Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2O world: Girl Power in Science (7)

Margie Turrin

Margie Turrin- Science Education Coordinator at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Margie Turrin- Science Education Coordinator at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Job Title:
Science Education Coordinator Program: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Columbia University

What she does:

Margie’s job focuses on linking education and research in field based science. She works with students, teachers and college faculty, training and engaging them in collecting samples and data that they can study, and that research scientists can use to improve our understanding of estuaries and ocean systems. Whether she is living onboard a research vessel or land-based and organizing trainings, Margie is focused on helping expand the reach of science, developing and sharing ways that teachers and student groups can be involved in field based stud and research.

Favorite Part of her Job:
Hands down Margie’s favorite part is being out in the field. She loves working on a ship or along the shoreline – anything that is outside is OK! Aside from her own love of working in the field she enjoys being with students as they work outdoors since it is never what they expect! Students think science is like a lab experiment with a set beginning and end, but in the field things are always changing and you have to be able to think critically, make decisions and carefully record your data so that when you get back to the lab it makes sense and is usable.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
A background in biology and ecology was really helpful for Margie, but just as important is spending time volunteering or interning in any programs you can find that are related to your interest. Test it out before you commit your education to it,  see if you really like working outside in the field, being dirty and wet and collecting your own data and samples! Always be willing to say ‘yes I can help’ because that is where the real opportunities lie…and ask plenty of questions when you are helping on a project – that is how we all learn an scientists LOVE to talk about their work to an interested audience.

Olga Shatova

Olga Shatova- Graduate Student/Resarcher (marine ecology/biological oceanography)

Olga Shatova- Graduate Student/Resarcher (marine ecology/biological oceanography)

Job Title:
PhD student
Marine Science Department, University of Otago, New Zealand

What She does:
I am currently working on my PhD project that focuses on the role of nutrients recycled by seabirds for the phytoplankton productivity in the vicinity of sub-Antarctic islands. I’m doing my field working in the New Zealand sector fo the Southern Ocean: from off-shore Otago Peninsula to the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

 Favorite Aspect of job:
My job gets me to unique places protected from any public visits. Encounters with sub-Atarctic and Antarctic wildlife is really once in a lifetime experience.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I think the most important goal is to get work experience outside the classroom. I value most 2 internships I’ve done in Moneterey Bay Aqurium Rsearch Institute and Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences; this helped me a lot in understanding marine science research and allow me to choose what to do.

Darcy Saxion

Darcy Saxion- Student

Darcy Saxion- Student and Volunteer Reseacher

Job Title:
Senior at SUNY-ESF – Volunteer on NOAA Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey

What She does:
As a volunteer on the NOAA Autumn Bottom Trawl, I measured, weighed, dissected, and classified many fish species. I learned where otoliths were located on various fish, learned how to extract them and compared the size of otoloths between various fish. Additionally I learned the classification difference between a scup and a croaker. Most importantly, I became increasingly aware that volunteering/interning for NOAA aboard the Henry Bigelow was the best hands-on out of the classroom learning experience I ever had. I highly recommend this experience to gain a step up in your education.

Favorite Aspect of the job:
My favorite aspect of the job was networking with the crew members; getting to know them, how they got where they are today, and how I can get there myself. Many teachers at SUNY-ESF and Sea Semester have always told me that networking is the main way to achieve your goals and get your dream job. With that in mind I asked for advice, got emails, and most importantly worked hard on this two week cruise to prove my strong work ethic.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I have not graduated from College yet,  but would say my experience aboard the NOAA ship  Henry B. Bigelow and my past Sea Semester Ocean and Climate experience have been invaluable. Both are visual learning experiences where you’re thrown into a new routine – the learning curves are steep but I recommend them to every woman to better prepare for future jobs.

Claire Grenfell

Claire Grenfell- Student and Researcher

Claire Grenfell- Student and Researcher

Job Title:
Master of Science Marine Environmental Protection
Bangor University, Wales

What She does:
Claire is working towards completing her Master of Science degree in Marine Environmental Protection.  The degree consists of nine months taught courses and three months conducting an individual research project.  During the taught component of the course, Claire is undertaking five modules which each include a lecture period followed by a short research project.  Most recently, Claire conducted a survey to study the distribution of infaunal species along a sand beach in North Wales as a component of the Coastal Habitat module.

Favorite Aspect of job:
The many opportunities that Claire has to gain practical experience during her course, through field and laboratory work, is her favourite part of the degree so far.  She enjoys being able to complement the theory taught in lectures with the acquisition of skills through practical endeavours.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Students accepted onto the course generally require academic or work experience in marine, environmental or biological sciences.  Claire completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and gained practical experience in marine research through a Bermuda Program internship at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).  She recommends gaining volunteer or work experience in a research environment before undertaking an MSc degree, even if you have a relevant academic background.

Grace Seo

Grace Seo

Grace Seo, Master of Science Student

Job Title
Master of Science Student
Marine Affairs and Policy, RSMAS, University of Miami

What she does
Grace works at the University of Miami Experimental Hatchery (UMEH). She works with cobia, mahi mahi, Florida pompanos, goggle eyes, and blackfin tuna. These are all species of pelagic fish that occur naturally in the waters off Miami. Her focus is live feeds, specifically rotifers. Rotifers are the first live feed that is given to the larvae after they have fully utilized their yolk supply. Live feed is essential to the survival of larvae that are spawned at UMEH. It is her responsibility to ensure the maintenance, growth, health, and quality of the live feed that are essential for larval survival and proper development. She also works with students to teach and guide them to learn the proper protocols of live feed management.

Favorite part of her job
Grace’s favorite part of her job is being a mentor. Having gone through the process of learning all the protocols to a successful aquaculture project, she understands the nuances that it takes to keep the fish healthy and productive. Since she went through the process of learning all the protocols herself, she can relate with upcoming students in their learning process. She is able to relay the message in a manner that makes sense to a person who is new to the aquaculture world.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job
Grace believes that a background in marine science will help but volunteer and hands-on practice is best for aquaculture. Understanding why certain protocols are followed is essential and is best learned through practical application. If you are interested in aquaculture, volunteering at a hatchery would be the best exposure that you can get.

aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

Thanks for learning about all of these great women working in aquatic careers!

Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2o World: Girl Power in Science (6)

Another five ladies who work with and in our H2O world!

Sara Grady

Sara Grady- Watershed Ecologist

Sara Grady- Watershed Ecologist

Job Title:
Watershed Ecologist and South Shore Regional Coordinator
Massachusetts Bays Program

What She does:
A mix of research, outreach, and management, all to help local coastal communities understand, protect, and restore their watersheds.

Favorite Aspect of job:
It’s a tie between getting out in the field (especially salt marshes and mudflats) and the relationships I’ve formed with town staff and citizens

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
While I learned the basics of doing research and presenting it properly and clearly while working on my Ph.D., the interaction aspect came through my actual field work. I studied horseshoe crabs on the Cape, and as part of that I spent quality time with the natural resource staff of some of the towns as well as some crab fishermen. It made me realize that I wanted to do something where I helped the local coastal folks in a direct way with my research and outreach. I also spent a few summers as an undergraduate working at the watershed association that hosts my position, so that experience helped me find the sort of community I wanted to participate in.

Helena Reinardy

Postdoctoral Researcher- Helena Reinardy

Postdoctoral Researcher- Helena Reinardy

Job Title:
Post-doctoral Scientist in the Molecular Biology Lab
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

What She does:
Developing molecular and genetic techniques for investigating DNA repair mechanisms and trying to understand how capable sea urchins are in repairing damaged DNA. More broadly speaking, I am interested in understanding how organisms are affected by environmental stressors such as chemical pollutants, and the mechanisms they have for dealing with them at all levels of biological organisation (genetics, molecular and cellular, physiology, behaviour, and reproduction).

Favorite Aspect of job:
the variety of the work. The work requires so many different things: working in the lab, running experiments, collecting samples from the sea, designing experiments, researching previous work, writing manuscripts, teaching students, and communicating and collaborating with other researchers all over the world.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Getting as much experience of all the aspects of research as was possible. I worked in labs during my holidays as an undergraduate, I have moved around and been able to gain experience from many different scientist with different skills and perspectives, and my PhD was invaluable training in being a self-sufficient all-round science researcher.

Rachel Parsons

Rachel Parsons- Microbial Oceanographer

Rachel Parsons- Microbial Oceanographer

Job Title:
Research Specialist and Laboratory Manager of the Microbial Observatory
Bermuda Institute of Ocean SciencesWhat She does:
Microbial Oceanography: quantify and qualify the microbes in the ocean – viruses, bacteria and archaea. These microscopic organisms are responsible for using dissolved organic carbon (~40%) in the ocean and re-introducing it back into the food web and oceanic carbon cycle. Autotrophs or plant microbes along with phytoplankton contribute to 45% of the world’s oxygen – basically every other breath that you breathe comes from the ocean. She uses microscopy and molecular techniques to identify specific microbes in the ocean in order to better understand what microbes have adapted in specific ocean depths and why they have made these adaptations.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Teaching students the microscopy and molecular techniques and assisting them in looking at a variety of ecosystems including microbes associated with corals and sponges; those that adapt to a seasonally anoxic marine sound and those that can be used to trace sewage pollution.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
A strong mathematics and chemistry background in high school is essential. Being able to do chemical calculations in my head really speeds up many protocols and having a great grounding in these subjects ensures that mistakes are caught in time! Strong writing skills and knowledge of grammar have also been useful when writing scientific papers.

Katie May Lauman

Katie may Lauman- Student and Researcher

Katie may Lauman- Student and Researcher

 

Job Title:
Ph.D. Candidate, College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Department of Fisheries Science

What She does:
Katie May is working with other scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science studying sturgeon phylogenetics.  There are 25 species of sturgeons, all of which are imperiled due to demand for their meat and caviar, as well as habitat destruction.  These species are culturally and economically important to many communities, including Native American and First Nations groups.  In order to effectively protect sturgeons, it is important to understand their biology and phylogenetic relationships (how different species are related to one another).

Katie May extracts and sequences mitochondrial DNA from sturgeons, and uses this information to construct phylogenies that help elucidate evolutionary relationships among sturgeon species.  She also studies the development of sturgeons during the larval stage to better understand how behavior is linked to morphological development.  This aspect of her research requires her to clear and stain hatchery-raised larval sturgeon specimens- a process that turns soft tissue clear, bone red, and cartilage blue.  She then dissects the stained specimens- they can be as small as 10mm.  Conducting these dissections is a delicate process, which requires use of a microscope- for example, she uses tools such as insect pins to carefully separate the jaws of larval specimens so that she can examine tooth and jaw bone development.  Once dissections are complete, she compares her findings to behavioral developmental information documented by other researchers.

Katie May also participates, with her lab and the VIMS ichthyology course (taught by Dr. Eric Hilton), in an annual fish-collecting trip in the southern Appalachians.

Favorite Aspect of job: 
Katie May most enjoys dissecting larval sturgeon specimens and finding links between the timing of morphological and behavioral changes.  This aspect of her work is extremely interesting because sturgeons undergo very dramatic shifts during the larval stage.  For example, they hatch with terminal, forward facing jaws.  During the larval stage, the jaws slowly shift until they are ventrally positioned and protrusible- meaning they can extend their mouth away from their body to suction prey from the benthos.  Also interesting is the fact that sturgeons hatch without teeth, develop teeth during the larval stage, and then lose these teeth before they are fully mature.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job: 
Katie May earned her B.S. in Biology at Southampton College of Long Island University.  She then earned an M.A. in Conservation Biology at Columbia University.  While at Columbia, she interned at the Blue Ocean Institute, a non-profit organization where she helped develop Seafood Sustainability cards.  She also interned and volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History, working on a molecular coral reef project.  Before returning to school to pursue her PhD, she worked in the grant-writing department at Rainforest Alliance, an organization dedicated to biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.  The best advice she can give anyone interested in pursuing science is to take advantage of internship opportunities- especially those involving lab or field work.

Yosra Khammeri

Yosra Khammeri- student and regional coordinator

Yosra Khammeri- student and regional coordinator

Job Title:
PhD student,
National Institute for Sciences and Technology of the Sea,
National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia,
Regional Scientific Coordinator NF-POGO Alumni Network for Oceans (NANO), Africa region,

What She does:
I had the opportunity to benefit from a joint fellowship from the Nippon Foundation (NF) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) to follow a training programme at the Bermuda institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). I was particularly interested by the work addressing the impact of Saharan dust deposit on phytoplankton growth.  At this stage, I was also involved in using flow cytometry to investigate at the single cell level, the response of phytoplankton to atmospheric dust deposit.

I found this approach very appealing to address the impact of Saharan dust deposit on phytoplankton development in the gulf of Gabès, Tunisia, and integrate it in my PhD project which is “High frequency observation of phytoplankton assemblages with automated flow cytometry, response to pulsed events”.

Favorite Aspect of job:
As a scientific coordinator for NANO Africa, I will be able to participate in promoting global oceanography and particularly implementing international and integrated global ocean observing systems.

My PhD project will address several priority areas: fixed point time-series observations, emerging technologies (automated in situ flow cytometry) for ocean observation, data management and coastal observation.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Working hard and passionately contributes to the capacity building of my country by applying my skills and transferring my knowledge to other Tunisian scientists. I am proud that Tunisia will become the second country after France to deploy an instrumented buoy including an automated flow cytometer, thus contributing to the cornerstone of a future Mediterranean network of similar observation buoys. Always be motivated, make connections, and be sure that you love what you do. Oceanography is not an easy field so having the support of your family and friends is also very important!

Stay Tuned for the next set of ladies!!

aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2O world: Girl Power in Science (5)

Fernanda Giannini

Fernanda Giannini- Oceanography Researche

Fernanda Giannini- Oceanography Researcher

Job Title:
PhD student at University of São Paulo – Oceanography Institute

What She does:
I am a first year PhD student in the Biological Oceanography Program and I am developing my field and laboratory work at the Marine Biology Center, located in São Sebastião (northern coast of São Paulo State – Brazil).

My project looks at the estimates of primary production and analysis of photosynthetic rates of the phytoplankton community in the São Sebastião channel. This channel deserves special attention due to the presence of the Port of São Sebastião, which presents potential environmental impacts for this coastal region. Furthermore, there is an important ecosystem located in the continental portion of the channel, the Araça Bay, which presents a very high biodiversity and it is an ecosystem under different types of human pressure.

The project approaches the use of techniques to estimate physiological rates and primary production from the fluorescence emitted by chlorophyll molecules as part of the photosynthesis process in the phytoplankton cells. Several studies on how to accurately estimate primary production rates from the fluorescence data has been developed around the world in order to provide a faster and less invasive method to obtain this kind of data.

Favorite Aspect of job:
For me, the most exciting aspect of being in this type of research is to have the opportunity to be in contact with so many different people, sharing experiences and moving to work in different places, from which you can establish networks and good research groups. The second aspect I consider really important is that, different of other jobs, you have the liberty and independence to work on issues and projects that suit you best, and this makes the job much more rewarding. Also, as an oceanography researcher, I am fascinated with being out on the ocean in research vessels.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I got my degree in Marine Biology in 2007, when I decided to focus in oceanography, applying for a master degree program in Biological Oceanography in 2008. Then, I have spent two years to get my degree and, during this time, I had great experiences in the oceanography field, participating of different projects, cruises, conferences and so on. By the end of my masters, I was selected to join the Training Program in Observational Oceanography at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). I have spent 10 months at this training and the course provided great experience and knowledge about different areas of oceanography, such as physical and chemical oceanography, data management, remote sensing, etc. As soon as I got back home, I joined the PhD program, also in Biological Oceanography at University of São Paulo. In summary, that was my schooling and experiences which made me end up at my current position, and that I hope will help to set me up for a good job in a near future.

Lisa Bourassa

Lisa Bourassa- Research Associate/Phycologist

Lisa Bourassa- Research Associate/Phycologist

Job Title:
Research Associate, Phycologist
Louisiana State University
Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery

What She does:
I work at an oyster hatchery operated by LSU Sea Grant. Here we grow polyploid Crassostrea virginica oysters for research and development for the oyster industry, as well as restoration working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). As the Phycologist I am responsible for culturing all of the microalgae that is fed to our broodstock and larval oysters (our system can generate up to 2800 L of algae a day). I also help spawn oysters, culture the larvae, and many other miscellaneous tasks that need to be completed in the hatchery.

Favorite Aspect of job:
My favorite aspect my job is that I’m not chained to a desk! I get to work outside, get my hands dirty, and every day is different! It’s also great to be part of restoration efforts. Our hatchery works with LDWF researching different methods for oyster restoration, so it’s great to be part of something that strives to restore the oyster populations to benefit the environment as well as the industry, which many people rely on for their livelihood.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
While a background in marine biology is very important, I think the experience that set me up best for this job was working in the aquaculture laboratory as a tech at Roger Williams University. Here I learned many of the skills I execute on a daily basis, but I really learned how to manage my time, figure out what needs to be done, and get it done. Because this job was mostly taking care of animals, I learned quickly that when you work with live animals, the animals must come first and be cared for, regardless of weekends or holidays. This experience also taught me how to roll with the punches, and troubleshoot any problems that I encounter throughout the day, and it’s always okay to ask for some help if you need it.

Another experience that set me up best for this job was my time spent as a Girl Scout. Although being a Scout may not have given me the technical knowledge for my job, it taught me how to think on my own, work individually, the value of teamwork, and how to use my resources effectively. I also learned that hard work and challenges are not something to be feared, but instead to embrace the opportunities that they provide.

Kate Degnan

Kate Degnan- Educator, North Carolina Aquarium

Kate Degnan- Educator, North Carolina Aquarium

Job Title:
Educator
Education Department
North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island

What She Does:
Kate conducts public education programs at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The mission of the aquarium is to promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the natural resources of North Carolina. Kate facilitates this type of learning by introducing the public to live animals, using the Science on a Sphere technology developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), playing educational games, or speaking with aquarium divers. Kate has other tasks as well; occasionally she works with the aquarium husbandry staff to help with animal care, each week she dives in the aquariums 285,000 gallon shark tank, and she also helps develop new programs.

Favorite Aspect of Job
Each day is different! Typically within a week, Kate will only teach the same program once or twice since the schedule is so varied. However, no matter how many times Kate teaches a program the delivery and execution of each program is different. Due to the location of the aquarium, people from all over the United States and from different parts of the world visit. Each person who visits has some interest, curiosity, or fear of the animals they encounter. As an educator you must understand their reaction and impart some knowledge so they might be less afraid or more interested and educated. The people make the program.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job?
Kate has found that having experience working with various age groups of students and being able to modify what you teach to suit the audience is extremely important. Kate has a background in marine biology and education psychology; this combination of education has provided Kate with a scientific background but also the understanding of how people learn. Communicating scientific information is important you must be able to translate that information in a way that the public can relate to it and care about it.

Sarah Fawcett

Sarah Fawcett- Chemical Oceanographer

Sarah Fawcett- Chemical Oceanographer

Job Title:
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University

What She does:
Sarah is a Chemical Oceanographer studying the interactions between the ocean’s major chemical cycles (specifically nitrogen and carbon) and phytoplankton, the floating single-celled plants that generate chemical energy by photosynthesis and support all of ocean life. Photosynthesis is the biological process that converts carbon dioxide into organic carbon, and nitrogen is essential for photosynthesis. One major consequence of phytoplankton photosynthesis is that it lowers the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere by storing it in the deep sea. Changes in the efficiency of this storage likely explain past changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which in turn have affected climate. We know surprisingly little about which phytoplankton in the surface ocean are responsible for taking up the nitrogen mixed into the surface from depth, and for transporting organic matter back into the deep ocean, or if indeed all phytoplankton participate equally in this process. Sarah’s interest is in discovering the sources of nitrogen that different types of phytoplankton use for growth, with a view to understanding whether phytoplankton diversity is important for ocean processes such as carbon storage in the deep ocean, and how this might change if phytoplankton communities change in the future.

 Favorite Aspect of job:
I love going out on the ship to collect samples at sea. Being out on the open ocean reminds me of the “big picture”, of the important reasons why I’m doing the research I do. It’s easy to forget that when I spend long periods of time in the lab. I also really enjoy deploying all the different types of instruments that we use to collect scientific samples at sea; some of the engineering that goes into making oceanography happen is genius!

 What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I got my bachelor’s degree in Earth and Planetary Science, and was first introduced to marine chemistry during the two summers I spent as an undergraduate on the Great Barrier Reef, reconstructing El Niño signals recorded in 10,000 year-old corals. This experience cemented my fascination with how our planet – and particularly our oceans – work. Ultimately, however, taking math and science courses, and taking advantage of field trip and lab work opportunities was the best preparation for this job.

Ali Hochberg

Ali Hochberg -Education and Development Coordinator

Ali Hochberg -Education and Development Coordinator

Job Title:
Education and Communications Coordinator
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

What She does:
Varies from day to day, but includes writing press releases, newspaper articles, newsletter articles; managing social media accounts; assisting with the creation of short- and long-term audience and donor development and communication strategies; working with faculty to highlight current and future science endeavors; identifying new avenues of publication and promotion within local and international circles; website content and design development; creation and design of new marketing materials.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Using my science background to translate the work of science faculty and staff into materials that can be understood by wider audiences.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
A science background is crucial, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to understand the details of the research taking place, but experience in public education/outreach, marketing/advertising, and writing are also invaluable.

aquatic careers

Girl Power In Science

Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2O World: Girl Power in Science (4)

Kayte Altieri

Kayte Altieri- Associate Research Scholar /Atmospheric Biogeochemist

Kayte Altieri- Associate Research Scholar/Atmospheric Biogeochemist

Job Title:
Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University, Department of Geosciences

What She does:
Katye studies atmospheric biogeochemistry and her research seeks to improve our understanding of how air pollution impacts the ocean. Her postdoctoral work focuses on characterizing the sources and interrelationships among pollutants in rainwater and aerosols deposited in the subtropical North Atlantic surface ocean. Katye conducts her fieldwork on the small island of Bermuda, which is 1000 km off the coast of South Carolina. The rainwater and aerosols collected on the island are analyzed by both chemical techniques and instruments which characterize the types of molecules and provides information on the atmospheric chemistry impacting the pollution as it travels out to the ocean.

Favorite Aspect of job:
I love being on the ocean and traveling around the world to conduct my research. I also really enjoy knowing that my work is helping us understand the world around us and how we can better protect it from pollution.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I was a Chemistry major in college and I did an internship in an Oceanography lab which is where I first became fascinated with the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere. I recommend studying as much math and science as you can because they will help prepare you for many career paths.

Kate Rossi-Snook

Kate Rossi-Snook- Bay Management Specialist

Kate Rossi-Snook- Bay Management Specialist

Job Title:
Bay Management Specialist and Hatchery Manager
East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery

What she does:
She works on spawning and growing oysters, clams, and scallops for restoration and enhancement of the natural stocks in East Hampton harbors.

Favorite Aspect of her job:
My favorite aspect of my job is witnessing and contributing to the full cycle of life – spawning the shellfish broodstock and being able to see the cells fertilize within minutes, divide within hours, and become larvae the next day; tracking the growth of the shellfish until they are finally large enough to be seeded; and ultimately watching the baymen and recreational fishers harvest the shellfish and directly benefit from the work we do.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
My bachelors in marine biology and my aquaculture experience gave me the scientific knowledge to manage the spawns and care for the shellfish as they grow, while my masters in applied environmental anthropology set the stage for fully appreciating my work and understanding the complexities and importance of a marine resource management approach that takes into consideration and respects the culture and economy of a region as well as the environment.

Missy Stults

Missy Stults

Missy Stults- Research Fellow and Doctoral Student

Job Title:
Research Fellow and Doctoral Student (Previously Climate Director for ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability)
University of Michigan

What She does:
Works with and studies strategies for building more resilient and climate friendly urban areas. Includes looking at the psychology of environmental decision-making and working with local stakeholders to devise practical solutions to local climate action.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Working with people. I absolutely, unequivocally love working with people. Research is fascinating, but it’s only through the application of research that really difference can be made. This is particularly true with an issue like climate change that, I’d argue, we have a moral imperative to address in meaningful ways by engaging with stakeholders to co-produce useful and usable tools, resources, and information.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
My undergraduate training in marine biology and environmental science afforded me the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful in my current role. My graduate degree in climate and society gave me the content expertise needed to truly understand the science behind climate change and variability. However, it was the skills I acquired on the job that made me the most qualified to do the work I’ve been blessed to do. I hope that my doctorate will allow me to refine these skills and give me the remaining training I need to really transform the way we think about urban climate action.

Joanna York

Joanna York- Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Program

Joanna York- Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Program

Job Title:
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Program
University of Delaware, School of Marine Science and Policy

What She does:
My job includes both teaching and research.

Favorite Aspect of job:
I’m torn here. I love my research which focuses on investigating the sources and impacts of nutrients in estuarine systems. I get to do field work ranging from small boat work to groundwater sampling, and those days are always wonderful– exhausting and wonderful. Lab work is challenging and time consuming, but it produces the cool data that allow me to piece together the story of how the system works. The other part of my job that gives me great satisfaction is teaching. I teach several of the introductory courses our program in Marine Biology and I love working with young people and getting them excited about this field of science. Best are probably the field trips we take. The highlight last year was a moonlit horseshoe crab spawning survey.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
My undergraduate work in general, and specifically a semester abroad spent studying marine biology and ecology probably had the greatest impact. Those experiences sparked my interest in the field and provided the enthusiasm to consider working towards a PhD, which is a requirement for academic jobs.

Diane Wyse
Graduate Student (Oceanography/Marine Science)

Diane Wyse- Graduate Graduate Student (Oceanography/Marine Science)

Job Title:
Graduate Student (Marine Science/Oceanography)
Moss Landing Marine Laboratory
Moss Landing, California

What She does:
Diane is working towards her Masters degree in Marine Science in the Physical Oceanography Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories on the Monterey Bay.  Her thesis project focuses on data analysis of multiple oceanographic sensors from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) Dorado autonomous underwater vehicle.  She is specifically interested in determining what we can learn about plankton community composition from the Laser In-Situ Scattering and Transmissometry sensor, which detects particle sizes in the upper water column.  Diane developed her thesis ideas and questions from work she began during her summer work at where she performed the Drew Gashler Internship.  In addition to taking classes and working on her thesis proposal, Diane has worked as a Research Assistant for the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System, managing the public data portal and oceanographic sensors at MLML.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Diane enjoys the adventure of collecting data for her projects and others, whether it is on a research vessel or on SCUBA.  The challenges of processing, analyzing, and presenting oceanographic data to address questions about dynamics in a marine ecosystem are among the most rewarding aspects of research.  Diane also feels very fortunate for the opportunities to live in beautiful, outdoorsy, and sometimes remote locales in order to study marine science.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
A background in biology and marine science internships from her undergraduate career helped solidify Diane’s interests and background in oceanography.  Exploring a variety of research experiences as an undergraduate was crucial in building a foundation for graduate-level research science.  Diane believes that pursuing research and field opportunities in multiple disciplines was and remains among the best ways to be a well-rounded and informed marine scientist.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more careers!

aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2O World: Girl Power in Science (3)

Rachael Heuer

Rachael Heuer- Doctoral Student/Research Scientist

Rachael Heuer- Doctoral Student/Research Scientist

Job Title: Graduate Student, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
Division: Marine Biology and Fisheries
PhD Research area: Fish physiological response to ocean acidification

What She does:
Rachael is a third year graduate student researching the impacts of future predicted oceanic carbon dioxide levels on marine fish. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing, the ocean is taking up more CO2, making it more acidic and causing potential challenges for a variety of organisms. Most of her research is conducted in a laboratory setting, where she is able to manipulate seawater to mimic future predicted conditions and see how this affects the physiology of fish. She is responsible for performing the experiments, analyzing the data, and making sure her results are shared with other scientists.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Rachael’s favorite part of the job is performing experiments that could help others better predict what may happen to fish populations in the future as our oceans become more acidic. She enjoys carefully planning out controlled experiments to look at how a fish’s body is responding to high CO2 levels. She also enjoys traveling to conferences where she can learn the most up-to-date information in the field from other students and scientists.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Rachael received a degree in Zoology, but ended up conducting research in Marine Biology. Having good grades and a general science background is important, but prospective employers and supervisors are most interested in your experience and passion for the subject. Rachael’s best advice for students considering a career in science is to immerse yourself in the scientific process by volunteering agency or a scientist to get an idea of all aspects of the job. The variety of research that can be conducted on the ocean is very broad, so it is important to find the subject that interests you the most. Rachael also spent three years teaching high school science prior to beginning a graduate degree, which showed her the importance of communicating science with the public.

Julia Lawson

Julia Lawson- Graduate Student/Researcher (Marine Biology/Conservation)

Julia Lawson- Graduate Student/Researcher (Marine Biology/Conservation)

Job Title:
MSc Student with Project Seahorse
Zoology Department/Fisheries Centre
The University of British Columbia

What She does:
Seahorses are little fish that are heavily harvested for their use in traditional Chinese medicine, the aquarium trade and curiosities. Scientists estimate that as many as 20 million individuals are traded annually, yet very little is known about seahorse basic biology, which has made it difficult to determine how seahorse populations are responding to this harvest. My research focuses on seahorses in Thailand, the largest exporter of seahorses globally. I will be using life history parameters like number of offspring produced, seahorse sex, size and reproductive state to determine how susceptible seahorses are to the current harvest. The results from my study will be used to assist Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia in developing better management plans for seahorses.

Favorite Aspect of job:
I am always amazed and surprised by coral reef ecosystems, and love watching and learning new things about coral reef fish and invertebrates. I only began working with coral reefs in Bermuda in 2008 and since then I have seen so many amazing things and learned so much. From learning in Bermuda that surgeonfish get their name because of a tiny ‘scalpel’ on the base of their tail, to swimming with manta rays, seeing a tiger shark and hearing humpback whales in Australia, every day in the field is full of surprises.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I completed my undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University, where I was also a student in the Science Co-op Program. The Co-op program allowed students to alternate work terms with academic terms, gaining hands-on work experience. While in the program, I spent two semesters interning at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences where I completed my honours research on coral reef reproduction and recruitment. My internships in Bermuda opened many doors for me, especially since i earned my AAUS Science Diver certification. After graduating I worked as a research assistant in the Bahamas looking at invasive lionfish, I worked for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans analyzing deep sea sponges on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and most recently I worked as a research assistant for the University of Queensland on Heron Island with a PhD student looking at surgeonfish grazing impacts. Not being afraid to go to new places and try new things is critical, and using connections from previous experiences has helped me expand my research experience.

Stacey Goldberg

Stacey Goldberg- Student and Researcher

Stacey Goldberg- Graduate Student/Researcher  (Marine Biology/immunology and natural product/drug discovery)

Job Title:

Ph.D. Graduate Student
University of Prince Edward Island
Biomedical Sciences/Marine Natural Products

What She does:


Marine natural products, otherwise known as secondary metabolites, are structurally complex chemical compounds with well-defined biological targets.  They provide a validated starting point for drug discovery as a chemical scaffolds.  As the need for new drugs becomes vital to combat multidrug resistant pathogens, marine natural products research is on the rise.  This area of science seemed a clear direction for me to pursue due to my interests in a combination of subjects including marine biology, immunology, and biochemistry.  I am currently completing my first year as a graduate student at University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in the Biomedical Sciences Department within the Atlantic Veterinary College.  I am working in the lab of Dr. Russell Kerr, a leading marine natural product scientist, alongside an exceptional group of faculty, scientists and students.  My research will focus on the assessment of marine sponges and their associated microbiota to produce bioactive halogenated natural products, and to investigate the biosynthetic origin of these metabolites.

 

Favorite Aspect of job
:

More than anything, I appreciate the process of scientific investigation.  As a graduate student, I am already learning the tools necessary to critically evaluate, think creatively and independently, and establish clear objectives.  I enjoy feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when being involved in the completion of a project in order to address a question or hypothesis.  It took some time to discover my version of a “dream job”, which utilizes biotechnological advancement for the purposes of exploring our oceans to exploit novel chemistry for potential therapeutic applications.  Such is why I chose marine natural products research to further my education, as I my biggest hope is to make some small contribution to science and quality of human life.  And, scuba diving to collect marine specimens for my research is not bad either.

 

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:

There are a few key experiences/positions that I think best prepare me for being a successful scientist.  Some of my experience includes working as a research technician at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the cancer research department, and working as research scientist in the immunology department at a non-profit Tuberculosis vaccine development company.  Just prior to entrance into my current program, I participated in a graduate internship at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) with Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  I worked in the Biomedical Research Department under the mentorship of Dr. Esther Guzmán and Dr. Amy Wright, a distinguished marine natural products chemist.  It was designed to provide hands-on experience in a research environment in areas that include immunology, drug development, and marine natural product chemistry.  It was a perfect segue into my current graduate studies program, and an exceptional experience that assisted in honing in on my true career and life goals, to be a better scientist and genuinely challenge myself.

aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

Kaitlin Baird, Women in an H2O world: Girl power in science (2)

A few more career ideas from these exciting women!

Hillary Kates

Hillary Kates- Aquaculture Research Technician

Hillary Kates- Aquaculture Research Technician

Job Title:
Aquaculture Laboratory Technician
Algenol
Bonita Springs, Florida

What She does:
Research and development with blue-green algae, creating an algal technology platform for the production of ethanol. Basically, the company’s mission is to make an affordable and renewable biofuel out of algae for less than a dollar a gallon!

Favorite Aspect of job:
I get to work both outdoors and indoors working on everything from the aquaculture to the physiology of the algae. Its a fast-pace milestone-driven company so there is always something new to be learned!

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
The National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program in Bermuda provided me with an introduction to this field and with an exceptional experience that allowed me to find a job in it!

Karen Sullam

Karen Sullam- Researcher and student

Karen Sullam- Researcher and student

Job Title:
Graduate Student Researcher, Ph.D. Candidate at Drexel University, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science

What She does:
Karen researches the ecology and evolution of fish and their gut bacteria. She uses three model systems for evolution to test her hypotheses about what shapes bacterial communities in fish and in their environment. These include guppies from Trinidad, which have locally adapted to stream environments with and without predators, Sticklebacks from Switzerland that either live in lake or stream environments, and cichlids from Africa that have adaptively radiated in Lake Tanganyika and consume incredibly diverse diets. Karen uses both collections from the wild and experimental manipulations to analyze the bacteria from fish and figure out what shapes their communities, with particular focus on fish diet, ecology and evolutionary history. She also works as a teaching assistant and teaches introductory biology to undergraduate students at Drexel University.

Favorite Aspect of job:
She has two favorite aspects of her job: learning and traveling. She really enjoys working in an academic setting because it provides an intellectually stimulating environment. As a student at a university, she has many opportunities to meet other scientists, hear different lectures and discuss ideas with other students or professors. She also loves having the opportunity to travel for her work. She has been able to go to Trinidad to conduct fieldwork there, and she has been on a Fulbright Scholarship to Switzerland. Both experiences provided a great opportunity to learn more about the natural environment and diverse cultures from different parts of the world.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
A bachelors degree in biology or a related field is necessary to become a PhD student in her field. Some students first complete a master’s degree, but it is not required for many programs in the United States. She also encourages people to apply to different scholarships and grants. The application process itself is a learning experience, and being awarded one can be life changing!

Kerstin Kalchmayr

Kerstin Kalchmayr- NY Oyster Program Coordinator

Kerstin Kalchmayr- NY Oyster Program Coordinator

Job title:
NY Oyster Program Coordinator
NY/NJ Baykeeper

What She does:
I manage the field aspect of the Oyster Restoration Research Project (ORRP). The ORRP is a multi-partner pilot study to understand how best to reintroduce oyster reefs to NY harbor. I schedule and coordinate field trips with partners, and oversee and manage all the data collection (biological and water quality) out at our experiment oyster reefs.  Part of my job is also to go out into the community and spread the word about the project and why oysters are so important. I also coordinate our Oyster Gardening Program, an environmental stewardship activity engaging New York City residents in taking care of a small cage of oysters. This program aims to reconnect NYC residents with their forgotten waterways and has grown in popularity over the years.

Favorite Aspect of Job:
My job has a nice balance of desk work and field work. I really enjoy being out in the field whether it’s on a boat or in waders come rain or shine. I see the city I live in (New York City) from an angle that many never get to see it from. I enjoy being close to the natural world, and keeping track on the daily tide levels and moon phases which I need to be aware of in order to schedule field trips. Because of the educational outreach aspect of my work I also come into contact with a wide variety of people, which is also an aspect of my job that I love.

What type of schooling/experience best set you up for this job:
For my undergrad I majored in Botany and Zoology so that definitely helped set me up to work in the environmental field. During my studies I volunteered in research projects as much as I could. Moving to a new city after my studies I found that volunteering for environmental organizations was a great way to break into the local environmental scene and meet the people involved. I feel it definitely helped me in getting my current job at NY/NJ Baykeeper.

Kathleen Mimoy Silvano

Kathleen Mimoy Silvano- Biological/Satellite Oceanographer

Kathleen Mimoy Silvano- Biological/Satellite Oceanographer

Job Title:
Biological (and Satellite)  Oceanographer

What She does:
I study these microscopic organisms in the ocean called plankton. These cute little creatures are key players in ocean processes like carbon cycle, fisheries, algal blooms, etc. Part of my job is to go out to sea to measure their abundance, and distribution in a certain area to find out how much they are contributing to the ocean processes mentioned above. I also look into the environmental conditions that could affect plankton to understand their dynamics. Getting measurements at sea means collecting seawater with plankton to be analyzed under a microscope, and deploying instruments that records information about the water at different depths. Another tool that I use to study the ocean are satellite images, a technique called satellite remote sensing. These satellite images are like “pictures” of the earth taken  from outer space, and may look simple but actually contains a lot of information on synoptic spatial coverages that cannot be achieved by going out to sea for days. Besides plankton applications, my colleagues and I use satellite images to detect and study coastal habitats (i.e., coral reefs, seagrass and seaweed beds and mangroves), and processes. This part of the job takes me underwater, diving to survey these habitats and moore instruments that would record water conditions for longer periods of time.

Favorite Aspect of job:
What I like most about my job is doing fieldwork, being out at sea, interacting and learning from other people from different fields. Handling instruments for me is fun as I usually call them my “toys,” and remote sensing is similar to putting colors in a coloring book but doing it in a hi-tech way with a computer, and finding the stories behind it.  Seeing the wonder below the surface (diving) helps me appreciate and reminds me why I am doing this job in the first place. The most fulfilling part about my job however, is when we (colleagues and I) impart to local communities and kids what we do and what we have found out; or see our study outputs (e.g., satellite maps and scientific results) actually being used by communities for fisheries, environmental management and policy making. Of course there’s much, much more work and technicalities behind the  “playing” and “coloring”, but this is just a way of saying how I’m enjoying what I do.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Basic Biology would be a lot of help as well as being technically inclined to work with all sorts of tools. The biology doesn’t have to be specialized, as my background is actually pre-medicine biology. But I would say hands-on field experience and exposure is very valuable because it teaches things that cannot be learned inside a classroom or from a book. Luckily, I had the chance to have sea-time experience which I complemented with formal classroom trainings.

Marine Science Institute- University of the Philippines: my long-term affiliation (since I graduated B.S. degree, and where I actually worked as a biological oceanographer and on remote sensing on several projects. Main sites are Philippine waters, South China Sea, West Pacific boundary.

NF-POGO – BIOS: short-term training to update on techniques. Sites: North Atlantic, Sargasso Sea

Phytoclima Proj. – Universidade do Algarve (Portugal): current affiliation where we study phytoplankton responses to climate change. Site: Southwest Iberia.

Pamela Marsh

Pamela Marsh- Coastal Geologist

Pamela Marsh- Coastal Geologist

Job:
Coastal Geologist, most recently consulting with the National Park Service on Barrier Island Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico.
What the job entails:
This position entails planning and conducting field studies related to sediment transportation along the barrier islands of the northern Gulf of Mexico.  It also involves reading landscape construction plans, technical documents, and regulations prepared by various branches of the federal government, state governments and environmental groups and providing scientific insight and comments to ensure that what is planned is within the realm of scientific possibility and that actions are based on science and not just on wishful thinking and on what is cheapest in the short run but more destructive in the long run. This position involves attending numerous meetings with people from a variety of government and non government organizations and acting as a liaison among the various organizations and being the person who is in the field making sure that the project work is being performed to specifications.  I am the translator who takes the scientific information and explains it to the non scientists.
Favorite aspects of the job:
I enjoy the field work most, especially the two weeks I got to spend aboard a coring ship in the Gulf of Mexico running a vibracorer to collect sediment samples from the sea bottom to see what type, color and size of sediment was present.  I also enjoy finding the flaws in the plans so they can be addressed before they cause problems.
What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I have a variety of degrees that helped me prepare for this job.  I have an associates degree that focused mostly on communication.  Communication is very important when working with people, especially people who come from different backgrounds and don’t necessarily understand each other’s priorities and concerns.  I have a bachelors in Geography with a focus in Oceanography that gave me the opportunity to learn how the ocean works.  I have a masters and PhD in Geological Sciences that taught me how to design and carry out scientific studies and how to do field work.  Getting graduate degrees also required me to learn to read technical papers to understand the content and taught me to question what I read.  Not everything that is published is correct and it’s important to remember that.  I have a teaching background that comes in handy in explaining things to people who don’t have much background in the subject.  I think all these things are important in order to do this sort of job well.  While a graduate degree may not be strictly required for a job of this type, all the scientific staff have PhDs and all the regulatory staff have at least a masters on this project.
We are not done yet preview more aquatic careers coming up soon!
aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

Kaitlin Baird, Women in a H2O world: Girl Power in Science (1)

Hi Everyone!

Me again! As my journey with NOAA 2012 comes to a close I decided to expand my list of women who work on, in, and with the biology, chemistry, physics and geology of our H2O world. I hope these women will be both an inspiration to you (as they are to me) as you search for the right career for you as well as a source of information on just how many avenues there are for women in aquatic sciences. This list merely scratches the surface!

aquatic careers

Girl Power in Science

I will be introducing new women to you on each blog, so stay tuned!!

Marci Cole

Coastal Ecologist Marci Cole

Marci Cole- Coastal Ecologist

Job Title:
Coastal Ecologist
Save The Bay
Narragansett Bay


What She does:
I oversee our salt marsh monitoring program for restoration projects. Recently I’ve designed and implemented a state-wide salt marsh assessment to see how Rhode Island’s salt marshes are faring with respect to rapid sea level rise. The attached photo is of me monitoring changes in surface elevation at Gooseneck Cove salt marsh in Newport, Rhode Island, one of our restoration sites.

Favorite Aspect of job:
Field work! I love being out in the salt marsh, especially in the fall. The colors are beautiful. I also am lucky to work with a number of great people from different organizations around the state.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I have a Ph. D. in Coastal Ecology, which certainly helps, but I think a lot of knowledge can also be gained through experience. Internships are fantastic ways to find out if a topic is of interest to you. The kind of field work I do is not for everyone, and I think it’s great to find out if you like it before you invest years in education.

Beth Basinski

PADI Staff Instructor/manager

Beth Basinski
PADI Staff Instructor/manager

Job Title:
PADI Staff Instructor, Manager
Cane Bay Dive Shop
St. Croix, USVI

What She Does:
I am currently a PADI Staff Instructor, USCG 100ton Master Captain and Manager at Cane Bay Dive Shop, a very prominent 5 Star IDC Facility in the US Virgin Islands.  Aside from running a staff of 11 PADI instructors on a day to day, I instruct all levels of dive training through Open Water Scuba Instructor.  Having just completed my PADI Tec 45 Sidemount Course, I hope to continue my training to become a Tec Sidemount Instructor, allowing  students and myself to enjoy the depths of which most divers never get to see.

In my free time, I also makes an effort to help educate the small island of St. Croix about the need for marine conservation and sustainable resources.  I spend time working with kids throughout the island to open their minds and help them appreciate and protect the amazing natural resources of the Caribbean.

Favorite Aspect of Her Job:
It’s truly a toss-up between using my education in marine science to help educate divers and non-divers alike about the need for marine conservation and the joy that I get when one of my students sees the underwater world for the first time.  Either way, I try to implement a sense of responsibility and respect for the marine environment and being able to do that either in the classroom or in the water with SCUBA students is very rewarding.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
I had always known that I wanted to study Marine Biology in University, but I was never quite sure exactly where it would take me.  Having spent an amazing 4 years earning my BSc in Marine Biology at Roger Williams University, I was introduced to a plethora of options.  I also had a strong affinity for conservation and volunteering, which led me to travel the world and expand my global education.  After working with a non-profit marine science program in Mexico, spending time in Belize and Costa Rica and working for the Department of Marine Fisheries in Massachusetts, I found that what I really wanted to do was help others see WHY all the work that scientists and researchers do is important.  I attribute my ability to “do what I want” to my education in marine biology and being able to couple that with SCUBA.  I’m not one who is much for spending time in a lab or collecting data (been there tried that) but I would love to help inspire others, adults and kids alike, to use SCUBA as a means to further their potential in the marine science world!

Megg Reynolds

Megg Reynolds- Marine Science Technician

Megg Reynolds- Marine Science Technician

Job Title:
Marine biology technician
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
NOAA Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What She does:
Processes age structures (scales and otoliths) from different species of fish for the age and growth lab in Woods Hole, MA

Favorite Aspect of job:
I love that I am able to go out to sea! Participating in the at-sea surveys is a great way to learn how to sample fish and it gets you away from the office for a little while.  I also love that I am working in the field that I have wanted to work in since the age of 15.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
When I was in high school, I volunteered at the New England Aquarium in Boston.  That experience set the groundwork for my love of marine biology.  In college, I majored in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Biology.  I also completed a field course studying tropical marine ecology on the east coast of Australia.  All of these experiences showed me that with a lot of hard work I could get to where I wanted to be.

Kascia White

Student and researcher- Kascia White

Kascia White- Student and Research

Job Title:
Student, Saint Mary’s University Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Bermuda Intern at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)

What she does:
I participate in coral reproduction and recruitment experiments that seek to pinpoint the effect of Ocean Acidification on two predominant coral species in Bermuda, Porites asteroids and Favia fragum. I collect the adult corals by scuba diving the reef system; house the coral in the wet lab during spawning and collect coral larvae as the adults spawn. A 2-4 week experiment is conducted using the coral larvae using various CO2 levels as well and temperature and feeding constraints. The data is collected and later processed after the experiment at both the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences as well as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Favorite aspect of job:
My favorite aspect of the job is definitely SCUBA diving. In order to attain the coral recruits, the adult corals are collected from various reef systems along the Bermuda platform. They are returned to the reefs after they have commenced spawning and their larvae have been collected for experimental purposes. The diving experience I have gained while Interning at BIOS for the past five years is incredible. The amazing reef systems surrounding Bermuda are beaming with biodiversity and getting to view and explore these natural wonders for scientific purposes makes it that much more extraordinary.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
If there is anything that I have learned it is that experience is key! I became interested in science at a young age and realized that the only way to assure that this is the career I want to pursue is to get involved in whatever aspect of science I can. I am currently obtaining a Bachelors of Science with honors in Biology degree and a minor in psychology (Saint Mary’s University, Halifax NS). Even if you know your ambitions it is easier to start with a general undergraduate degree and specialize at the graduate level so that there is more room for change.

Lica Krug

Lica Krug- Research assistant

Lica Krug- Research assistant

Job Title:
research assistant
2013 PhD student in Marine, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Algarve, Portugal.

What She does:
I am an oceanographer with a MSc in remote sensing. With my current research, I use time series of satellite data to study the relation of phytoplankton variability with changes on the environment off southwest Iberian Peninsula. Satellite oceanography is a pretty broad field. I have already worked with estimation of bathymetry in estuaries, prediction of coral bleaching, mapping ecosystem sensitivity to oil spill and ocean/atmosphere CO2 exchange calculations.

Favorite Aspect of job
:
I am a little bit of a geek. I enjoy computer programming and we use it a lot for satellite data processing, but it is not easy, at least for me. I love the feeling when I finish a script that can process 15 years of daily images with a single command. I feel vert smart! 
And, of course, there is the validation data cruises. We have to make sure the satellite is giving us correct data, so we have to go out in the field and collect some samples. Summer cruises are great, but I’m not a big fan of the winter ones…my stomach doesn’t appreciate at all!

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
You have to have some knowledge on ocean processes and spectral behavior of ocean, atmosphere and their constituents. Also, geoprocessing (GIS analysis) and programming basic skills.

Thanks for reading! Thats it for today! Check in soon for 5 new ladies sharing their stories.

Kaitlin Baird: Did You Know? September 25, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Back in port! Newport Rhode Island
Date: September 21st
.

Location Data:
Latitude: 41’53.04
Longitude: 71’31.77

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 13.8 (approx.57°F)
Wind Speed: 10.01 kts
Wind Direction:  North
Surface Water Temperature: 19.51 °C (approx. 67°F)
Weather conditions: overcast

Science and Technology Log:
I thought I would end my trip on the Henry B. Bigelow with some fun facts!
.
Did you know?
The Fisheries Scientific Computer System (FSCS) is able to prompt the data recorders with all actions needing to be performed for a particular species. It is coded with unique barcodes for every sample taken. Back in the laboratory all scientists receiving samples can receive all the information taken about the given organism by scanning this unique barcode!
.
barcoding for species caught on cruise for further analysis

Barcoding for species caught on cruise for further analysis

Did you know?
Science crew operating on the back deck are required to wear an Overboard Recovery Communications Apparatus (ORCA). This system if it is activated sends a signal by way of radio frequency to a receiver on the ship’s bridge. This system responds immediately to the ship receiver and has a direction finder to help locate the man overboard.

Me getting ready to head to the back deck with my positioning system around my neck

Me getting ready to head to the back deck with my ORCA around my neck

Personal Log:
It would take me hours to go through all of the amazing creatures we caught and surveyed on this trip, so I thought I would write some fast facts about some of my favorites! Enjoy!
.
Did you know?
The male spoon arm octopus has a modified arm that passes spermatophores into the oviducts of the female. Pretty neat stuff!
spoonarrm octopus

Spoon arm octopus

Did you know?
Stargazers, like this one, have an electric organ and are one of few marine bony fish species that are able to produce electricity.  This is known as Bioelectrogenesis. They also hide beneath the sand with just their eyes sticking out and ambush their prey!

Stargazer

Stargazer

Did you know?
This fish, the Atlantic midshipman, has bioluminescent bacteria that inhabit these jewel–like photophores that emit light! It also interestingly enough uses this function in fairly shallow waters!

midshipman photophores

Midshipman photophores

Did you know?
Sea spiders like this one have no respiratory organs. Since they are so small gasses diffuse in and out of their bodies, how cool is that!

sea spider

Sea spider

Did you know?
The flaming box crab, Calappa flammea, uses its scissor-like claws that act as a can opener. It has a special modified appendage to open hermit crabs like a can opener!

flaming box crab

Flaming box crab

Did you know?
A female Atlantic angel shark like this one can have up to 13 pups!

angel shark

Angel shark

Did you know?
Seahorses suck up their food through their long snout, and like the flounders I talked about at the beginning of the cruise, their eyes also move independently of each other!!

seahorse

Seahorse

Did you know?
Horseshoe crabs, like this one, have blue blood. Unlike the blood of mammals, they don’t have hemoglobin to carry oxygen, instead they have henocyanin. Because the henocyanin has copper in it, their blood is blue!

horseshoe crab

Horseshoe crab

Last but NOT least, Did you know?
According to the Guiness Book of World Records the American Lobster has been known to reach lengths over 3 ft (0.91 m) and weigh as much as 44 lb (20 kg) or more. This makes it the heaviest marine crustacean in the world! This one was pretty large!!

American Lobster

American Lobster

A big farewell to everyone on the Henry B. Bigelow! Thanks so much, i had a great time and learned a lot! Thanks for reading!

Kaitlin Baird: Women in a H2O World: Girl Power in Science, September 19, 2012

 

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Off the Coast of Long Island
Date: September 19th
.

Location Data:
Latitude: 40’54.90
Longitude: 73’30.18

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 18.4 (approx.65°F)
Wind Speed: 10.64 kts
Wind Direction:  Northwest
Surface Water Temperature: 20.08 °C (approx. 68°F)
Weather conditions: sunny and fair

Science and Technology Log:

Ocean acidification have been the buzz words in the shellfish and coral reef world for the last few decades, but how will changes in our ocean’s pH affect our coastal fisheries resources? The Henry B. Bigelow is host to another project to help monitor this very question. The ship has an automated system that draws in surface seawater through an uncontaminated line and feeds it to a spray head equilibrator (seen in photo). Here, this instrument measures the partial pressure of carbon dioxide through an infrared analyzer. Standards are used to automatically calibrate the instrument periodically so it can take data while the fish are being counted and measured. How great is that!

Partial pressure Carbon Dioxide system schematic

Partial pressure Carbon Dioxide system schematic

It has already been shown and well documented that our oceans are getting more acidic. Something to remember is that our ocean and atmosphere are always in equilibrium in terms of carbon dioxide. Therefore, if we emit more carbon dioxide some of that will be absorbed by the ocean. The rapid changes in development since the industrial revolution have led to more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and therefore, over time, more diffusing into the ocean. The amount of carbon dioxide our ocean is absorbing has changed its chemistry. Increasing partial pressure of carbon dioxide (through several chemical reactions) makes the carbonate ion less available in the ocean (especially the upper layers where much aquatic life abounds).

This does not mean the ion isn’t there, it just means it is less available. Now why is this important to fisheries? Well, many organisms are dependent on this carbonate ion to make their tests, shells, and skeletons. They combine it with the calcium ion to make calcium carbonate (calcite, aragonite and other forms). If they can’t properly calcify this affects a large range of functions. In terms of commercial fisheries, scientists want to know more how acidification will affect commercial species that make their own shells, but also the fish who call them dinner. Ocean acidification has also been shown to affect other food sources for fish and reproductive patterns of the fish themselves. The fish research at NOAA will concentrate on the early life history stages of fish, as this is their most vulnerable phase. The research priority is analyzing responses in important calcifying shellfish and other highly productive calcareous phytoplankton (base of the food chain). To learn more in detail from NOAA please read this. By monitoring the partial pressure of carbon dioxide at fisheries stations over time, scientists can compare this data with the health, location, and fitness of much of the marine life they survey.

Partial pressure Carbon Dioxide system

Partial pressure Carbon Dioxide system

Personal Log:
As my time on the Bigelow is drawing to a close, I wanted to highlight some of the amazing women in science on board the ship who play key roles in the research and upkeep of the ship. I have asked them all a few questions about their job and for some advice for young women who would like to take on these various roles in the future! Since we have so many talented women on the ship, please stay tuned for another addition!

Amanda Tong

Amanda Tong

Amanda Tong — Fisheries Data Auditor, Northeast Fisheries Observer Program

Job Title:
Fisheries Data Auditor with the Fisheries Sampling Branch
Program: Northeast Fisheries Observer Program
NOAA Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What she does:
Amanda is responsible for working with the Fisheries Data Editor to be the collator of information received from the Fisheries Observers and more specifically the Fisheries data editors. She is looking for any errors in data reporting from the Fisheries Observer Program and working with the editors who are in direct contact with them.

If you remember in my last blog, I talked about the otolith and length information going to the Population Dynamics group who make models of fisheries stocks. The data from the Fisheries Biology program is also given to this end user. This way the models take into account actual catches as well as bycatch. Other end users of the data are graduate students, institutions and other researchers.

Amanda’s favorite aspect of her job:
Amanda likes being the middle person between the fishing industry while also working for the government. She likes seeing how the data change over the years with changes in regulation and gear types. She finds it interesting to see how the fisheries change over time and the locations of the fish change over time. She also loves hearing the amazing stories of being at sea.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:  Amanda received a degree in marine biology, which she thinks set her up perfectly. She suggests however that the major doesn’t have to be so specific as long as it has components of biology. The most important aspect she feels was volunteering and learning how to do field work with natural resource management, even if on land. Learning how to properly sample in the field was really important. Amanda is a former Fisheries Observer so she also knows the ins and outs of the program that collects the data she is auditing. This helps her look for easily recognizable errors in the data sets from all different gear types. By gear types I mean trawls vs. gill nets vs. long lines etc.

Robin Frede

Robin- Fisheries Data Editor

Robin — Fisheries Data Editor

Job Title:
Fisheries Data Editor
Branch: Fisheries Sampling Branch
Program: Northeast Fisheries Observer Program
NOAA Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What she does:
Robin deals directly with the Fisheries Observers. Fisheries observers are assigned to different boats and gear types up and down the eastern seaboard to record catches and bycatch as well as run sampling protocols. After each trip Robin checks in with the observer for a debrief and they send on their data to her. It is her responsibility to take a good look at the data for any recognizable errors in measurement or sampling error. Since she was a fisheries observer herself, she can coach the observers and help mentor them in sampling protocol and general life at sea. Once she reviews the data set it gets collated and sent off for review by the Fisheries Data Auditor.

Favorite part of her job:
Robin’s favorite part of her job is being a mentor. Having done the program herself previous to her current job she has a full understanding of the logistical difficulties that observers face at sea. She also is well versed in all of the aspects of sampling with different gear types. Since she is no longer at sea on a regular basis one of her favorite aspects is getting to go to sea on a shadow trip to help out new observers. She also participates in one research trip (currently on the Bigelow now), and one special training trip each year.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Robin suggests a Biology basis for this type of job and lots of experience volunteering with field work. Understanding the methodology and practicing are very important to accurate data collection. Accuracy and practice make her job as an editor a lot easier. If you think you might be interested in this type of career Robin suggests the Fisheries Observer Internship. You can find out if you like spending a lot of time at sea, and this line of work, plus get exposure to many sampling protocols.

Amanda Andrews

Amanda Andrews-Survey Technician

Amanda Andrews — Survey Technician

Job Title:
Survey Technician
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What she does:
Amanda wears many hats and goes wherever the Henry B. Bigelow goes. She is in charge of supervising data collection and analysis. She is the liaison between the ship’s crew and the scientific crew.  She is in charge of the scientific equipment function and maintenance. Amanda is the go-to person on each survey during sampling. She also is responsible for helping crew on the back deck.

 Favorite Part of her Job:
Amanda’s favorite part of her job is that the ocean is her office. She lives aboard the Bigelow and where it goes, she goes.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Amanda started out working on the back deck of NOAA ships and progressed to become a survey technician. She suggests having a good background in marine biology and biology in school, but more importantly always be willing to learn.

Nicole  Charriere

Nicole Charriere- Sea-going Biological Technician

Nicole Charriere — Sea-going Biological Technician

Job Title:
Aboard the ship currently: Day Watch Chief
Official title: Sea-Going Biological Technician
Branch: Ecosystem Survey Branch
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What she does:
Nicole’s job entails being at sea between 120 and 130 days a year! She specifically goes out on Ecosystem Survey cruises that she can do some choosing with.  She goes out on bottom trawling, scallop, and clam survey trips. Her job is to help the scientific party either as a watch chief or chief scientist. She has to handle all sampling as well as fully understand all of the survey techniques. She is well versed in the Fisheries Scientific Computer System (FSCS) and needs to know her fish and critter ID. She is the one responsible for sending down all the species already pre-tagged with their ID.  On top of all that she is also responsible for monitoring the censors on the net and regularly replacing them.

Favorite part of her job:
Nicole’s favorite part of her job is not being in an office and being at sea. Her work environment is always changing, as the scientific crew is always changing and so are the species she works with. She enjoys working and meeting new people each cruise.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Nicole says to get to where she is you have to work hard. You might not be the one with the most experience, but if you work hard, it doesn’t go unnoticed. She also suggests networking as much as possible. Get to know what people do and learn from them. She says studying biology was helpful, but not an absolute necessity. Above all, make sure you love what you do and make sure you are excited to go to work.
.

Caitlin Craig

Caitlin Craig- Department of Conservation (NY)

Caitlin Craig — Department of Environmental Conservation (NY)

Job Title
Diadromous Fish Department Intern
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
State of New York

What she does:
Caitlin participates in field surveys twice a week that target striped bass. The data are used to look at their migration patterns in Long Island waters.  While at DEC she was also looking at the juvenile fish species in the bays and estuaries of Long Island sounds. Her job entails collecting data in the field, entering it and collating data for the various projects.

Her favorite aspect of the job:
She really enjoys that her job is a mix of office and field work where she can put some of the research and management skills she learned at Stonybrook University into practice. She also really enjoys seeing the many species that call Long Island Sound home.

What type of schooling/experience do you think best set you up for this job:
Caitlin suggests trying to make as many connections as possible, and not to be afraid to ask questions. Programs are always looking for volunteers and interns. If you are interested in working at the governmental level she suggests a postgraduate work in Marine Conservation and Policy (she attended Stonybrook University).

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my final blog with lots of critters from the cruise!

Kaitlin Baird: The Importance of Sound, September 16, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Off the Coast of Maryland
Date: September 16th
.

Location Data:
Latitude: 37’72.10
Longitude: 75′ 17.02

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 21.0 (approx.70°F)
Wind Speed: 8.71 kts
Wind Direction:  West
Surface Water Temperature: 22.99 °C (approx. 73°F)
Weather conditions: overcast

Science and Technology Log:

It’s day 13 aboard the Henry B. Bigelow and we have made the turn at our southern stations off the coast of North Carolina and are working our way back to port at some of our inshore stations off the coast of Maryland. You may wonder how each of the stations we sample at sea are chosen? The large area of Cape May to Cape Hatteras are broken into geographic zones that the computer will assign a set amount of stations to, marking them with geographic coordinates. The computer picks a set number of stations within each designated area so all the stations don’t end up all being within a mile of each other. Allowing the computer system to pick the points removes human bias and truly keeps the sampling random. The vessel enters the geographic coordinates of the stations into a chartplotting program in the computer, and uses GPS, the Global Positioning System to navigate to them.  The GPS points are also logged on a nautical chart by the Captain and mate so that they have a paper as well as an electronic copy of everywhere the ship has been.

You may wonder, how does the captain and fishermen know what the bottom looks like when they get to a new point? How do they know its OK to deploy the net? Great question. The Henry B. Bigelow is outfitted with a multibeam sonar system that maps the ocean floor.  Some of you reading this blog might remember talking about bathymetry this summer. This is exactly what the Bigelow is doing, looking at the ocean floor bathymetry. By sending out multiple pings the ship can accurately map an area 2.5-3 times as large as its depth. So if the ship is in 20 meters of water it can make an accurate map of a 60 meter swath beneath the boats track. The sonar works by knowing the speed of sound in water and the angle and time that the beam is received back to the pinger . There are a number of things that have to be corrected for as the boat is always in motion. As the ship moves through the water however, you can see the projection of the bathymetry on their screen below up in the wheelhouse. These images help the captain and the fisherman avoid any hazards that would cause the net or the ship any harm.  A good comparison to the boats multibeam sonar, is a dolphins ability to use echolocation. Dolphins send their own “pings” or in this case “echos” and can tell the location and the size of the prey based on the angle and time delay of receiving them back. One of the main differences in this case is a dolphin has two ears that will receive and the boat just has one “receiver”. Instead of finding prey and sizing them like dolphins, the ship is using a similar strategy to survey what the bottom of the sea floor looks like!

bathymetric data being collected by multibeam sonar technology on the Bigelow

Bathymetric data being collected by multibeam sonar technology on the Bigelow

Bigelow multibeam sonar (NOAA)

echolocation schematic courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

Echolocation schematic courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

Personal Log:

The last few days I have been trying my hand at removing otoliths from different species of fish. The otoliths are the ear bones of the fish. Just like the corals we have been studying in Bermuda, they are made up of calcium carbonate crystals. They are located in the head of the bony fish that we are analyzing on the cruise. A fish uses these otoliths for their balance, detection of sound and their ability to orient in the water column.

If you remember, at BIOS, we talk a lot about the precipitation of calcium carbonate in corals and how this animal deposits bands of skeleton as they grow. This is similar in bony fish ear bones, as they grow, they lay down crystalized layers of calcium carbonate. Fisheries biologist use these patterns on the otolith to tell them about the age of the fish. This is similar to the way coral biologists age corals.

I have been lucky enough to meet and learn from scientists who work specifically with age and growth at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Fishery Biology Program. They have been teaching about aging fish by their ear bones. These scientist use a microscope with reflected light to determine the age of the fish by looking at the whole bone or making slices of parts of the bone depending on what species it is. This data, along with lengths we have been recording, contribute to an age-length key. The key allows biologists to track year classes of the different species within a specific population of fish. These guys process over 90,000 otoliths a year! whew!

The information collected by this program is an important part of the equation because by knowing the year class biologists can understand the structure of the population for the stock assessment.  The Fishery Biology program is able to send their aging and length data over to the Population Dynamics Branch where the data are used in modeling. The models, fed by the data from the otoliths and length data,  help managers forecast what fisheries stocks will do. It is a manager’s job to the take these predictions and try to balance healthy fish stocks and the demands of both commercial and recreational fishing. These are predictive models, as no model can foresee some of the things that any given fish population might face any given year (ie food scarcity, disease etc.), but they are an effective tool in using the science to help aid managers in making informed decision on the status of different fish stocks. To learn more about aging fish please visit here.

otoliths (fish ear bones) that i removed from a Butterfish

Otoliths (fish ear bones) that I removed from a Butterfish

You can see here is an otolith that is 1+ years old. It was caught in September and that big 1st band is its Year 0. You can see that the black dot demarks the fish turning 1. You can then see the Summer growth but not yet the winter growth. This fish has not yet turned 2, but it will Jan 1st of the next year.

You can see here an otolith that is 1+ years old. It was caught in September and that big 1st band is its Year 0. You can see that the black dot demarks the fish turning 1. You can then see the Summer growth but not yet the winter growth. This fish has not yet turned 2, but it will be Jan 1st of the next year.

I have to end with a critter photo! This is a Cobia (Rachycentron canadum).

Me and a Cobia caught off the coast of Maryland

Cobia caught off the coast of Maryland

Thanks for reading!

Kaitlin Baird: Some Essential Tools! September 14, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s North East Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Off the Coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Date: September 14th
.

Location Data:
Latitude: 35′ 10.67
Longitude:  75’33.60     

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 23.40 (approx.74 °F)
Wind Speed: 2.17 kts
Wind Direction:  Southwest
Surface Water Temperature:2 7.61 °C (approx. 82°F)
Weather conditions: Sunny and fair

Science and Technology Log

One of the things I was curious about was the deployment of these large instruments and the technology that supports it. One of the keys to the deployment of things like the BONGO nets, Continuous Depth Recorders (CTD’s) and the trawl net itself are winches. A winch spools the wire cable that is hooked to all of the instruments and allows them to move up, down and out into the water column. With some of the instruments, like the BONGO’S and CTD casts, a retractable A-Frame is used to lower the cable from the winch. You can see the A-Frame on the right and the winch on the left in the photo below. This winch in particular controls the deployment of the net and connects to two winches on the stern that roll out the net to open up the mouth. The wire is constantly monitored from the bridge on the screen below and is automatically adjusted to maintain equal tension on both sides.

Winch for fishing nets, Tension monitor on winches from the bridge and A-frame

Winch for fishing nets, Tension screen for winches from the bridge and retractable A-frame

Once the net is run out with the aid of the winches, it is constantly monitored for its shape during the tow with a number of different censors attached to the net. There is an autotrawl system that sets the depth of the trawl and the tension of the wires. A Global Positioning System (GPS) plots the position of the net for each trawl so that it can be associated with all organisms caught in the tow. At the end of the tow the winches reel back the cable and a crane brings the net with the catch over to the “checker” where the net is unloaded!

Monitoring the position and shape of the trawl in the water

Monitoring the position and shape of the trawl in the water

Personal Log:

The fun part begins when the net opens and all the animals enter the checker. When all of the catch goes into the checker the scientists take a look at the catch, and remove anything too large to go up the conveyor belt. If a fish dominates the catch it will “run”. This means, as it goes down the conveyor belt it won’t be taken off and it will be weighed by the basketful and then a subsample will be taken for further analysis.

The fish are all divided up by species and electronically coded in the FSCS system to be measured. After they are measured, the system will prompt for further analysis for that particular species. If extra sampling of the fish is required,  it is labeled with a printed sticker for the species with a unique barcode that can be scanned to retrieve its record in the database.

tag for the organisms to designate its ID and what is to be done with it

Tag for the organisms to designate its ID and what is to be done with it

I thought I’d share some photos with you of some of the unique things we have seen so far fishing today. We are off the coast of Carolina and finishing up our Southern stations today into early morning!

Fish caught off of North Carolina

Fish caught off of North Carolina

Catch of the day! Thanks for reading!

Shark caught off of Carolina coast

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark caught off of Carolina coast

Kaitlin Baird: Let the Fishing Begin! September 8, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s North East Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Atlantic Ocean steaming to south New Jersey coast
Date: September 8th
.

Location Data:
Latitude: 38° 44.58’   N
Longitude: 73 ° 39.30’  W       

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 23.2°C (approx. 74°F)
Wind Speed: 5.05 kts
Wind Direction: from N
Surface Water Temperature: 25.29 °C (approx. 78°F)
Weather conditions: Sunny and fair

Science and Technology Log
Other than testing out the FSCS today and learning the ropes, I also learned about another type of tow we are doing on this cruise. When looking at fish stock assessment it is also important to look at the base of the food chain, you guessed it, plankton. Today we were specifically targeting zooplankton, microscopic animal drifters in the ocean that are an important food source for many of the fish and other invertebrates that we are surveying.

When I saw the nets go in, they looked a bit different than those on the R/V HSBC Atlantic Explorer, and I learned a new term, BONGO net. This is the tandem net which we are using  to tow for zooplankton at set locations while we are en route. Unlike the trawl net we tow these on the side of the ship verses the back so there is no interference by the wake made by the ship as it moves through the water. If you imagine a giant windsock with a plastic catchment at the end, this is what these nets look like. The pressure of the water moving through the net forces anything heavy to the “cod end” of the net and sieves the water out of the mesh that makes up the net.

The depth of the net tow is dependent upon bottom depth and protocol at each site, but they normally try to tow pretty close to the bottom (=/- 10 m). A separate, Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) recorder is also deployed with the nets to understand more about the ocean chemistry at set locations.  There is such a variability when towing for plankton (as it can be quite patchy) that having the two nets gives you more opportunity to capture the diversity of life that is out there. The nets are also two different mesh sizes so that they can catch zooplankton in different size classes.

Bongo Nets

Bongo Nets being deployed to 60 feet

Personal Log
It was great to get fishing today off of the coast of Maryland. We were all ready to sort anything that came down the conveyer belt. The species get sorted and then brought to the FSCS stations. Here they are measured along with anything else that needs to be done to them. I helped to get otoliths prepared and input data on gut contents, condition and sex.
Kaitlin in the wetlab with left eye and right eye flounder

Kaitlin in the wetlab with left eye and right eye flounder

One of the things I noticed were a lot of flounders, both left eye and right eye. That’s right folks, flounder usually start with one eye on each side of their heads and then eventually (species dependent) it migrates as they mature so that they sit on the bottom with both eyes on top of their heads. Depending on which way they migrate they are designated as “left eye” or “right eye” as you can see in the photos below. Did you know? These eyes can move independently of each other, pretty cool stuff!
Right Eye Flounder (Top) Left Eye Flounder (bottom)

Right Eye Flounder (Top) Witch Flounder
Left Eye Flounder (bottom) Four spot Flounder

Stay tuned for more critters! Here is just a shortlist of some that we saw today!

Rosette Skate
Little Skate
Tilefish
Goosefish
Chain dogfish
Fawn cusk-eel
Gulf stream flounder
Four spot flounder
Silver hake
Armored sea robin
LOTS of Squid

Bye for now!

Kaitlin Baird: All Ashore Who Are Going Ashore, September 6, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s North East Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Atlantic Ocean steaming to south New Jersey coast
Date: September 6, 2012

Location Data:
Latitude: 41 ° 18.70’   N
Longitude: 71 ° 42.11’  W       

Weather Data:
Air Temperature: 20.5°C (approx. 69°F)
Wind Speed: 4.97 kts
Wind Direction: from N
Surface Water Temperature: 22.2 °C (approx. 72°F)
Weather conditions: Sunny and fair

Science and Technology Log

The purpose of our mission aboard the Henry B. Bigelow is the 1st leg of groundfish surveys from Cape May all the way down to Cape Hatteras with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The scientists aboard the ship are interested in both the size and  frequency of fish at different targeted geographic locations. We will be sampling using a trawl net at about 130 different stations along the way, some inshore and some offshore. We will be using a piece of technology called the Fisheries Scientific Computer System (FSCS). This system will allow us to accurately take baskets of different species of fish and code them for their lengths into a large database. This will give us a snapshot of fisheries stocks in the Northeast Atlantic by taking a subsample. The computer system also allows us to see if any other things need to be done with the fish once they are measured. Tasks like otolith (I’ll tell you about these later!) and gonad removal, fin clips or whole organisms sampling may also be done. The computer system will allow us to label each of these requests and assign it a code for scientists requesting samples from this cruise. Additionally, there are scales along with the system for recording necessary weights. We will be sorting fish first by species, and then running them all through the coded FSCS which you can see in the photo below.

Measuring board for fish

Board for magnetically measuring fish

We are currently on full steam to get our first tow in early tomorrow morning. You can track our ship using NOAA’s ship tracker system. Here we are positioned currently passing Block Island.

Ship Tracker with Current Location

NOAA Ship Tracker

Can’t wait to tell you more about the FSCS system when we start using it tomorrow!!

Personal Log

We have just pushed off the dock at 0900 and are headed South to start our first  trawl tomorrow morning. Everyone is getting used to the ship and some swells with a few storms in the Atlantic. I am really excited to get to see what comes up in our first tow. I have been assigned to the day watch which means that my shift runs from Noon-Midnight. The two other ladies that share our room will be on the night watch, so there will be a changing of the guard and some fresh legs and recorders.

Darcy and Caitlin

Darcy and Caitlin two other volunteers learning the ropes

All ready to go

Helly Hansen gear to keep us all dry.

I am looking forward to bringing you some cool fish photos soon! Hello to everyone back  in Bermuda! Stay safe..

Bye for now!!

Kaitlin Baird: From the Sargasso Sea to the Northeast Atlantic, August 19th, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kaitlin Baird
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
September 4 – 20, 2012

Mission: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey with NOAA’s North East Fisheries  Science Center
Geographical Area: Atlantic Ocean from Cape May to Cape Hatteras
Date: August 19, 2012

Pre-cruise Personal Log

In a little over two weeks I am set to board NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow at the Newport Rhode Island dock on a NOAA Fisheries survey cruise as a part of NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program.  My name is Kaitlin Baird, and I am a science educator at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. At this U.S. based not-for-profit, I get to teach students from 2nd grade all the way up to my Road Scholar program. Many of my students come to visit the Institute from all over the world to learn more about the ocean around Bermuda. I have just finished up with 24 interns for the summer as a part of BIOS’ Ocean Academy and I am set for the next adventure!

I am originally from New Jersey where I grew up finding critters along the beaches of the Jersey shore. My mom always used to laugh when I tried to keep critters alive in the outdoor shower. I was one of those kids that was always in the water. Probably no big surprise that I went on to study and teach marine biology!  I am looking forward to my critter cruise and even more so looking forward to learning new species of the Northern Atlantic.

Sargasso Sea Map

The Sargasso Sea is the only sea without a land boundary and entirely in the Atlantic!
Have a look at this NOAA map above.

Being in the Sargasso Sea in Bermuda, we are subtropical. We get a whole suite of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove species. You can see some photos of some critters I’ve spotted this summer!

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I have a few goals for the cruise:

  1. Learn as much as possible from the scientists on the cruise
  2. Participate in taking and understanding data collected on the cruise
  3. Posting and taking photos of some of our critters surveyed on the cruise
  4. Explaining to my students what we are doing and why it’s important!

If there is anything you would like to learn more about as I travel, let me know in the “comments” section below!

Wish me luck, I’m headed North!