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> July 18, 2006
post Jul 21 2006, 10:48 PM
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TEA Teacher

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July 18, 2006

I've already told you about some members of the science team on board, and today I'll introduce you to three others. I actually talked with Stephanie King four days ago, before we got so busy. Even though Steph has been on ships before, her previous work has been primarily coastal. On this cruise, her first in the Arctic, Steph is the CTD operator on board, and she's also been helping out with the XBT. You can see a picture of Steph launching the XBT and read about it in my journal of July 5. Steph is in a Masters program at the University of Victoria, working in remote sensing. During her undergraduate years, she did a co-op term with Jim Gower, a remote sensor at IOS (the Institute of Ocean Sciences) and has now been a contractor for him for almost 4 years. Much of her current office work involves the study of algal blooms. When conditions are right, algae will reproduce at such a rapid rate that a 'bloom" shows up in the water. Just before we arrived in Victoria on July 27, a coccolithophore (type of algae) bloom appeared extending well up the coast of Vancouver Island and the coast of Washington state. Although this is not an unusual event, the extent of the bloom was far greater than had been seen before. By using spectral bands from the European satellite sensor Meris, Steph measures the fluorescence peak to get information on the concentration of the bloom. The bloom was still around when we passed through on July 2 and Steph took samples to verify the species.

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Stephanie King spends most of her time working with the CTD bottle rosette. Clearly she loves her work!

Today I spoke with Caitlin O'Neill who works with two very interesting pieces of equipment on board. Caitlin is an undergraduate in physics at the University of Victoria and she's working at IOS in a co-op job for the summer. In addition to helping out with the CTD and the XBT's, Caitlin works with the bio acoustic fish which is towed 24/7 while we're underway and the GTD (Gas Tension Device) which is set up in the lab. The "fish," (check out the picture to see where it got its name) has two transducers mounted in it that transmit signals at two different frequencies, allowing it to "pick up" objects of different size. The data from the fish are collected and transmitted by a cable connected to a computer in the temporary van on deck, thus giving real time data. As a trial, the fish is working quite well, and Caitlin estimates that it has given good data about 80% of the time we've been underway. Early on, the fish encountered problems such as heavy seas (the fish would "porpoise' in and out of the water), a broken cable, and debris (it snagged a log), but it seems to be functioning quite well right now. In addition to monitoring the fish and working with the CTD and XBT's, Caitlin is responsible for the GTD set up in the lab. It would be tough to find two more different pieces of equipment than the fish and the GTD; one is sleek and streamlined, the other is, well, check out the picture below. The GTD measures partial pressures of oxygen in surface water that it collects 24/7 while the ship is underway. It's a way of looking at how much mixing is taking place at and near the surface.

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Bio Acoustic Fish - Early in the trip Caitlin and the crew spent lots of time making sure the fish was working and transmitting data properly. After many days of workinng very well, it's out of the water now because we're in ice.

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Caitlin with GTD - Be sure to compare this piece of equipment to the bio acoustic fish. Caitlin O'Neill works with both and gets good data from both. Science isn't always neat.

Another member of the science team is a volunteer on board and a weather forecaster in real life. Ted Fathauer recently went back to graduate school and is currently finishing a Master's degree in atmospheric science. He's always had an interest in oceanography and in the work oceanographers actually do in the field. He counts himself fortunate that he was asked to come along to help out with the CTD and the XBT's; it probably helps that he's doing it on a volunteer basis.

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Ted Fathauer is a weather forecaster who volunteered to come along to support the science work on this cruise.  He's been helping out with the CTD and XBT's.
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