Made at Scripps™

posted Jul 4, 2012, 11:27 AM by Shannon Casey   [ updated Jul 4, 2012, 5:21 PM ]
Everything seems to be made in China, but when it comes to oceanography at Scripps, a majority of the tools used on this voyage are made by Scripps. This ranges from filters in the lab to nets used in the bio box on the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). These past few days teams have been working, collaborating, and adjusting these tools as necessary, and it’s amazing to see it all happen right before my eyes.

Photo: Undergraduate student Jesse Andrews helps deploy
Scripps' Remotely Operated Vehicle in San Diego waters.

I have been a part of many operations that include the CTD casting, which is a tool used to measure conductivity, temperature, and depth of the water in the ocean, specifically in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). This helps us measure the salinity of the water (conductivity), temperature, and depth so we can better understand and analyze the biological processes, such as metabolism, photosynthesis, and respiration that take place in the organisms.

Could you imagine mud underwater?! The Shelf Team, which includes me, uses an ROV to examine the conditions of the organisms on the seafloor, includng one of my favorites, the 
Sebastes saxiola, or Rock Fish. We also have been able to use a miniature CTD to analyze the conditions many of these organisms live in. This is by far the coolest because we're 350 meters underwater!

Photo: Jesse and fellow student scientists and volunteers learn the ropes from a
research technician in preparation for retrieval of the CTD.

And if you thought I was done then you’re absolutely wrong! Scripps graduate student Kirk Sato is leading a really “mini” project analyzing, filtering, and looking at bacteria in the ocean. When I say “mini” I mean microscopic, just on a bigger scale. Kirk is curious to know what bacteria live at certain depths in the ocean. These bacteria make up the organisms that inhabit the ocean and matter to their biological processes. I have been working on Kirk's team as well.

There is plenty to do on the San Diego Coastal Expedition aboard R/V Melville, and I am glad I am able to learn on-the-spot and in-the-trenches. Oh wait, I've got to go. ROV time! I’ll tell you more later.

-- Jesse Andrews, Morhouse College undergraduate student