Frank Hubacz: The Final Leg, May 10, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 11, 2013

 

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery

Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea

Date: May 10, 2013

Weather Data from the Bridge (0200):

W wind 10 kt. Chance of light snow.

Air Temperature 2.6C

Relative Humidity 82%

Barometer 1025.5 mb

Surface Water Temperature 4.30 C

Surface Water Salinity 32.91 PSU

Seas up to 3 ft

Science and Technology Log

As we continue to complete CTD sampling on our last full day at sea, the major change from previous days is that the depth of the Bering Sea has increased dramatically. For the past couple of days we have been riding along the 70 m depth line.  We are now casting down to 1,500 m with the ocean bottom currently at 2,298 m.

My previous blogs have focused on the instrumentation and sampling methods used on the cruise.  I would now like to introduce you to the members of the science team on board the Oscar Dyson for this cruise.

William (Bill) Floering, Chief Scientist

William (Bill) Floering, Chief Scientist, NOAA-PMEL

William (Bill) Floering, Chief Scientist, NOAA-PMEL

Education:  BS Biology, University of Washington; BS Wildlife Biology, Oregon State University.

Position/Affiliation: Chief Scientist on Cruise, Field Operations Specialist/ NOAA/PMEL/OERD (30+yrs)

Duties on cruise: Oversee the entire cruise operations, objectives, staffing, and mooring deployment.  He is constantly “on duty” and serves as liaison between ship personnel and the science team.

Data:  Data collected will be used to better understand the physical and biological properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.  PMEL makes this data readily accessible to scientist of many disciplines to use.

Alphabetically Listed

Carol DeWitt

Carol DeWitt, PMEL
Carol DeWitt, NOAA/PMEL/FOCI

Education:  BS Biological Oceanography, Florida Institute of Technology

Position/Affiliation: Field Operations Specialist/PMEL/FOCI (25+yrs)

Duties on cruise: Ensures that all of  FOCI’s instruments are prepped, shipped to the Oscar Dyson prior to departure, and in working order once the cruise begins.  Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Data collected will be used to better understand the physical and biological properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.  PMEL makes this data readily accessible to scientist of many disciplines to use.

Scott McKeever

Scott McKeever, NOAA-PMEL

Scott McKeever, NOAA-PMEL

Education:  BS Atmospheric Science, University of Washington

Position/Affiliation: Research Scientist, Physical Oceanography Technician (2+ yrs)/ NOAA/PMEL/OERD

Duties on cruise: Mooring deployment and recovery along with CTD water sampling.  Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Data collected will be used to better understand and monitor the physical properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

Kathy Mier

Kathy Mier, NOAA-AFSC

Kathy Mier, NOAA-AFSC

Education:  MS Statistics, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Position/Affiliation: Statistician (19+ yrs)/ NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)

Duties on cruise: Complete CTD water sampling as well as oversee Bongo tows and preservation of tow samples.  Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Some of the data collected by her group will be analyzed by scientist in Poland.  Kathy offers her statistical expertise to researchers reviewing collected data. Once data is analyzed it will be used to better understand and monitor the physical properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

Dan Naber

Dan Naber

Dan Naber

Education:  BS Geology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Position/Affiliation: Research, Mooring Technician (5+ yrs)/ UAF Institute of Marine Science

Duties on cruise:  Prepare various monitoring instruments for deployment on moorings.  Water sampling for nutrients, dissolved inorganic carbon, and dissolved oxygen.  Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Data collected will be used to better understand and monitor the physical properties, including monitoring ocean acidification, of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. 

Peter Proctor  

Peter Proctor, Ph.D., University of Washington

Peter Proctor, Ph.D., University of Washington

Education:  Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Position/Affiliation: Research Scientist/ Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), University of Washington (11+ yrs)

Duties on cruise: Oversee the operation and data collection of CTD casts.  Additionally, collect nutrient, salinity, DO samples from CTD drops. Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Data collected will be used to better understand and monitor the physical properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.  Data will also be used collaboratively in fisheries assessment within this geographical region.

Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson, NOAA-AFSC

Matthew Wilson, NOAA-AFSC

Education:  MS Fisheries, Oregon State University

Position/Affiliation: Fisheries Research Biologist (25+ yrs)/ NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)

Duties on cruise:  Oversee Bongo tows and preservation of tow samples as well as ensure proper collection of chlorophyll samples.  Join in with all other team members in helping to complete onboard operations.

Data:  Chlorophyll samples will be used to standardize instrumentation used on board. Once data is analyzed it will be used to better understand and monitor the physical properties of the ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Matt’s research in helping to better understand Pollock fisheries will soon be published in the Journal of Marine Science.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in “marine science”, broadly defined, the collective advice from the science team is as follows: let your passion for studying the Ocean be your drive; experience this field firsthand through internships and volunteer opportunities aboard cruises; diversify your studies so that you have a broad background in several disciplines; through all of these experiences make certain that you truly do have a desire to pursue this field of science.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Proctor for his time, expertise, and willingness to share his knowledge of the ocean with me.  I also appreciated his patience in teaching me the techniques of CTD nutrient sampling, my “job” on the cruise. His humor and wit helped to make the downtime on our cruise enjoyable and always a learning experience.

Finally, I continue to be impressed with the leadership that Bill exhibits on board ship. His efforts ensured that valid “science” research was conducted during the cruise.  The data collected, once analyzed, will add to our knowledge base of the ocean waters of the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.  I would like to personally thank Bill for allowing me to have the opportunity to actively work alongside the science research team on this cruise.

Personal Log

In my “science and technology” log above I introduced you to the science crew.  In this section, I would like to introduce you to someone who works very hard to keep “everybody happy” on board ship.  Frank Ford is Chief Steward aboard the Oscar Dyson for this cruise. 

Frank Ford, Chief Steward

Frank Ford, Chief Steward

Frank is an experienced chef providing us with nutritional, well balanced, food 24 hours per day.  On a ship, meals are served at specific times but everyone works different shifts and therefore is not always able to be at a serving.  Therefore, Frank needs to ensure that all of our dietary needs are met regardless of our personal work schedule. As I have indicated in previous blogs, I never went hungry. There is always a wide range of fruit, yogurt, snacks, leftovers, etc. available.  Frank also closely monitors the temperament of the crew as we eat our meals in the galley, via his open kitchen, and is always there to chat with us.  Thanks Frank for your multiple and varied menu offerings! I know that my students would be very pleased to have Frank Ford as our head chef on campus.

Prepping the Prime Rib!

Prepping the Prime Rib!

Seasoning with a "special blend"

Seasoning with a “special blend”.  Notice the open kitchen!

My favorite meal aboard ship

My favorite meal aboard ship!

On this cruise I have had the opportunity to not only work with the science team but to also meet and work with members of the NOAA Officers Corp as well as the NOAA deck crew.  I have discovered that they come from a variety of backgrounds as well as from all over the United States. However, they all have in common a love for being on the open sea.  I am impressed with their candor, openness, and their professionalism.  I have made many new friends! Thank you for the opportunity to sail on your ship!

Since leaving Seward, Alaska on April 29th, we have steamed over 2,000 nautical miles (2,300 miles) and traversed from the Gulf of Alaska (North Pacific) into the Bering Sea.   This journey has truly been a rewarding and phenomenal educational opportunity for me.  I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea “student” and truly hope that other teachers, from across the United States, will continue to have this opportunity.  Recognizing and understanding the role that the “Ocean” plays in the overall health of our Planet is critical.  It is imperative that we provide our students with a robust education along with an understanding and appreciation for the discipline of Ocean science research. 

Did You Know?

Seniors, not to worry , I will be back on campus to attend your graduation!

Bill cleaning recovered mooring instruments

Bill still working!

Farewell Alaska!

Farewell Alaska!

 

Frank Hubacz: Ice in the Bering Sea, May 7, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 10, 2013

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea
Date: May 7, 2013

Weather Data from the Bridge (0500):
N wind 10 to 25kt. Partly cloudy.
Air Temperature 0.8C
Relative Humidity 90%
Barometer 1019.80 mb
Surface Water Temperature 2.30 C
Surface Water Salinity 31.96 PSU
Seas 4 to 9ft

Science and Technology Log

Remember that in my last blog you were left with a question…

Did you figure out what this was?

Did you figure out what this was?

If you still have not guessed what this is then here is a hint…

 

You are correct!  This is a Marine Assessment Monitoring and Prediction (MARMAP) Bongo tow with two 20cm and two 60 cm ring openings!  The 60 cm ring has a 500µm mesh net and the 20 cm ring has a 150µm.  I knew that most of you would guess the correct answer.  These nets are towed through the ocean to collect zooplankton samples. Plankton are important members of the ocean food web converting energy from the primary producer level into a form that is useable by animals in the upper levels of the marine food web. The word plankton is derived from the Greek word planktos, which means wandering.  Plankton drift, or swim weakly, traveling wherever the ocean takes them.  Phytoplankton are able to produce their own food (autotrophic), as the name suggests, via the process of photosynthesis. Zooplankton are heterotrophic and eat the primary producers in the ocean food web, the phytoplankton.  Zooplankton are the most numerous consumers in the entire ocean with nearly every major animal group being represented.   The most abundant, accounting for 70% of individuals, are copepods (crustaceans).  You are all probably most familiar with the organism within this group known as krill.  They are very abundant in the waters of the Arctic.

Krill

Krill

These shrimp-like marine organisms grow no larger than 4 to 6 cm and serve as food for baleen whales, penguins, seals, fish, sea birds, and many other predators.  80(+) species of krill have been identified in oceans around the world. Their habitats range from abyssal depths (5,000 m) to near shore kelp beds (10 m), and from warm tropical seas to the freezing Antarctic Ocean. (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/02quest/background/krill/krill.html)

Marine scientist use bongo nets to catch these small creatures and study them. The net size is selected to catch zooplankton as opposed to smaller phytoplankton.  The bongo net has a flow meter installed in each net to calculate the volume of water sampled.   Plankton tows can be done at any depth or time of day and the samples are caught in a small rigid container, the codend.

Basic Bongo tow

Detailed Bongo schematic

 

Cod-end of  Bongo tow net

Codend of Bongo net where the sample is collected

Our night shift deploying our Bongo net

Our night shift readying our Bongo net

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Deploying the Bongo net in dark icy waters of the Bering Sea

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Retrieving the net after the tow

Matt washing the contents of the codend into a straining sieve

Matt washing the contents of the codend into a straining sieve

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Capturing all of the sample

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Krill!

A closer look!

A closer look!

The Bongo tow used on this cruise also has attached an SBE-19 SEACAT system which measures salinity, depth, and temperature.

SEACAT System attached to Bongo tow

SEACAT System (on right) attached to Bongo tow

Additionally deployed on this cruise were drogue drifters.  Drogue drifters help determine the flow of ocean currents using a sort of “message in a bottle” approach, the drogue drifter, which is connected to a surface buoy.  The buoy communicates its location to an ARGOS satellite system producing a map of its path.  The drogue portion is really a “holey-sock” that flows below the surface to indicate subsurface ocean currents.

Drifter Schematic

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Complete drifter package

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Bill preparing the drogue drifter for launch
Drogue
Drogue drifter entering the water with attached satellite buoy

World map of current drifter locations

 

Overnight on the 7th we turned north-north-west hoping to sample water near the edge of the ice sheet.  We found ice much earlier than hoped and at approximately 0630 a decision was made that we could travel no further!  Upon collecting a sample at this station we turned south to sample along the 70 meter line for several miles.

Ice flow...picture taken at 0300

Ice flow…picture taken at 0300

Ice all around

Ice all around

 

Ice as seen from the bridge(Photo courtesy of Matt Wilson)
Ice as seen from the bridge(Photo courtesy of Matt Wilson)
Saying good bye to the ice!

Saying good bye to the ice!(Photo courtesy of Matt Wilson)

Personal Log

Sampling continues around the clock now that all of the moorings have been deployed.  I continue to collect nutrient samples from each CTD launch, usually 5 to 7 per draw, assist with washing the Bongo nets, and helping wherever I can .  Our midnight to noon shift goes by quickly.  After my shift I have been relaxing by reading and then going to bed by 0300 before waking at 2300.  Now that we are heading south our satellite “issues” have been resolved and so the internet works great.  Keep those questions coming.

We had an abandon ship drill today and I finally was able to “slip” into my Survivor Suit!  You will get to meet the science crew in my next blog!

Slipping into my survival suit

Slipping into my survival suit

Heading for the life boat station

Heading for the life boat station

Arriving at the WRONG station!

Arriving at the WRONG life boat station! (Port is left)

Frank Hubacz: Unimak Pass, May 4, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 10, 2013

 

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery

Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea

Date: May 5, 2013

 Weather Data from the Bridge (0300):

Partly cloudy, S Winds, variable, currently 3.71 knots
Air Temperature 2.8C

Relative Humidity 73%

Barometer 1025.1 mb

Surface Water Temperature 0.10 C

Surface Water Salinity 31.66 PSU

Seas up to 5 ft

Science and Technology Log

Once we completed our mooring work from Gore Point through to Pavlof Bay, we sailed on to Unimak Pass, nearly 400 miles away, and then entered into the Bering Sea.  Unimak Pass is a strait (wide gap) between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean in the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska.  Upon arrival at our first station, we started the process of deploying our CTD sampling unit at predetermined points as well as MARMap Bongo casts(discussed in my next blog) when specified, within a region forming a rectangular “box” north of the pass.  If you have been following my voyage using NOAA ship tracker, hopefully you now understand why we appeared to have been “boxed in” (I can hear the groans from my students even out here in the Bering Sea). It is important to understand the ocean waters of this region given that it is a major egress between the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.  Therefore it serves as an important pathway between these two water bodies for commercially important fish stock as well as serving as a major commercial shipping route.

Unimak Pass

Unimak Pass

 A CTD (an acronym for conductivity, temperature, and depth) is an instrument used by oceanographers to measure essential physical properties of sea water.  It provides a very comprehensive profile of the ocean water to help better understand the habitat of important marine species as well as charting the distribution and variation of water temperature, salinity, and density.  This information also helps scientist to understand how variations in physical ocean properties change over time.  The  CTD is made up of a set of small probes attached to a large stainless steel wheel housing. The sensors that measure CTD are surrounded by a rosette of water sampling bottles (niskin bottles) that individually close shut by an electronic fired trigger mechanism initiated from the control room on-board the ship.  The rosette is then lowered on a cable down to a depth just above the seafloor.  The science team is able to observe many different water properties in real time via a conducting cable connecting the CTD to a computer on the ship. A remotely operated device allows the attached water sampling bottles to be closed (sample collected) at selective depths as the instrument ascends back to the surface.

 

CTD Unit

CTD Unit

Here I am in my hot rain pants helping to deploy the CTD

Here I am in my hot colored rain pants helping to deploy the CTD.  Notice the niskin bottles?

Monitoring the drop with Peter

Monitoring the drop with Peter

Monitoring the CTD deployment

Data screens in the lab

On this cruise, our CTD was equipped to collect real-time water column measurements of conductivity, temperature, density, dissolved oxygen, salinity, chlorophyll levels, and light as the unit traveled down through to a set point just above the ocean floor.  Additionally, water samples for determining concentrations of nutrients (nitrate (NO3-1), nitrite (NO2-1), ammonium (NH4+), phosphate (PO4-3), and silicates (SiO4-4), dissolved oxygen, dissolve inorganic carbon, and chlorophyll were measured at specified depths within the water column as the unit was raised back to the surface.  Replicate measurements of some chemical constituents measured on the ascent are completed to help support the reliability of  the dynamic measurements of these same species made on the drop.  All of the nutrient samples are then frozen to -80C and brought back to the lab on shore for analysis.  Dissolved oxygen, dissolved inorganic carbon, and chlorophyll samples are also treated according to unique methods for later detailed analysis.

The sampling begins!

The sampling begins from a niskin bottle!

Filling the sampling vials to be stored for later analysis

Filling the sampling vials to be stored for later analysis

Peter placing samples in the freezer

Peter placing samples in the freezer

Scott preparing the chlorophyll samples

Scott preparing the chlorophyll samples

Our first CTD cast from the “Unimak Box” began with my shift, a bit after midnight, on May 3rd and ended 32 hours later on May 4th.  The science crew worked nonstop as they completed 17 different CTD casts. Again, it was impressive to see the cooperation among the scientists as each group helped one another complete CTD casts, launch and retrieve Bongo nets, and then collect the many different samples of water for testing as well as the samples of zooplankton caught in the bongo nets.  My task was to collect nutrient water samples from each CTD cast.  As the water depth increased so did the number of samples that were collected.  During our sampling water depths ranged from approximately 50 meters (5 samples) up to 580 meters (11 samples).  On our last cast the air temperature was -2.3o C with water temperature reading 2.90 C. Seas were relatively calm and we were able to see many different islands in the Aleutian chain.

Personal Log

It was rewarding to be able to help the team collect water samples for nutrient testing, especially given that we are able to sample many of these same nutrient species in our chemistry lab at Franklin Pierce.  I want my students to know that I practiced “GLT” when collecting nutrient samples making certain to rinse each sample bottle and sampling syringe at least three times before each collection.  Want to know what “GLT” references…ask one of my students!

My most “interesting” time on board ship happened during our first night of CTD testing along one of the lines of the Unimak Box.  At 2:45 am Peter, Douglas, and I were recording flow meter values from the previous bongo net tow on the side quarter-deck.  I was writing values down on a clip board as Peter read the values off to me.  I happened to glance over the deck towards the sea when I noticed an unusually large wave about 2 meters out from the boat traveling towards us.  Suddenly it crashed on top of us knocking us to the deck floor.  Water flooded all around us and through the doors of our labs.  I immediately grabbed onto one of the ship’s piping units and held on tight as the water poured back off the deck.  In an instant the sea was calm again after the “rogue” wave released its energy on our ship.  Because Peter and I fell onto the deck our clothes became completely soaked with icy cold seawater.  Upon standing, we checked on each other and then immediately began retrieving empty sampling bottles and other lab paraphernalia as they floated by in the water emptying off the deck.  Douglas was able to hold-on to the CTD and remained standing and dry under his rain suit.  This is the first, and I hope the last, “rogue” wave that I ever experience.  Fortunately, no one was lost or injured and we were able to retrieve all of our equipment with one exception…the clip board of data log entries that I was holding!

I must admit that I am disappointed at the limited internet access while on board ship.  I find it somewhat disheartening that I have not been able to write the consistent blogs promised to you telling of my adventures.  Hopefully this will improve as we change course and you will continue to follow along.

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View as I traveled to work!

Islands of the Aleutians.

Islands of the Aleutians.

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Island hopping!

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Not all islands are completely snow covered.

 

Do you know what this is?

Read my next blog to find out what this is!

Read my next blog to find out!

Set tags and categories(include your name)

Frank Hubacz: ADCP Deployment, May 2, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 10, 2013

 

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea
Date: May 2, 2013

Weather Data from the Bridge:

Partly sunny, WindsN 5-10 knots
Air Temperature 1.3C

Relative Humidity 60%

Barometer 1008.2 mb

Surface Water Temperature 2.8C

Surface Water Salinity 31.37 PSU

Science and Technology Log

As I described previously, one of the instruments being deployed on this cruise is an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), which measures speed and direction of ocean currents across an entire water column using the principle of Doppler shift (effect).  The Doppler Effect is best illustrated when you stop and listen to the whistle of an oncoming train.  When the train is traveling towards you, the whistle’s pitch is higher. When it is moving away from you, the pitch is lower. The change in pitch is proportional to the speed of the train.  The diagrams below illustrates the effect.

Doppler Effect

Doppler Effect

Another view of the Doppler Effect
Another view of the Doppler Effect

The ADCP exploits the Doppler Effect by emitting a sequence of high frequency pulses of sound (“pings”) that scatter off of moving particles in the water. Depending on whether the particles are moving toward or away from the sound source, the frequency of the return signal bounced back to the ADCP is either higher or lower. Since the particles move at the same speed as the water that carries them, the frequency shift is proportional to the speed of the water, or current.

The ADCP has 4 acoustic transducers that emit and receive acoustical pulses from 4 different directions. Current direction is computed by using trigonometric relations to convert the return signal from the 4 transducers to ‘earth’ coordinates (north-south, east-west and up-down. (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/technology/tools/acoust_doppler/acoust_doppler.html).  The most common frequencies used on these units are 600 KHz, 300 KHz, and 75 KHz.  The lower the frequency the greater the distance that the wave can propagate through the ocean waters.

Determining current flow helps scientist to understand how nutrients and other chemical species are transported throughout the ocean.

Typical 4 beam ADCP sensor head. The red circles denote the 4 transducer faces.

Typical 4 beam ADCP sensor head. The red circles denote the 4 transducer faces.

Prior to sailing, ADCP mooring locations are selected by various research scientists from within NOAA.  Next, engineers develop a construction plan to secure the unit onto the ocean floor.  Once designed, the hardware needed to construct the mooring is sent to the ship that will be sailing in the selected mooring locations.  Prior to arriving at the designated location it is the responsibility of the science team to construct the mooring setup following the engineering diagram shipped with each ADCP unit. ADCP moorings can be constructed to hold a wide variety of measuring instruments depending upon the ocean parameters under study by the research scientist.

ADCP Construction Diagram

ADCP Construction Diagram

The moorings are built on the ship’s deck starting with an anchor.  The anchor weight is determined based upon known current strength in the area where the mooring will be located.  Anchors are simply scrap iron railroad train car wheels which bury themselves into the sediment and eventually rust away after use.  The first mooring unit that we assembled had an anchor composed of two train wheels with a total weight of 1,600lbs.  Although this mooring was built from the anchor up this is not always the case.  When setting very deep moorings the build is in the reverse order.

Selecting the anchor

Selecting the anchor

Anchor on the back deck

Anchor on the back deck below the gantry

Next, an acoustic release mechanism is attached to the anchor by way of heavy chains.  This mechanism allows for recovery of the ADCP unit as well as the release mechanism itself when it is time to recover the ADCP.  The units that we are deploying will remain submerged and collect data for approximately 6 months.

Acostic Release Mechanism
Acoustic Release Mechanism
Bill attaching the acoustic release mechanism

Bill attaching the acoustic release mechanism

Finally, an orange closed-cell foam and stainless steel frame containing the actual instrumentation is connected to the assembly and then craned over the back deck.  The stainless steel frame has a block of zinc attached to it which acts as a sacrificial anode.  Sacrificial anodes are highly active metals (such as zinc) that are used to prevent a less active metal surface from rusting or corroding away.  In fact, our ship has many such anodes located on its hull. Once the entire unit is in position, a pin connected to a long chord is pulled from a release mechanism and the unit is dropped to the ocean floor.  Date, time, and location for each unit are then recorded. 

Hoisting ADCP

Hoisting ADCP

ADCP unit assembly

ADCP unit assembly

Assembling mooring unit

Assembling mooring unit

Ready for launch

Ready for launch

To recover the unit, an acoustic signal (9-12 Khz) is sent to the ship from the sunken mooring unit to aid in its location.  Once located, a signal is used to activate a remote sensor which powers the release mechanism to open.  The float unit then rises to the surface bringing all of its attached instruments along with it.  The stored data within the units are then secured and eventually sent along to the research scientist requesting that specific mooring location for ocean current analysis.

Recovering a mooring with a rope lasso

Recovering a mooring with a rope lasso

Personal Log

On my first day of “work” I was able to watch the science teams deploy three different ADCP moorings as well as conduct several CTD runs.  I will discuss CTD’s in more detail in future blogs.  I was impressed by the camaraderie among all of the science team members regardless of the institution that they represented as well as with members of the deck crew.  They all work as a very cohesive and efficient group and certainly understand the importance of teamwork!

Adjusting to my new work schedule is a bit of a challenge. After my work day ended today at 1200 hours, I fell asleep around 1500 hours for about 4 hours.  After trying to fall back asleep again, but to no avail, I decided to have a “midnight” snack at 2000 hours (8pm).  I finally fell asleep for about 2 more hours before showering for my next shift.  I think I now have more empathy for students who come to my 8am chemistry class and occasionally “nap”!

A wide selection of food is always available in the ship’s galley. I have discovered that I am not the only one taking advantage of this “benefit”!  I will definitely need to reestablish an exercise routine when I return home.  We are currently heading for Unimak Pass which is a wide strait between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean southwest of Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

Did you know that since the island chain crosses longitude 180°, the Aleutian Islands contain both the westernmost and easternmost points in the United States. (172° E and 163° W)!

180 longitude

Frank Hubacz: Our First Day at Sea, April 29, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 10,  2013

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea
Date: April 29, 2013

Weather Data from the Bridge:

Partly cloudy, Winds 10 – 15 knots
Air temperature: 4.0 C
Water temperature: 5.3 C
Barometric Pressure: 1014.14 mB
 

Science and Technology Log

The primary mission of this cruise is to deploy and recover moorings in several locations in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.  These moorings collect data for a group of scientist under the auspices of the Ecosystems & Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) which is a joint venture between the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), and the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC).  Participating institutions on this cruise include NOAA-PMEL, AFSC, Penn State, the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML), and the University of Alaska (UAF). This interdisciplinary study helps scientist better understand the overall marine environment of the North Pacific.  This understanding will lead to a better management of the fishery resources of the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.

To ensure that time at sea is maximized for data collection, a day or so before leaving Seward, Alaska, the science crew begins assembling their various monitoring instruments under the directions of Chief Scientist for this project, William (Bill) Floering, PMEL.

William Floering, Chief Scientist

William Floering, Chief Scientist.

Dan Naber from University of Alaska

Dan Naber from University of Alaska.

Some of the equipment that will be deployed includes an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), which measure speed and direction of ocean current at various depths.  This data helps physical oceanographers determine how organisms, nutrients and other biological and chemical constituents are transported throughout the ocean.  Argos Drogue drifters will also be deployed to help map ocean currents. Conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) measurements will be conducted at multiple sites providing information on temperature and salinity data.  Additionally, “Bongo” tows will also be made at multiple locations which will allow for the collection of zooplankton.  The results of this sampling will be used to characterize the netted zooplankton and help to monitor changes from previous sampling events.  In future blogs I will describe these instruments in greater detail.

The furthest extent of our mission into the Bering Sea is very much weather and ice dependent with much variation this time of the year in the North Pacific Ocean.  Current ice map conditions can be found at http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/ice.php.

Operation Area

Cruise Area

Cruise Area

Personal Log

As I rode in the shuttle bus from Anchorage to Seward, Alaska on Friday, April 27, and then onto the pier where the Oscar Dyson was docked, I was immediately impressed by its size and overall complexity.

Traveling to Seward, Alaska.

Traveling to Seward, Alaska.

Oscar Dyson in port.

Oscar Dyson in port.

Upon arrival I was met by Bill Floering, Chief Scientist on the cruise.  He gave me a tour of the overall ship and then I settled into my room, a double.  Just like being back in college myself, and being the first to the room, I had my choice of bunks and therefore selected the lower bunk (I did not want to fall out of the top bunk if the seas turned “rough”).  Arriving early provided me time to become oriented on the vessel given that I have never been aboard such a large ship before. I also had the opportunity to walk into Seward, AK, with a member of the science team, for a dinner downtown with extraordinary views of the surrounding mountains.

My stateroom!

My stateroom!

Seward

View from Seward, Alaska.

On Saturday, April 27, the rest of the science crew arrived and my roommate, Matthew Wilson, moved in.  Matt is from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) based in Seattle, Washington.  That evening we traveled into town again for another great dining experience…halibut salad with views of Resurrection Bay.

Matt Wilson from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Matt Wilson from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Sunday, April 28, was a busy day of sorting and setting up various instruments for deployment.  Winds were very strong, with snow blowing over the peaks of the mountains, glistening in the brilliant sunshine.

Scott McKeever from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Scott McKeever from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Scott at work on an ADCP buoy.

Scott at work on an ADCP buoy.

Installing instruments

Here I am helping to install instrumentation.

View of Seward Harbor.
View of Seward Harbor.

Monday, April 29, our day began with a safety meeting followed by our science meeting.  At that time we were assigned to our work shift.  I will be working from 12 midnight to 12 noon each day during the cruise.  Once the ship sets sail, the science crew is working 24 hours per day!

Science team meeting with Bill and crew.

Science team meeting with Bill and Survey Tech Douglas Bravo.

At 1500 hours we set sail!  The Journey begins!

Releasing tie lines.

Releasing tie lines.

Off we go!

Off we go!

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Frank Hubacz: Introduction, Sailing Aboard the Oscar Dyson, April 29 – May 11, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Frank Hubacz
Aboard NOAA ship Oscar Dyson
April 29 – May 10, 2013

Mission: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Mooring Deployment and Recovery
Geographical Area of Cruise:  Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea
Date:  April 17, 2013

Teacher at Sea Frank Hubacz

Teacher at Sea Frank Hubacz

Greetings!  My name is Frank Hubacz, and I teach General Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry at Franklin Pierce University where we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary.  Our main campus is located in Rindge, New Hampshire near the base of Mount Monadnock; this 3,165-ft. mountain summit is the most frequently climbed mountain in North America.  At Franklin Pierce, we encourage our student body of approximately 1400 students to embrace their education and to achieve academic success through the integration of liberal arts and our various professional programs.

I first started teaching biology in 1976; however my interests soon migrated into the study and teaching of chemistry.  I have been teaching  general chemistry at Franklin Pierce University since 1992.  While attending the 2006 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Convention in Anaheim, CA I had the good fortune to attend the headline presentation given by Jean-Michele Cousteau.  His presentation, entitled “Responsible Living…Because Everything is Connected”, considered the vital relationship between the health of our planet, as monitored by way of the health of the Ocean, and our actions as residents of the Earth.  Cousteau offered that, “When we think about our actions as teachers, students, tourists, parents, builders, farmers or name a profession, we must recognize all of our actions have environmental consequences…Because our health depends on the health of the planet, being aware of these connections can help us live responsibly” (NSTA Convention Program Itinerary, 2006).  During his appearance, Cousteau impressed upon his audience the importance of understanding how the Ocean can help us to monitor the health of our Earth.  Please note that I purposely use the term “Ocean” as opposed to “oceans” to emphasize the interconnectedness of this large body of water that covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface.  I then began to reflect upon the fact that I did very little relative to incorporating ocean systems in our study of general chemistry.  At this same conference, I was also introduced to the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program (TAS) and decided to apply during my next sabbatical leave in order to experience ongoing Ocean research with the hope of bringing this experience back into the classroom.

My goal as a TAS participant is to use this experience to help me explicitly incorporate Ocean related phenomena into the study of general chemistry topics such as density, conductivity, gas behavior, acid/base chemistry, solubility equilibrium, and kinetics.  Additionally, I hope to develop new laboratory exercises that are Ocean related as well as to help students to realize the wealth of live NOAA data available to help them better understand the complexity of the Ocean.  As a result I hope that students will gain a better understanding of “ocean chemistry” as well as to develop an appreciation of the interconnectedness among their actions, the health of our planet, and the health of the Ocean.  Additionally, by actively participating in an ongoing ocean research project, I will develop a deeper understanding of the various career and research opportunities available for my students to pursue.  I hope to convey to them the excitement of discovery as it relates to the Ocean thereby causing them to give serious consideration to following this line of study upon graduation.

A little bit about me…

I live with my wife of 38 years, Joan, in a rural community in central Massachusetts.  Our daughter Jessica lives in Vermont and has provided us with three beautiful grandchildren.  She currently leads their family’s home-school program and is expecting a new baby in June.

Jess, Josh, and family sledding with Grampie

Jess, Josh, and family sledding with Grampie

Our son Daniel is currently pursuing his Ph.D. program in Geology at the University of Delaware having completed his Master’s degree at this same institution.  His studies focus on fluvial geomorphology.

Maggie, Dan, and Joan

Maggie, Dan, and Joan

Kayaking at Race Point in Provincetown

Kayaking at Race Point in Provincetown

Whenever possible my wife and I “escape to the Cape” to enjoy all that Outer Cape Cod has to offer.  Our favorite activities include kayaking, freshwater, as well as saltwater fishing, dune riding, shell fishing, collecting mushrooms, collecting sea glass on long walks, and the peaceful views of the ocean beaches.

Frank and Joan enjoying the beach!

Joan and I enjoying the beach!

We also have a marine reef aquarium in our home, maintained steadfastly by my wife.  The aquarium currently contains many varieties of soft corals that we are learning to propagate along with several types of reef “critters”.

During the winter months I enjoy downhill skiing and am a night-league NASTAR (NAtional STAndard Race) racer on a team known as the Sled Dogs.  Our team’s motto, “strive for mediocrity” ensures that we focus on having fun and enjoying a winter’s evening of skiing at our local mountain.

In summary, I am eagerly looking forward to participating in the Teacher at Sea Program aboard the Oscar Dyson and all that this adventure has to offer!  I will use this experience to help my students to better understand “ocean chemistry” as well as to develop an appreciation of the interconnectedness among their actions, the health of our planet, and the health of the Ocean.