MCH Blog‎ > ‎

August 15, 2012. Departure from Galveston: Steve DiMarco

We have mobilized the ship and are about to depart from the port at Galveston, Texas. There are 17 people in the science party and 5 ship crew. We are happy to have as party of the science crew the Water Brothers, Alex and Tyler Mifflin, who host a TV show in Canada that deals with water related issues. The cruise will take place aboard the MightyR/V Manta, a 90 foot long, twin-hulled catamaran. This is the sixth cruise aboard the Manta and the second of the 2012 season.

The presence of a a harmful algal bloom identified as Karenia Brevis has increased public attention to the cruise. We therefore are taking sensors and collecting samples that will help us to investigate the HAB as well as the dissolved oxygen concentrations of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

During the cruise and the documenting in this blog, you will hear the voices of a very diverse group of scientists and students investigating the ocean processes responsible for the development and maintenance of the hypoxic zone of the northern Gulf. Each will introduce themselves in a couple of sentences and give an overview of the goal of their research.

My name is Laura Harred, I am a masters student at Texas A&M University in College Station, studying phytoplankton population dynamics under Dr. Lisa Campbell. I will be using the Imaging FlowCytobot to run samples in order to see what kinds of phytoplankton are in the water, looking specifically for the toxic dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. This is my first research cruise ever and I am excited to see what is in the water!

My name is Allyson Burgess Lucchese. I’m a PhD. student at Texas A&M University at Galveston studying the effect of freshwater inflow dynamics in Galveston Bay on discrete phytoplankton communities under Dr. Antonietta Quigg. I will be taking water samples from 3 depths at each station to filter for total chlorophyll and pigments, in addition to using the Phyto-Pulse-Amplitude-Modulation fluorometer (Phyto-PAM, or just PAM) . This allows for phytoplankton biomass calculations, determination of the phytoplankton community composition and how much each phylogenetic group is contributing to the community population. This is my fourth cruise on the Manta, and I’m excited to be out to sea again. It should be a great trip!

Andrew Dancer and Eddie Webb from The Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, we are the Electronic Technicians onboard the R/V Manta.  Our Purpose is to ensure all of the electronic equipment is fully functional, in the pursuit of science.

I’m Emma Cochran and I’m a masters student at Texas A&M University in College Station. I work with Drs. Wilford Gardner and Mary Jo Richardson to study the suspended particles in water and their distribution and composition. In order to do that, I will be taking water samples from 3 depths at each station and filtering them to find the amount of total particulate matter in the water, as well as the particulate organic carbon concentration. I also have optical devices on the shipboard flow-through system, CTD and Acrobat, which look at the particles.

My name is Chris Shank from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, the only Longhorn on the boat (silent Hook ‘ems only).  I am investigating the distribution and cycling of organic matter, with a focus on the biogeochemistry of hypoxic regions.  I will also be collecting samples for photochemical experiments aimed to understand the alteration of water column optical properties over the course of the summer.

Hi.  Matthew Howard here.  I’ve been on all of these cruises except for two.  I would say I run the night watch – but it pretty much runs itself.  Recently I’ve become the night watch chemist doing the Winkler titrations.  I’m also the “Data Manager” — I collect all the files, do a little light data processing and pass them to Steve.  I don’t get sea sick. Hey Ailene.  Hey Jeff.  Look at me I’m on a Monday-Friday boat.

Hi my name is Alex Mifflin and I am here all the way from Canada with my brother Tyler filming an episode of our documentary television series, The Water Brothers. We examine water related environmental issues all around the world and we have joined this expedition because in our latest episode we are exploring the growing problem of dead zones and hypoxia all around the world. We are really excited to be on board for the next few days and highlight the work being done by this team as they try to better understand the extent of the Gulf hypoxic zone.

I’m Piers Chapman. Apart from being Head of the Oceanography Department at TAMU in College Station, I have been one of the co-PIs on the project since it started about 9 years ago. I think I’ve also only missed two cruises over the years. I’m a chemist, and my job on board is oxygen titrations; after the first 1000 or so they become second nature, and I have a certificate to prove it!

And last … I am Ruth Mullins-Perry.  I am a Ph.D .Candidate working for Dr. DiMarco at Texas A&M University.   This is my 6th cruise on the Manta and I drive the Acrobat, plus take all the oxygen samples on the day shift  and make sure the day shift runs smoother than the night shift (kidding Matt …  but not really day-shift for life!).   My research focuses on investigating Texas hypoxia, which includes examining how Louisiana coastal hypoxia affects the northern Texas shelf and independent events that also may occur.  To do this, I incorporate a variety of different measurements from different ocean observing platforms, such as moorings and the Acrobat.  The Acrobat is a tow fish (towed behind the boat) that collect real-time, high resolution data.  I will blog about this instrument later in the week!  This cruise we have added a camera to the Acrobat and hope to catch some exciting video of life under the surface.

Be sure to check back in a couple days to follow our progress with tracking hypoxia and harmful algal blooms on the Texas-Louisiana shelf.  And thanks for reading!

—Steve DiMarco, Chief Scientist