DJ Kast, Interview with a Chief Scientist, June 3, 2015


NOAA Teacher at Sea
Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
May 19 – June 3, 2015

Mission: Ecosystem Monitoring Survey
Geographical areas of cruise: Mid Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine
Date: June 3, 2015

Science and Technology Log: Interview with the Chief Scientist, Jerry Prezioso

 

Chief Scientist Jerry Prezioso and graduate student Megan Switzer. Photo by DJ Kast

Chief Scientist Jerry Prezioso and graduate student Megan Switzer. Photo by DJ Kast

What is your job on the NOAA Henry B. Bigelow?

 Chief Scientist.

What does your job entail?

My job contains three main parts: pre-cruise setup, science underway, and post-cruise wrap up activities.

Pre-cruise Setup. (this starts long before the cruise)

  • Have to have the project instructions.
  • Fishing zone license if in Canadian waters
  • All Scientists are required to have a TB Test and Medical clearance to come aboard.
  • If any of the scientists are not a US citizen,  green cards or security clearance are needed
  • I pick out the station locations and route.
  • Make sure there are enough materials/ supplies/ chemicals.

During Cruise:

  • Supervise and coordinate all the scientists
  • During this cruise I had the day shift and so I did all the day time bongos and CTD’S with the Teacher at Sea DJ Kast
Jerry watering down the net to collect plankton. Photo by DJ Kast

Jerry washing down the net to collect plankton. Photo by DJ Kast

  • Track updates: I need to adjust for time and weather. I keep the ship working all the time 24/7. The ship costs thousands of dollars a day to run, so I make sure its never sitting. That’s why there are two shifts. If it is bad offshore, we move inshore to keep working.
  • Check logs, data.
  • Instruct the Teacher at Sea and provide them with awesome buoys.
Collecting water samples from the Niskin bottles in the Rosette. Photo by DJ Kast

Collecting water samples from the Niskin bottles in the Rosette. Photo by DJ Kast

After Cruise:

  • Destage the vessel.
  • Deliver samples and data
  • Write cruise report
  • Operations table- what we did at every station. Bongo vs. CTD, Bongos for CMARZS, Dave, Jessica.
  • Make sure all scientists get home OK.

How many years have you been doing this?

I have 40 years of government service. Back in 1968, I had my first student NOAA job. At Northeastern University, I was a co-op student, which meant I alternated school with a work-related job until graduation in 1974. I  got a job with NOAA as a biological technician. Afterwards, I was a fishery biologist. Then I went to the University of Rhode Island (URI) for my masters degree in biological oceanography (1991) and since then it has been oceanography all the way- 23 years of oceanography. I started helping out on research cruises. I would help with the plankton tows and show up to collect samples. I started going on many cruises like trawling cruises, fishing cruises, and would even travel on foreign vessels. I’ve been on quite a few foreign vessels: Russian vessels, Japanese, East and West German, Polish, and Canadian and it’s in these type of environments that you really learn to do more things yourself and learn more about different cultures.

What is your own personal research?

I am interested in the influences of distribution of plankton in various areas. This is what I did for my master’s thesis. I wanted to see what environmental parameters could affect plankton distribution. So far, temperature seems to be the strongest influence. Decades ago plankton that was originally found down south is found north now. Such dramatic change between 1970s and now. My boss has seen the same regional change with fish, seen them move up more north as the climate has changed. I am much more field oriented than research (lab) oriented, which is why I am out on the boats so much.

What are some of your hobbies besides SCIENCE?

  • Mainly SCUBA diving and photography
  • SCUBA diving: When I was younger, SCUBA diving was definitely a major push for me to get into oceanography. I was certified during college and I have loved it ever since.
  • Underwater photography is my favorite.
Photo by Jerry Prezioso

Underwater Photography: Herring photo by Jerry Prezioso

 

  • I remember being able to photograph River Herring which spawn in freshwater and then go out to sea to grow to adulthood.
Jerry in the steam filming herring. Photo provided by Jerry Prezioso

Jerry in the steam filming herring. Photo provided by Jerry Prezioso

  • I have lots of ocean fish photos, flounder and striped bass.

 

Comb Jelly. Photo by Jerry Prezioso

 

  • I also use my photography skills on the ship. For example, I combined SCUBA diving and photography by taking pictures of the crew cleaning lines out of the propeller (which is underwater).
  • Photo skills have definitely helped me on the job.

 

Selfie! Photo by DJ Kast

Selfie! Photo by DJ Kast

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