow and forms a barrier reef. Once enough of the interior island is submerged, it forms a lagoon on the inner part of the barrier reef. You can visualize this formation from the aerial photograph below. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Backyard Bloom: The Domoic Acid Event of the Decade in Monterey Bay

June 1, 2015 by
 ECOHAB crew members Zachary Epperson and Steven Loiacono get ready to deploy the new MLML CTD rosette. Photo credit: Dr. Jason Smith.

ECOHAB crew members Zachary Epperson and Steven Loiacono get ready to deploy the new MLML CTD rosette. Photo credit: Dr. Jason Smith.

 

 

 

 

This guest post is written by Zachary Epperson whom is a graduate student at MLML and works with the Environmental Biotechnology Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few weeks, several marine mammals, particularly sea lions, have been exhibiting some haunting symptoms: writhing on the beach, bending back their necks, or lying suspiciously motionless. As the NOAA-NCCOS-funded, collaborative (MLML, UCSC, MBARI, USC, SCCWRP, UCLA, and IOOS) Ecology & Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) project gears up for its third week of sampling, data-armed scientists are ready with an explanation—toxic algae. Along with an armada of robotic labs and water quality surveillance vehicles roaming the bay, this field effort provides higher temporal and spatial resolution than our weekly shore based monitoring, which detected initiation of a mixed species Pseudo-nitzschia bloom in April (http://oceandatacenter.ucsc.edu/PhytoBlog/).

The diatom Pseudo-nitzschia spp. is known to produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), responsible for cases of domoic acid poisoning (DAP, also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning), when contaminated tissue is consumed in high enough quantities. Symptoms of DAP may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness; in severe cases the victim may experience difficulty breathing, confusion, disorientation, seizures, permanent loss of short‑term memory, coma and death. For this reason, recreational harvesting of shellfish is usually quarantined from about late April to Halloween.

A light microscope slide from a phytoplankton tow containing Pseudo-nitzschia chains. Photo credit: USCS-Kudela Lab.

A light microscope slide from a phytoplankton tow containing Pseudo-nitzschia chains. Photo credit: USCS-Kudela Lab.

Though a spring bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia is typical, what’s surprising this year is the total DA load. According to Dr. Raphe Kudela (UCSC) levels this high haven’t been seen since the year 2000! And ECOHAB is out there to track it. Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 3

May 18, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould'”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

The Third Entry by Jamie Sibley Yin

April 19th, 2015

Palmer Station and Ice Fish Project

A view of the Lawrence M. Gould (our ship) and Palmer Station.

A view of the Lawrence M. Gould (our ship) and Palmer Station.

When I woke up it was hard to believe we were in the same ocean as last night.  The water was glassy and glaciers cut with snow-capped black rock towered on either side of us.  We were due at Palmer Station in less than an hour.  Palmer was the final destination for some folks—but not us.  We were going with the ship, wherever she went.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 2

May 4, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

 

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould'”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

 

The Second Entry by Jamie Sibley Yin

April 9th, 2015

Northern Drake Passage

 

Checking out one of the critters with the microscope.

Checking out one of the critters with the microscope.

Our first net tow scheduled for 2am was cancelled.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was nervous about sorting and identifying species of zooplankton I had never seen before, staying up late into the night, and working with no end in sight.  Read the rest of this entry »

How well do you know your Batoids?

April 20, 2015 by

When people think of sharks, they think of the majestic White (Carcharodon carcharias), the sleek Blue (Prionace glauca), or the fast Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus).

White shark; photo credit: Raul Touzon

White shark; photo credit: Raul Touzon

Blue Shark

Shortfin mako

 

What is a Ray?

However, many people do not know that sharks have other relatives. Elasmobranchs refers to fishes that have a cartilaginous skeleton, no swim bladders, and have five to seven gill slits. We will be focusing on the batoids, aka ‘flatsharks’. People might be familiar with the word ‘ray’, but what defines a ray? A ray is a flattened shark, with the gill slits only visible on the ventral side. Currently, there are six orders of elasmobranchs taxanomists have defined as batoids. They include: Pristiformes (Sawfishes), Rhiniformes (Wedgefishes), Rhinobatiformes (Guitarfishes), Torpediniformes (Electric Rays), Myliobatiformes (Stingrays), and the Rajiformes (Skates).

Here are what some of these batoids look like:

Dwarf sawfish (Pristis clavata)

Black Spotted Torpedo Ray (Torpedo fuscomaculata)

Shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus)

Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)

Smoothnose wedgefish (Rhynchobatus laevis)

As you can see even these flat sharks are variable in morphology! If you are interested in how these orders are related in-depth, please check out the Tree of Life! We will go through all these different orders at a later time, but let’s focus on two orders: Myliobatiformes (Stingrays), and the Rajiformes (Skates). People often confuse these two groups, since they have similar body plans, but let’s take a closer look at their differences.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 1

April 20, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould'”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

The First Entry by Jamie Sibley Yin

April 8th, 2015

My chair sways gently, a jackhammer-like sound comes from an undisclosed location, men with white beards and black wire rimmed glasses stare into their laptops.  Where am I? I’m somewhere in the Straits of Magellan, en route to Antarctica.

Read the rest of this entry »


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