Since 2004, the WHOTS stations have been measuring the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, as part of a long term study on ocean circulation. The site where the WHOTS stations are deployed is called ALOHA (A Long-Term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment), located about 100 kilometers north of Oahu, Hawaii. The ALOHA station, maintained and monitored by the University of Hawai’i since 1988, makes oceanographic measurements (like water temperature, direction and speed of ocean currents, and amounts of plankton). The objective of the project is to use the area as a case study, as it is representative of the North Pacific subtropical gyre.
WHOTS stations are moored (anchored) buoys. The buoy includes instruments floating on the surface to measure the weather (air temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, etc.), and there are also instruments along the mooring line to measure things like water temperature, currents and salinity. The instruments below the surface make measurements at the same time asthe meteorological measurements on the surface, so that air and sea interactions can be accurately studied.
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution visit the ALOHA site every year, to deploy a new WHOTS station, and retrieve older ones. Check out this video of the WHOTS-13 research cruise!
… the Teacher:
The summer I turned five, my house was struck by lightning. The bolt blew out my window, scattering glass shards across my bed, blasted chunks of concrete out of the driveway below, and set the garage on fire — which was almost immediately put out by torrential rain. I have been fascinated by the atmosphere ever since. When I learned I had been chosen for the WHOTS-14 research cruise, I was ecstatic. Not only because I’d been selected to participate in such an amazing opportunity, but because I would have the chance to learn more about the oceans, and how they interact with the ocean of air above them.
I have taught science in New York City for eight years. For the past six years, I have taught twelfth grade geoscience at Pan American International High School at the James Monroe campus (PAIHS Monroe), in the Bronx. Each year, I do my best to get my students as excited about science as I am. For the past few years, that has meant dragging them outside in near-freezing temperatures to measure the local air quality. (So, maybe not the best method I could have chosen!)
(All of my students: “It’s too cold, Miss!” Samantha: “If it’s not too cold for the instruments, it’s not too cold for you!”)
These measurements were made as part of NASA GLOBE‘s Air Quality Student Research Campaign, and I was able to present their work at NASA Langley Research Center.
I hope that my experiences aboard the Hi’ialakai with the WHOTS-14 research cruise will teach me more about the ocean of air we live in, and help me develop more — warmer — ways to get my students interested in science!
Did You Know?
From NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation operations page: “Hi‘ialakai is a combination of Hawaiian words. Hi‘i means “to hold in one’s arms”; ala is route; and kai is the sea. Thus, NOAA named this ship to signify “embracing pathways to the sea”.”
Mission: WHOI Hawaii Ocean Timeseries Station (WHOTS)
Geographical Area of Cruise: Pacific Ocean, north of Hawaii
Date: June 26th, 2016
Weather Data from the Bridge
Wind Speed: 15 knots
Wind Direction: 100 degrees (slightly east southeast)
Temperature: 24.5 degrees C
Barometric Pressure: 1014.7 mb
Science and Technology Log
One of the primary objectives of this WHOTS project is to deploy WHOTS-13 mooring. This will be accomplished on our second day at sea.
The mooring site was chosen because it is far enough away from Hawaii so that it is not influenced by the landmasses. Mooring 13 will be located near mooring 12 in the North Pacific Ocean where the Northeast Trade Winds blow. Data collected from the moorings will be used to better understand the interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean. Instruments on the buoy record atmospheric conditions and instruments attached to the mooring line record oceanic conditions.
There is a lot more going on than just plopping a mooring in the sea. Chief Scientist Al Plueddemann from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and his team began in-port prep work on June 16th. This included loading, positioning and securing the scientific equipment on the ship. A meteorological system needed to be installed on the Hi’ialakai to collect data critical to the mission. And then there was the assembly of the buoy which had been shipped to Hawaii in pieces. Once assembled, the sensors on the buoy were tested.
As we left Oahu, we stopped to perform a CTD (conductivity/temperature/depth) cast. This allowed for the testing of the equipment and once water samples were collected, the calibration of the conductivity sensors occurred.
Sunday, June 26th, was the day of deployment. Beginning very early in the morning, equipment was arranged on deck to make deployment efficient as possible. And the science team mentally prepared for the day’s task.
Promptly at 7:30 am, deployment began. The first stage was to deploy the top 47 meters of the mooring with sensing instruments called microcats attached at 5 meter intervals. A microcats has a memory card and will collect temperature, conductivity and pressure data about every three minutes until the mooring is removed next year.
This portion of the mooring is then attached to the surface buoy, which is lifted by a crane and lowered overboard. More of the mooring with instruments is lowered over the stern.
The remainder of the mooring is composed of wire, nylon, 68 glass balls and an anchor. At one point, the mooring wire became damaged. To solve this problem, marine technicians and crew removed the damaged portions and replaced the section with wire from a new spool. This process delayed the completion of mooring deployment but it showed how problems can be solved even when far out at sea.
After dinner, the nylon section of the rope was deployed. Amazingly, this section is more than 2000 meters long and will be hand deployed followed by a section of 1500 m colmega line. It was dark by the time this portion was in the water. 68 glass floats were then attached and moved into the water. These floats will help in the recovery of the mooring next year. The attachment to the anchor was readied.
The anchor weighs 9300 pounds on deck and will sit at a depth of 4756 meters. That is nearly 3 miles below the ocean surface. The crane is used to lift the anchor overboard. The anchor will drop at 1.6 m/s and may take about 50 minutes to reach the bottom. As the anchor sinks, the wire, nylon and the rest of the mooring will be pulled down. Once it reaches the bottom, the mooring will be roughly vertical from the buoy to the anchor.
I sailed aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson in 2013 so I already had a general idea of what life aboard a ship would be. Both ships have workout areas, laundry facilities, lounges, and of course messes where we all eat. But on the Hi’ialakai, I am less likely to get lost because of the layout. A door that goes up is near a door that goes down.
On our first day aboard, we held two safety drills. The first was the abandon ship drill. As soon as we heard 6 short and 1 long whistles, we grabbed our life jacket, survival suit and a hat. We reported to our muster stations. I am assigned to lifeboat #1 and I report the starboard side of 0-3 deck ( 2 levels up from my room). Once I arrived, a NOAA officer began taking role and told us to don the survival suit. This being my first time putting the suit on, I was excited. But that didn’t last long. Getting the legs on after taking off shoes was easy as was putting one arm in. After that, it was challenging. It was about 84 F outside. The suit is made of neoprene. And my hands were the shapes of mittens so imagine trying to zip it up. I finally was successful and suffered a bit to get a few photos. This was followed by a lesson for how to release the lifeboats. There are enough lifeboats on each side of the ship, to hold 150% of the capacity on board.
Safety is an important aspect of living aboard a NOAA ship. It is critical to practice drills just like we do at school. So when something does happen, everyone knows what to do. A long whistle signals a fire. All of the scientists report to the Dry Lab for a head count and to wait for further instruction.
I am reminded of how small our world really is. At dinner Saturday, I discovered one of the new NOAA officers was from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Cottage Grove is just a short drive south of Eugene. She had a friend of mine as her calculus teacher. Then a research associate asked me if I knew a kid, who had graduated from South Eugene High School and swam in Virginia. I did. He had not only been in my class but also swam with my oldest son on a number of relay teams growing up. Small world indeed.
Did You Know?
The Hi’ialakai was once a Navy surveillance ship (USNS Vindicator) during the Cold War. NOAA acquired it in 2001 and converted it to support oceanic research.
NOAA Teacher at Sea Kelly Dilliard
(Almost) Onboard NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter May 14 – June 5, 2015
Mission: Right Whale Survey Geographical area of cruise: Northeast Atlantic Ocean Date: May 3, 2015
Hello from South Dakota! My name is Kelly Dilliard and I am a college professor at Wayne State College (WSC) in Wayne, NE. Wayne State College is one of three schools with the Nebraska State College System and it is located in northeast Nebraska. I actually live in Vermillion, South Dakota, due north of Wayne and commute to school every day. My husband, Mark Sweeney, is an Earth Science Professor at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. We are located about 45 minutes northwest from Sioux City, Iowa and about an hour south of South Falls, South Dakota.
I teach all sorts of Earth Science courses at WSC including Introduction to Geology, Environmental Geology, Historical Geology, Rocks and Minerals, Oceanography, and Introduction to Meteorology. I try to create a hands-on experience for my students, but teaching in Nebraska has its drawbacks. We are far from some of the best geology sites and from the ocean, so instead of taking my students to the rocks or the ocean, I try to bring the rocks to my students in the form of specimens, photographs, and videos. I believe that my students benefit from exposure to these samples and from the experiences that I bring into the classroom. I hope this experience out at sea will help me bring more of the ocean to them. As I teach mostly to future science teachers, I also hope this experience will open them up to taking similar opportunities to gain useful experiences to use in their own classroom.
As a youngster I had an interest in two sciences… geology and oceanography. I spent time in Hawaii when I was in fourth grade and fell in love with volcanoes and humpback whales. When it came to deciding on a major in college, I decided on geology and I have been actively engaged in researching and teaching about the Earth for the past 20 years. I am originally from eastern Pennsylvania, but through my graduate and professional career have lived in various states across the United States. I have three degrees in Geology, including a PhD from Washington State University.
While I have an interest in oceanography and teach an oceanography class, I have never actually taken a formal oceanography course. I applied to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Teacher at Sea (TAS) program to gain some ocean research experience and to bring that experience back into my classroom. The Teacher at Sea program is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary this year and is, as I am finding out, a wonderful program (link to TAS program)! I was selected to take part in a Right Whale Survey off the Northeast Coast on board the NOAA ship the Gordon Gunter (see the ship’s website for information and photographs). I never dreamed that I would also be getting exposed to a “what could have been” experience, that is, if I had decided to study oceanography and whales 20 years ago as an undergraduate.
So let me tell you a little about what I have learned so far about the North Atlantic Right Whale. The North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is an endangered species and is protected under both the U.S Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Right whales were heavily targeted by whale hunters, being prized for their high blubber content, the fact that they float when killed, and their relative sluggishness. They were the “right” whale to hunt. Right whales are baleen whales like the humpback whale, but feed mainly by skimming through prey at or near the surface of the ocean. Right whales are recognized by their callosities, or rough skin (white in color due to whale lice!), on their heads. For more information on Right Whales check out the NOAA Fisheries article on them.
Next week I will be flying to Boston, Massachusetts and meeting up with the Gordon Gunter at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. But before then, I have to finish off the semester, participate at the WSC graduation, put in my garden (hopefully), and pack for my trip. The next time you should hear from me, I should be aboard the Gordon Gunter.
NOAA Teacher at Sea Julie Karre Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II July 26 – August 8, 2013
Mission: Shark and Red snapper Longline Survey Geographical Range of Cruise: Atlantic Date: Monday August 5 – Tuesday August 6, 2013
Weather Data from the Bridge Monday – NE WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS
SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET
DOMINANT PERIOD 6 SECONDS
Tuesday – E WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS
SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET
Science and Technology Log
Meet the Scientists
Meet some of my favorite people in the world. Without these people my experience would have lacked the learning and laughter that made it such a joy.
Kristin was the Field Party Chief for the first and second legs of the Longline survey. She was also my watch leader, which meant she was by my side in support every step of the way. And as I progressed as a shark handler, she was there with a high five every time. I hit the jackpot landing on a ship with Kristin. She is now off to visit Harry Potter World (I’m so jealous I can hardly stand it) before rejoining the the survey when it leaves Mayport. This is Kristin’s fifth year doing the Longline Survey. The first time she did it, she was a volunteer just like us. I wish Kristin the best of luck in all she does and hope to call her a friend for years to come.
Amy is a research biologist out of the Pascagoula-based fisheries lab. She has been with NOAA for two years, but has been working in research biology for most of her career. She is a native of Colorado and shares my blond hair and fair complexion. We could usually be found together cooling off in the dry lab as often as possible. It was also Amy who coined one of my nicknames on the cruise – Data Girl. According to the science team, the Teachers at Sea make excellent data recorders. I can’t imagine why 🙂
Lisa has been doing the Longline survey for 16 years now. She is a wealth of information about sharks, living aboard a ship, and marine life. She is also a passionate dog lover, which many of the volunteers shared with her. Lisa will be taking over the duties of Field Party Chief for the third and fourth legs of the survey. She will be aboard the Oregon II for all four legs of the survey this year. That’s a lot of boat rocking!
Mike is a research biologist out of the Pascagoula-based fisheries lab. He’s a seasoned veteran of the Longline survey and was a great mentor for those of us new to the shark-handling community. Mike also has two adorable kids and two cute dogs waiting for him at home. He was part of the science team for the first leg of the survey. He can sometimes be found wearing mismatched socks.
My final days are winding down and I am caught (no pun intended) off guard by how much I am going to miss this. There is such a peacefulness that comes from the rocking of a boat, especially if you don’t get seasick. And working alongside people who share a passionate nature – we may not all be passionate about the same things, but we are all passionate – is such a reinvigorating experience. These two weeks gave me an opportunity to talk about my environmental science integration in my classroom with people who care very much about environmental science. It was so inspiring to have them care about what I was doing in my classroom. It gives me another reason to trust the importance of what I’m doing as well as more people I want to make proud.
Fun list time! Things you get used to living on a ship:
Noise. There is so much happening on a ship, from the engine to the cradle pulling up a shark. It’s all loud. But you get used to it.
Sneaking into your stateroom as silently as possible so you don’t wake up your AWESOME roommate Rachel.
Waiting. There’s a lot of waiting time on a survey like this. You find ways to make that time meaningful.
Taking high steps through doorways. The doors that separate the interior and exterior of the ship are water tight, so they don’t go all the way to the floor. You can only bash your shins in so many times before it becomes second nature.
Sharks. I said in a previous post that this survey has been eye opening and it’s worth sharing again. I don’t have a marine science background and I had fallen victim to the media portrayals of sharks. I had no idea that there were sharks as small as the Sharpnose that can be handled by such an amateur like myself.
Sunsets. Words cannot describe the colors that make their way to you when there’s uninterrupted skyline. Oh I will definitely miss those sunsets.
The stars. I live a life of being asleep by 10pm and up at 6 am and often times forget to look up at the stars even on the nights when I might have been able to see them. These two weeks gave me some of the darkest nights I’ve had and some of the best company in the world.
Mission:Ecosystem Monitoring Survey Date: 6/13/13 Geographical area of cruise: The continental shelf from north of Cape Hatteras, NC, including Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine, to the Nova Scotia Shelf
Weather Data from the Bridge: Time: 8:25 am
Latitude/ Longitude: 4200.0122N, 6758.0338W
Speed: 9.1 knots
Science and Technology Log:
Why study plankton? Plankton are at the bottom of the food chain. Remember they are free floating organisms that drift with the currents. That means that they provide food for many other animals and those animals are then eaten by larger animals and so on. Therefore, plankton are important in the fact that if something happens to them, then the whole food chain is affected.
So researchers are interested in learning all about the different types of plankton, their distribution and abundance in the ocean. They want to answer questions such as: Have these factors changed over time? Are we finding different kinds of plankton in different locations? Has the amount of plankton changed? How do the changes in the abundance and species of plankton affect higher trophic (feeding) levels?
Types of Plankton:
Phytoplankton – The plants of the sea. They carry out photosynthesis, so they are found in the water column where light is able to reach. This can vary depending on how clear the water is. If water is very clear, they can be found at deeper levels because the light can penetrate farther. These are the primary producers of the ocean, providing food for the first order consumers – mainly some types of zooplankton.
Zooplankton – Animal-like plankton. These vary immensely by size, type, and location. They are classified by their taxonomy, size, and how long they stay planktonic (some only are planktonic in a larval stage where others are for their entire life) . These plankton are consumers with some eating the phytoplankton and others eating other zooplankton. These are extremely important as larger consumers eat them and then even larger organisms eat these.
Icthyoplankton – Fish larvae or eggs. These float and drift in the water and, therefore, are considered planktonic. Since these are only planktonic for part of their life, they are called meroplankton. Organisms that are planktonic their entire life are called holoplankton.
Plankton – free floating organisms that drift with the current.
Trophic level – position an organism occupies in the food chain.
Taxonomy – how scientists classify organisms.
Holoplankton – organisms that are planktonic their entire lives.
Meroplankton – organisms that are planktonic for only part of their lives.
I interviewed our lead scientist onboard the Gordon Gunter who studies plankton:
Name: Chris Melrose
What is your Position? Research Oceanographer
What do you do? Principal investigator on the Northeast Fisheries’ Ship of Opportunity project. We collect data from merchant vessels that are crossing areas that we are interested in. I also work on the Ecosystem Monitoring Surveys where my main area of interest is primary production and phytoplankton. They are the base of the food web and tell you a lot about the functioning of a marine ecosystem. Much of my work was in coastal regions where there were concerns about eutrophication, the enhanced primary production due to inputs of nutrients from pollution.
Why is your work so important? We are studying the planet we all live on and we are in a period of environmental change. Long term monitoring programs, like this one, allow us to compare data from the present with the past to see how things have changed and also helps us to make predictions about what will happen in the future.
Why did you decide to become a marine scientist and work with NOAA and ocean science? I grew up on the island of Martha’s Vineyard and always had an interest in the ocean. It was a hobby, but now it’s a career.
What do you enjoy most? I like science and being able to be out in the field – it is more of an adventure than just being in a lab.
What part of your job is most unexpected? When you are out in the ocean, there are always surprises – nature, weather or difficulties with ships, so you always have to be ready to adapt.
How long have you worked for NOAA and as a marine scientist? From 1998 to 2004 I was with NOAA as a graduate student, from 2004 to 2010 as a contract employee and in 2011 I became a full-time employee.
What is your favorite type of plankton? Diatoms because they have so many different shapes and geometric designs.
What is your favorite marine animal? Octopus as they are clever and it is amazing how they can change their color and shape.
If a student is interested in pursuing a career in marine science, what would you suggest to them? Science and math are very important and you would need to attend graduate school.
What type of education do you need? At least a master’s degree to become a research scientist.
I am now getting use to my shift, noon to midnight. At each station we put out the Bongo nets or Rosettes (more often the Bongos) and then we have to wash them down and strain out the plankton in a sieve to be saved later for the research. It gets a little harder and colder towards the end of the shift, but it has been very interesting seeing all the variety of plankton we are finding and how it changes from station to station.
Yesterday was very foggy and a little more rocky. It was very hard to see anything, but still beautiful to look at the ocean around us. Today it is clearer, but still somewhat rocky. Sightings have been few, but we were able to catch some whales in the distance by seeing them “blow” – spirt out water through their blow holes. A Storm is on the forecast and we have had to change our route. We will not be going as far east as planned and will head north to avoid the main barrage of the storm.
The ocean is such an amazing place, with all its life and vastness. It makes you realize just how small you are and how big the world really is!
Did you know? Many types of whales feed exclusively on euphausid (or krill), a shrimp like zooplankton.
Question of the Day: What is your favorite type of plankton?
Mission:Ecosystem Monitoring Survey Date: 6/9/2013 Geographical area of cruise: The continental shelf from north of Cape Hatteras, NC, including Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine, to the Nova Scotia Shelf
Weather Data from the Bridge: Time – 8:15 am
Latitude and Longitude -41º32N, 71º19W
Temperature – 18º C, 65ºF
Barometer – 1019.5 mb
Science and Technology Log:
Since we have been delayed in sailing, I have had the opportunity to interview several of the crew sailing with the Gordon Gunter to learn more about working at sea and in the marine sciences. Sailing one of the NOAA vessels for scientific research requires personnel from many different disciplines including the: scientists, NOAA Corps officers, engineers, ship stewards, fishermen, deck hands, computer and electronics personnel, bird and mammal observers, and others. I will continue to interview personnel and add them to my future blogs.
1. Name: Cristina Bascuñán
What is your Position? Lab Technician
What do you do? I’m in charge of the Rosette CTD (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth) equipment and Sea-Bird equipment. I schedule them for the different surveys and send them out for maintenance.
Why did you decide to work with NOAA and ocean science? As a sophomore in college I started volunteering and loved it, so I volunteered for several more surveys and then went out to sea on a NOAA cruise and loved that. I was doing 2 trips a summer. Around that time I got hold of an oceanography branch chief of NOAA who was in need of a lab technician and the rest is history.
How long have you worked for NOAA? I have worked for NOAA for 16 years. I volunteered for 3 years initially and was 19 on my first trip.
What do you enjoy most? Meeting all the different people on the various cruises
What would you like to change? During long trips I miss the comforts of home.
If not working for NOAA, what would you do? I would be an architect.
What outside hobbies do you have? When out at sea, I like to knit. At home, I’m involved in many water activities like: kayaking, fishing and going out on our skiff (small sailboat).
Where are you from? I have lived on the Cape for 16 years.
What is your favorite marine animal? The Lumpfish – they look like they are made out of rubber.
What is the most unusual thing you have seen or found at sea? While out doing a MOCNESS (Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System and is a net system for plankton in the ocean), we brought up a bunch of bones and some carrots. Our group could not figure out where this could have come from or what animal the bones were from. We found out later, that the Steward (meal preparation person) had tossed the slop basket from dinner into the sea and that’s what we brought up!
If a student is interested in pursuing a career in marine science, what would you suggest to them? Get experience and go out to sea on a research vessel to see if it is something you would like to do for a career.
2. Name: Marc Weekely
What is your Position? Operations Officer onboard the Gordon Gunter
What do you do? I am the liaison between the operational side of the ship and the science party, making sure that what the scientists want to accomplish gets done.
Why did you decide to go into the NOAA Corps and ocean science? I have a B.S. in environmental science. In 2004, 2005 I found out about the NOAA Corps and it was a good way to mix the operational side with the science I already had. All NOAA Corps officers have to do watches and get the ship to where the scientists need to go, which includes ship driving and navigation, which I also liked.
How long have you worked for NOAA? I was commissioned in 2006.
What do you enjoy most? The variety of operations, science, and projects that are available and learning about the different scientific research. The routine is always new and fresh and you can transfer to new ones frequently. For example, in the NOAA Corps you spend 2 years in the field on a ship and 2-3 years on a land assignment. I was in Antarctic in 2009 doing atmospheric research on air quality monitoring.
What would you like to change? Some of the assignments are only once in a lifetime and cannot return to them like going back to the South Pole.
What part of your job was the most unexpected? When I first entered everything took me by surprise because I was not aware of the scope of the Corps. The opportunities to pursue what I was training for came much sooner than I realized. I was on the bridge controlling and driving a ship much sooner than I expected.
How are people chosen for NOAA ships? For many of the officers you fill out a “wish list” of where you want to go and then assigned according to needs and timing.
If not working in the Corps, what would you do? A job on or in the water.
If a student is interested in pursuing a career with NOAA or in marine science, what would you suggest to them? The Corps is looking for individuals with science, engineering and math backgrounds.
What outside hobbies do you have? Scuba diving and anything outdoors. I tried rock climbing in Boulder before going to the South Pole.
Where are you from? Currently I live in Moss-point, Mississippi, but I’m originally from Texas where my parents still live.
What is your favorite marine animal? Sharks because so little has changed in them over time. Even though they are a very frightening animal, I love to be in the water with them.
What is the most unusual thing you have seen or found at sea? Watching a 20 foot humpback whale full breech (entire body) out of the water is one of the most unusual and amazing things I have seen.
3. Chief Steward: Margaret Coyle
What are some of the skills and experiences a person needs to become a ship’s steward? A person needs good cooking skills, organization, to be personable, and dedicated. This is a career, I’m working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. “I live to cook and cook to live”.
What do you like most about your job? The cooking and sailing.
What would you like to change? I hate the paperwork – “If I only had to just cook and order groceries, I would be the happiest person on the planet.”
How long have you been working for NOAA? I have been sailing since I was 20 and cooking for 25 years. I started in the coastguard as an engineer and then went back to school to be a cook. I have been with NOAA for 8 years, 2 months and 7 days.
What do you like most about working on the ocean? The solitude and the lifestyle of just being at sea and having my own space and my galley setup. Having a set schedule is something I like and also the rocking of the ship and the weather.
What part of your job did you least expect to do? When I came here I knew exactly what to expect. Over the years the record keeping requirements have increased, which I did not expect.
How far in advance plan your meals? I have 8 years of menus and keep them all in my computer. I plan my menus by the people we have onboard and how many are going to be at a certain meal. I have to plan and order 7 days in advance and I have to always order dairy and produce when we pull into a new port.
What training or experience would you suggest for high school students if they want to pursue a career as a Steward or other ocean careers? You can go the military route and go through their school for cooking. Take Home Economics in HS and work in a restaurant – that will determine if you like it or hate it.
What advice would you give young people to eat more nutritiously? Eat dinner at a table with your family and have a conversation. Don’t sit in front of the TV or play on a computer. Don’t eat out of a bag instead choose something healthy like an apple.
If you weren’t a ship’s steward, what other career would you like to have? This is my dream job! But if I didn’t cook, I would be a seamstress.
*What’s your favorite meal to prepare? Whatever someone wants to eat, is something I love to prepare.
*Do you ever run out of food? I once ran out of orange juice one year. We were in Mexico and I ordered 100 lbs. of oranges and squeezed 15 lbs each morning for fresh juice.
Do you have an outside hobby? I sew clothes – My husband and I go to Renaissance fairs and I make the costumes for that. I love old movies as well and gardening.
Where are you from? Hurley, Mississippi and I’m married and have 2 children.
What is your favorite marine animal? The edible kind, salmon!
Here is one of her favorite recipes:
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
2 cups Mashed sweet potato
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 lb cream cheese
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
Beat cream cheese and sugar together till light. Add eggs one at a time. Add sweet potatoes, spices and mix together. Butter a spring-form pan and dust with graham crackers. Pour mixture into pan. Bake at 325º till filling is set. Chill and serve with whipping cream.
I can’t wait to try this when we head out to sea!
One thing that I have learned in life is that many things are not under your control and you just have to make the best of each situation and be flexible. So even though it has taken several more days to leave port than had been planned, I have had the opportunity to explore the base, visit another NOAA vessel, the Okeanos Explorer, interview several of the staff, and work on my blogs and photography. I have really enjoyed talking with the others onboard and visiting the areas around the base and in Newport, RI.
Also by postponing the sailing day, it looks like we missed the bad weather from hurricane Andrea. Friday it was raining constantly in port, so it most likely would have done the same at sea!
Did you know? The NOAA Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. Officers work on one of NOAA’s 19 ships or 12 aircraft in support of the atmospheric and oceanic scientific research that is being carried out on these vessels.
Question of the Day?
What job would you like to have on a NOAA vessel and why?
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Prof. Gina Henderson
Soon to be aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown
August 19 – 27, 2012
Mission: Western Atlantic Climate Study (WACS) Geographical area of cruise: Northwest Atlantic Ocean Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Introduction: Purpose of the Cruise
Hello from Annapolis, MD! My name is Gina Henderson and I am very excited about my imminent departure to Boston this coming Saturday as part of the NOAA Teacher at Sea program. In Boston I will rendezvous with the Ronald H. Brown NOAA ship and join the science team to conduct experiments aimed at collecting in situ measurements of ocean-derived aerosols. The purpose of this experiment is to characterize the cloud-nucleating abilities of these aerosols. We also aim to sample atmospheric particles, gases, and surface sea water to assess the impact of ocean emissions on atmospheric composition.
A Little about Me
I am an Assistant Professor in the Oceanography Department at the United States Naval Academy. Here, I teach courses in climate science, physical geography and weather. My research to date has focused on land-atmosphere interactions using computer climate models, understanding the role of snow cover in the hydrologic and global climate system, and the influence of such elements on atmospheric circulation and climate change.
Growing up on the east coast of Ireland, my interest in climatology was awakened from an early age having been exposed to the elements through outdoor pursuits including sailing, travel, and hiking. I have found that sharing my enthusiasm and passion for these sciences, focusing on the application of how they relate to our day-to-day lives and the environment in which we live, is an excellent platform to foster student interest and participation.
Having worked as a sail racing coach in Ireland, and captaining boats in the Caribbean during my undergraduate summers, I was eager to get back to the sport after relocating to Annapolis. Since my arrival at the Academy, I have also been volunteering as a coach for the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team which has been a great experience so far and helped me learn more about my students outside of the classroom.
Going into my second year teaching at the Naval Academy, I am excited to get this opportunity to participate in this NOAA field work campaign. Having spent the last few weeks as the science officer for a Yard Patrol cruise, where we took a group of 17 midshipmen and introduced them to various oceanographic and meteorologic instrumentation on board the Oceanography Department’s dedicated Yard Patrol training vessel, I hope to acquire new fieldwork skills and experiences while aboard the Ron Brown and to use such experiences back in Annapolis.
The timing of this research cruise coincides with the start of the semester back at the Naval Academy. This semester, I am teaching two sections of the upper level major elective course, Global Climate Change. While it will be challenging to be absent from the classroom for the first two weeks of class, I plan on engaging with my students virtually and as close to real-time as communications allow through this blog.
With this in mind, after a colleague introduces the course policy statement and syllabus next Monday 20 August, I am asking all students to take 10-20 minutes to google the underlined terms in the “Introduction: purpose of this cruise” section above, beginning with the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program. Students should write a brief summary (2-3 sentences) of what they find, focusing on the program goal(s). Students should then research the other underlined terms and write a brief summary (1-2 sentences) of what they should know about these terms from their previous course, SO244: Basic Atmospheric Processes. This assignment will be submitted via email to Prof. Henderson before the beginning of class on Tuesday August 21.
NOAA Teacher at Sea Wes Struble Aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown February 15 – March 5, 2012
Mission: Western Boundary Time Series Geographical Area: Sub-Tropical Atlantic, off the Coast of the Bahamas Date: February 21, 2012
Weather Data from the Bridge
Position: 26 deg 30 min north Latitude & 74 deg 48 min west Longitude
Windspeed: 11 knots
Wind Direction: 40 deg / NE
Air Temperature: 21.3 deg C/70 deg F
Water Temperature: 24.3 deg C/ 75 deg F
Atm Pressure: 1021.38 mb
Water Depth: 4500 meters/14765 ft
Cloud Cover: mostly clear with some clouds
Cloud Type: cumulus & statocumulus
Science and Technology Log
In a previous post I mentioned that two of the researchers I work with here on the Ron Brown are Shane Elipot and Aurélie Duchez. Both are originally from France but currently work for a UK government organization called NERC (Natural Environment Research Council). Shane works for the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool and Aurélie works for the same governmental department but is stationed at their branch in Southampton. Both have earned Doctoral degrees in Oceanography.
Dr. Aurélie Duchez attended high school in Nîmes, France until 18 years of age. Following high school she participated in 2 years of of grandes écoles (preparatory classes) held at her high school in Nîmes to prepare her for engineering school. From here she enrolled in an engineering school in Toulon (the ISITV) where she majored in “Applied Mathematics” with a specialty in fluid mechanics. This three year course of study not only involved normal class work but also included three different internships in the following order: A six week internship concentrating on computing, a two month internship in Miami, Florida working on breaking waves, and a six month internship in Grenoble, France studying ocean modeling in the South Atlantic. She remained in Grenoble and after three years earned her PhD by studying ocean modeling and data assimilation of the Mediterranean Sea. She secured a post-doctoral fellowship as a research scientist at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK where she currently works as an ocean modeler.
Dr. Shane Elipot attended high school in France until 18 years of age majoring in the sciences. After high school he spent two years in preparatory classes to take the competitive entrance examination for the “grandes écoles” (France’s engineering schools). After being accepted, he majored in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in hydrography and oceanography. During this period he earned two masters degrees: Master of Advanced Studies in Meteorology, Oceanology & Environment and a Masters in Oceanography & Hydrography. He followed these with a PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California and the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Elipot currently resides in Liverpool, UK where he works for the National Oceanography Centre.
They are both serious and dedicated scientists who enjoy their work and they are also a pleasure to engage in conversation. I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet them.
I would encourage you to consider visiting the following websites:
What will we be studying? The scientists on this survey are very interested in knowing about the strength and health of the ecosystem. They can judge how strong it is by looking at various indicators such as water clarity, salinity, and temperature. They can also record information about the phytoplankton and zooplankton that live in the water.
Question for students: Why do you think it is important to learn about the phytoplankton and zooplankton? What can they tell us about the ecosystem? Please leave a reply with your answers below by clicking on “Comments.”
Here is a map of the route the R/V Walton Smith will be taking.
I am so excited and I hope you will follow along with me on this journey of a lifetime!
NOAA Teacher at Sea Caitlin Fine Aboard University of Miami Ship R/V Walton Smith August 2 – 7, 2011
Mission: South Florida Bimonthly Regional Survey Geographical Area: South Florida and Gulf of Mexico Date: August 9, 2011
The last days of the survey cruise followed a pattern similar to the first days. Everyone got into the schedule of working 12-hour shifts and everyone accepted their role and responsibilities as a member of the team.
We all (morning and night shifts) ate dinner together and often (if there were no stations to be sampled) sat together to play board games, such as Chinese checkers.
We also all watched the sunsets together — each one was spectacular!
On the night of August 6th, we were towing the Neuston net through an area that had so many jellyfish that we could not lift the net out of the water. We had to get another net to help lift the heavy load. We all took bets to see how many jellyfish we had caught. I bet 15 jellyfish, but I was way off — there were over 50 jellyfish in the net! There were so many, that as we were counting them, they began to slide off the deck and back into the water. I have a great video that I cannot wait to share with you in September!
The ship arrived back in Miami on Sunday night around 7:30pm. It was amazing how quickly everyone unloaded the scientific equipment and started to go their separate ways. Because the NOAA building (Atlantic Oceanographic and Meterological Laboratory, AOML) is located right across the street from where the Walton Smith docks, we loaded all of the equipment into a truck and delivered it to the AOML building.
This was great because I got a quick tour of the labs where Lindsey, Nelson and others run the samples through elaborate tests and computer programs in order to better understand the composition of the ocean water.
In reflecting upon the entire experience, I feel extremely fortunate to have been granted the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in Teacher at Sea. I was able to help with all aspects of the scientific research from optics, to chemistry, to marine biology as well as help with equipment that is usually reserved for the ship’s crew, such as lowering the CTD or tow nets into the water.
There were many moments when I felt like some of my students who are struggling to learn either English or Spanish. There are a lot of scientific terms, terms used to describe the equipment (CTD and tow net parts), and basic boat terminology that I had not been exposed to previously. I am thankful that all of the members of the cruise were patient with my constant questions (even when I would ask the same thing 3 or 4 times!) and who tried to explain complex concepts to me at a level that I would understand and be able to take back to my students.
It makes me reflect again on everything I learned during my MEd classes in Multicultural/Multilingual Education — a good educator empowers students to ask questions, take risks, ask more questions, helps students access information at their level, is forever patient with students who are learning language at the same time that they are learning new concepts, provides plenty of hands-on experiments and experiences so students put into practice what they are learning about instead of just reading or writing about it.
As we sailed into Miami, a bottlenose dolphin greeted us – sailing between the two hulls of the catamaran and coming up often for air. It was so close, that I could almost touch it! Even though I was sad that the survey cruise was over, it was as though the dolphin was welcoming me home and on to the next phase of my Teacher at Sea adventure: I return to the classroom in September loaded with great memories, anecdotes, first hand-experiences, and a more complete knowledge of oceanography and related marine science careers to help empower my students so that they consider becoming future scientists and engineers. Thank you Teacher at Sea!