It’s a Wonderful Lab

By Diane Wyse, Physical Oceanography Lab

In a day that some might describe as “the ideal lab experience,” four Moss Landing students set out to perform water sampling techniques for their chemical oceanography class, and enjoyed a day filled with surprises and adventure on the Monterey Bay.  Those students, from the phycology, physical, and biological oceanography labs, took MLML’s “Hurricane” Zodiac boat out to nine sites around the bay to collect seawater.  Along with two other groups that explored sections of Elkhorn Slough, the sampling effort was a snapshot of the concentration of silica in the surface waters of the bay and slough.

The day began with a lesson on instrumentation for determining temperature and salinity at each collection site.

Biological oceanography lab student Nicole Bobco checks the temperature and salinity measurements on the YSI field sampling sensor. (photo: D. Wyse)

Chemical oceanography professor Dr Kenneth Coale waves to the bay crew as he and students head off the explore and sample from the upper Elkhorn Slough. (photo: D. Wyse)

A handful of pinnipeds seen enjoying the beautiful weather on the bay crew's ride to the first sampling site. (photo: D. Wyse)

Biological oceeanography lab student April Woods reaches over the side of the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) to collect a sample of seawater. (photo: D. Wyse)

En route to one of the sampling sites, phycology lab student, experienced boat driver, and keen marine mammal spotter Mike Fox caught sight of a pod of over 50 dolphins!  As the boat slowly approached, a handful of the common dolphins gracefully whizzed along by the boat and gave the delighted marine science students quite a show.

(photo: D. Wyse)

A dolphin surfaces near Nicole at the bow of the RHIB. Despite the mammal's apparent curiosity and playful antics, the dedicated students thought better than to join it with a swim in the chilly water. (photo: D. Wyse)

Not to be outdone by playful charismatic megafauna, Mike and the team of oceanography students spotted a patch of Nereocystis luetkeana, otherwise known as bullkelp.  During a brief seaweed sampling side project, Mike held up a blade to explain how the spores on the blade of the bullkelp release by tearing off to facilitate reproduction.

Mike Fox holds a Nereocystis blade with spores present and detached. (photo: A. Woods)

Nereocystis spore packet, or sorus. (photo: A. Woods)

The crew smoothly cruised over the big, rolling swell to return and process their samples in the lab.   It was a field trip the students wont soon forget, it certainly was not just another day on the bay.

This entry was posted in Cool Creatures, Diane Wyse, Field Trip, Why Science Generally Rocks and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to It’s a Wonderful Lab

  1. jchristdiver says:



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