The San Diego Coastal Expedition is student-led research cruises that explore the health of our ocean and seek to expand our knowledge of local San Diego waters.
This two-part research cruise off the coast of San Diego has been carried out by graduate students at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Our first cruise was June 30-July 10, 2012 and the second cruise was December 8-15. We are continuing to analyze samples and explore the findings from our 2012 cruises.
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Our major research tasks involved assessing the sensitivity of San Diego’s marine communities to a changing ocean climate and exploring for methane seeps (read about our success here). There is concern of a changing oxygen and carbon dioxide climate along San Diego’s seafloor. Low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels can limit the presence of life, and there is evidence low oxygen that originates at great depths is impinging on our shelf. However, certain marine organisms and communities are adapted to low oxygen levels, and by studying these biological systems we may gain insight into our ocean's future. Through this research cruise, Scripps Oceanography students are exploring the sensitivity of marine communities to these changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide to project community structure and functioning in the future.