Dr. Alison Deary, Carla Culpepper, and Kelia Axler give a scientist’s-eye view of life aboard a research vessel. All photos taken by Culpepper unless otherwise indicated.

July 31, 2019–Meet the scientists!

When swapping at-sea stories with colleagues, we can all agree that who you share the boat with will easily make or break a research cruise. As a consortium project, there are 18 scientists representing four institutions on board the R/V Point Sur, all with different skill sets, levels of experience, and paths that brought them to the CONCORDE team. While it may seem a bit crowded for one boat, we all brag about how well everyone gets along. Not only has everyone shown great interest in each other’s projects, there has also been a lot of scientific discussion, shared information, and talk of future collaborations, especially among the early career scientists aboard the ship. When remembering that the term “Concordia” is Latin for harmony, this project could not have been more appropriately named. We feel very proud to be part of such a great consortium and are so excited to see the future careers of everyone coming from the CONCORDE team!

Scientists 1 Briseno-Avena

 

Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena – Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University – Christian, a post doc from OSU, is the Chief Scientist for the Summer CONCORDE cruise and has been excellent at coordinating research activities. He also operates the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS) to examine zooplankton distributions within the water column with fellow post-doc Dr. Adam Greer. Christian has been on many research cruises including one across the Equator where his Polywog name was “Stupid Penguin.”

 

 

 

Scientists 11 Martin

 

Kevin Martin – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi –the Field Operations Coordinator for the CONCORDE project, sometimes referred to as the equipment extraordinaire and logistics guru, Kevin served as co-Chief Scientist on this cruise. Kevin operates the CTD, POGO, and is always on standby when needed for the mininess and ISIIS. We really aren’t sure where we would be without Kevin on board! Kevin has spent many days at sea or traveling to remote locations for research. He has even taken a submersible 900 m down in the Gulf of Mexico and been bitten by a penguin in Antarctica.

 

 

 

Scientists 2 Weidemann

Dr. Alan Weidemann – Naval Research Lab – Alan is the principal investigator on board. We have thoroughly enjoyed his mentoring and guidance while on the R/V Point Sur. He has shown extreme interest in each person’s research and has been a great pleasure to work with sharing his life and career experiences throughout the whole cruise. If you ever get a chance to sit down and chat with him, ask him about the Royal Society of the Killer Daphnia!

 

 

Scientists 3 Deary

 

Dr. Alison Deary – Division of Coastal Sciences at University of Southern Mississippi – Ali is a post-doc under Dr. Frank Hernandez at the Gulf Coast Research Lab at USM. She served as Chief Scientist during the Spring CONCORDE cruise. Currently, she is mentoring master’s student, Angie Hoover, to look at larval fish condition throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ali is not new to research cruises. In fact, she has done research in both hemispheres and is known for wearing her lucky corgi socks aboard the ship while managing plankton sampling operations.

 

 

 

 

Scientists 4 Greer

 

Dr. Adam Greer – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Adam is a post-doc under Dr. Monty Graham at USM and contributes to the CONCORDE mission by managing operations of the ISIIS. He served as Chief Scientist on the Spring cruise and uses in situ imaging to study zooplankton distributions in the northern Gulf of Mexico with Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena. Adam has been working with the ISIIS since he was a graduate student. He has never been on a research cruise without it.

 

 

 

 

Scientists 5 Box

 

Dr. Hannah Box – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Hannah is a post-doc for Dr. Alan Shiller studying submarine groundwater discharge using radium. Her academic background has been very focused in chemistry in the lab. She likes environmental topics and wanted to add that component to her chemical research. So, she found a perfect fit with CONCORDE, where she points out that, “Most labs do not have windows,” and has thoroughly enjoyed being out in the field again. She has had some amazing opportunities in the past surveying, tagging, and identifying Great White sharks in South Africa; so, returning to marine realm has been gratifying!

 

 

 

Scientists 6 Boyette

 

Adam Boyette – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Adam is a PhD student under Dr. Monty Graham studying lower trophic levels particularly focusing on the interactions between the primary producers and grazers. His interest in oceanography was derived from harmful algal blooms but he has enjoyed the opportunity to branch out during his studies at USM. Even though he works with lower trophic level research, he is often a proponent of higher trophic level sampling. In fact, he caught our lunch today and prepared a tasty cioppino, or fisherman’s stew.

 

 

 

 

Scientists 7 Ho

 

Peng Ho – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Peng is a PhD student under Dr. Alan Shiller studying trace metals. For her dissertation, she’s analyzing trace metals that were collected through an NGI project to also look at submarine ground water discharge but this particular data set did not include radium sampling. Although, her dissertation will not include CONCORDE, she is here to perfect her radium sampling technique with the help of Dr. Hannah Box. Peng has come to the University of Southern Mississippi all the way from Taiwan and has been able to do a bit of traveling across the country since being here. She really enjoyed visiting the Grand Canyon and San Francisco!

 

 

 

Scientists 8 Quas

 

Lauren Quas – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Lauren is a Master’s student under Dr. Ian Church in the Hydrographic Science Program at University of Southern Mississippi. She uses the multibeam to map the sea floor for CONCORDE with an emphasis on acoustic backscatter to quantify grain size of the seafloor sediment. Lauren got her B.S. in geology and spent much of her time wading in creeks in Memphis, TN which left her reminiscent of her time along the shore and brought her equipped with a geological background to the department of USM’s Hydrographic Science Program.

 

 

 

Scientists 9 Williamson

 

Maxwell Williamson – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Maxwell is a master’s student under Dr. Ian Church in the Hydrographic Science Program at USM. His main interest is in mapping the seafloor, which he learned to appreciate during his three years living on a sail boat. His goal is to use the multibeam data to develop better nautical charts.

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 10 Axler

 

Kelia Axler – Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University – Kelia started working on the CONCORDE plankton team from the Gulf Coast Research Lab, transitioning over time from technician to graduate student. She will be starting her Master’s at Oregon State University this fall and will be studying some aspect of larval fish ecology in relation to river plumes and/or hypoxic regions in the northern Gulf. After our Bonnet Carré Spillway cruise, Kelia sailed from Mississippi to Florida in a 25 ft sailboat to take a scientific scuba diving course in the Florida Keys.

 

 

 

 

Scientists 12 Mojzis

 

Allie Mojzis – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Allie is a technician in Dr. Monty Graham’s lab at USM as well as the Facilities Manager of the Division of Marine Science. Marine science has been her passion since she was twelve years old and she treasures every opportunity to conduct at sea research. Her first research cruise in 2010, in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, was on the R/V Cape Hatteras, the sister ship of the R/V Point Sur.

 

 

 

 

Scientists 13 Muffelman

Sarah Muffelman – Division of Coastal Sciences at University of Southern Mississippi. Sarah is a technician in Dr. Frank Hernandez’s lab at Gulf Coast Research Lab at USM. She enjoys sorting and identifying icthyoplankton and zooplankton. She has worked with Dr. Hernandez for ten years. When Sarah was a kid she made a pen pal because she found a message in a bottle which added to her interest in coastal science!

 

 

 

Scientists 14 Culpepper

 

Carla Culpepper – Division of Coastal Sciences at University of Southern Mississippi – Carla is a technician in Dr. Frank Hernandez’s lab at Gulf Coast Research Lab at USM. Back in the lab, she spends her time counting and identifying invertebrate zooplankton and has been fishing the mininess for the last seven years. You can always count on Carla to provide a music playlist to get the boat rocking!

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 15 Acton

 

Sydney Acton – Dauphin Island Sea Lab at University of South Alabama — Sydney is a technician in Dr. Jeffrey Krause’s Lab at Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Her research entails phytoplankton productivity rates where she spends a good portion of her time on the vessel in the rad van using radio isotopes to assess productivity. Sydney actually has a background in Biomedical Science and finds her time aboard the ship to be a whole new world.

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 16 Dobbins

 

William Dobbins – Dauphin Island Sea Lab at University of South Alabama – William started as an intern in Dr. Jeffrey Krause’s Lab at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in March. The summer CONCORDE cruise is his first research cruise! He is here to help filter water as his lab looks at phytoplankton abundance, biomass, and productivity. He has really enjoyed his first cruise aboard the R/V Point Sur and looks forward to many more research cruises!

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 17 Whitmore

 

Laura Whitmore – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi- Laura is a PhD student under Dr. Alan Shiller researching methane flux which when coupled with radium sampling can support the presence of submarine groundwater discharge. This is her first cruise in the Gulf of Mexico since she conducts most of her research in the arctic. Laura is also excited to be participating in a cruise to the equator soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 18 Pliru

 

Antonio Pliru – Division of Marine Science at University of Southern Mississippi – Antonio is a PhD student under Dr. Monty Graham at USM studying the benthic life stages of Aurelia, a type of jellyfish. Antonio was quick to step in when the plankton team needed an extra hand. The time aboard the R/V Point Sur has added to his more than 350 days at sea which has included a swim call in the middle of the Atlantic over an Atlantic Ridge in 4500 m of water.

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists 19

This is our last blog post from the R/V Point Sur! We would like to thank all of the scientists and crew for their hard work as well as Tara Skelton, our land based contact, for her amazing work publishing our daily blogs.

Signing out,
Ali, Carla, and Kelia

 

July 29, 2018–Hypoxia blog
During the process studies for the Fall and Spring cruises, we were interested in sampling stratification and freshwater plumes, respectively. We decided to change gears for our Summer campaign and for our current process study, we are looking to sample low oxygen areas, more commonly known as hypoxia. The northern Gulf of Mexico is infamous as the second largest hypoxic region worldwide with the areal extent of hypoxia sometimes being about the size of Massachusetts! For us at CONCORDE, we are interested in examining hypoxia during our process study because it can change the distribution of plankton in the water column. Some depths, especially near the bottom, do not contain enough dissolved oxygen to support many creatures. In addition, the extent of the hypoxic conditions can be influenced by the amount of freshwater added to our system, nutrients, and stratification. Aboard the R/V Point Sur, each of our research teams has ways to measure the oxygen in the water ranging from sensors mounted on our sampling gear to Winkler titrations in the wet lab. With today’s blog, we want to highlight the different methods we us to look at hypoxia during our CONCORDE cruises.

hypoxia1
The CTD Rosette, MININESS, and ISIIS are all equipped with dissolved oxygen sensors similar to this one, which is attached to the top of our MININESS net system. Sensor provided by Center for Fisheries Research and Development, USM.
hypoxia_2
Allie Mojzis measures dissolved oxygen in water samples collected from the rosette using a method called a Winkler titration. Pictured here are two flasks that she has already analyzed from two different depths. D4 (left) was taken from the surface and has an oxygen concentration about 6 mg/L, whereas D11 (right) was collected near the bottom and is hypoxic with a concentration around 2 mg/L. Note that D4 has a darker color than D11 and this color difference helps us interpret these results.
hypoxia_3
For the process study, we are targeting small depth intervals through the water column. To do this, we slowly lower it deeper into the water until we get near the bottom and then we slowly bring it back through the water column until we retrieve it. Therefore, our tow profiles have steps where we maintain a depth but you can see as our MININESS dives deeper in the water column that we are fishing our nets above and below hypoxia over time. In our plot from 0200 on July 28th, 2016, the horizontal axis is time in second, denoted by “Scan,” the vertical access is depth below the surface in meters, and oxygen (mg/L) is represented by the color bar.
hypoxia_4
The rosette is also equipped with a dissolved oxygen sensor in addition to a lot of other sensors that characterize the water column for us. This rosette plot, taken on July 28th, 2016 near the location of the net samples, shows that the dissolved oxygen (purple line) below 12.5 meters deep is less than 2 mg/L, meaning it is hypoxic. Other parameters graphed here are fluorescence (green), salinity (red), and temperature (blue).
hypoxia_5
Unlike the MININESS, which we step through the water column during a single tow, ISIIS undulates up and down through the water column during its transect, giving us a good idea of the DO levels from surface to near-bottom in this colorful plot. The bottom axis is latitude (north to the right) and the vertical axis is depth below the surface in meters. The colors depict the measured oxygen with warmer colors representing higher oxygen concentrations and cooler colors representing lower oxygen concentrations. From this plot, we can see that the water from about 14 m to near the bottom are hypoxic until the area north of 29.84°N, where the oxygen levels increase. Plot provided by ISIIS, AT Greer.
hypoxia_6
To help guide our sampling, Christian has been posting the dissolved oxygen plots from our different sampling event to one of the doors in the lab so we can use it as a reference as we sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 28, 2016–Crazy Critters!

When the average person discovers that we are marine biologists, they typically assume that we study dolphins, whales, or large pelagic fish such as sharks. But for us CONCORDE biologists, the tiny critters that drift and float passively through the seawater are our charismatic creatures. While seemingly insignificant to most, these microscopic organisms, collectively termed “plankton,” are the base of the food chain and a critical source of nutrients for many larger aquatic lifeforms, such as the aforementioned fishes and whales. Plankton is made up of bacteria, algae, crustaceans, fish larvae, fish and invertebrate eggs, worms and so much more that pique our curiosity as researchers on board the R/V Point Sur. The CONCORDE biological division consists of graduate student Adam Boyette, who uses a FlowCAM to image phytoplankton; Dr. Adam Greer and Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena, who use the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS) to image zooplankton; and Dr. Ali Deary, Carla Culpepper, Sarah Muffelman, Kelia Axler, and Antonio Pliru, who use plankton nets to sample for larval fish and zooplankton and a microscope camera to photograph interesting critters. See below for a selection of images taken by the biological team’s FlowCAM, ISIIS, and microscope camera during the CONCORDE cruises.

Critters 1 plankton
A magnified view of Gulf of Mexico seawater that has been sieved and concentrated by the CONCORDE plankton team. In this one microscope photo, there are 11 fish larvae, 1 crab larva, 1 shrimp larva, 1 lobster larva, 2 chaetognaths (predatory marine worm), and 3+ copepods (small crustacean).
Critters 2a Lobster larvae
Lobster larva (Philosoma) caught in a plankton net and photographed under a microscope.
Critters 2b Lobster larva
Lobster larva (Philosoma) imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 3a Atlantic spadefish
Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber) from the plankton nets.
Critters 3b Unidentified fish
Unidentified fish imaged by ISIIS.
Critters 4a Doliolid
Doliolid captured in the plankton nets.
Critters 4b Doliolid-
Doliolid imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 5 Jellyfish with larval fish hiding in the bell-
ISIIS captured a photo of a jellyfish with larval fish hiding in the jelly’s bell.
critters 6 solmaris
These gelatinous zooplankton (Solmaris sp.) were imaged aggregating together by the ISIIS.
Critters 7 Pelagia noctiluca schyphomedusa (very venomous)
This scyphomedusa (Pelagia noctiluca) is a very venomous Gulf jellyfish that was imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 8 jelly Liriope sp. hydromedusa
This is another type of hydromedusa (Liriope sp.) found in the Gulf (ISIIS image).
salp chain
Salp chain imaged by the ISIIS. Salps are efficient filter feeders that prey on phytoplankton blooms.
Critters 10 Chaetoceros diatom
Chaetoceros diatom imaged by the FlowCAM.
Critters 11 Tintinnid with lorica
Tintinnid, a type of protozoan, emerging from its vase-shaped shell as imaged by the FlowCAM.

 

Critters 12 diatom
Diatoms imaged by the FlowCAM. Diatoms are a type of algae and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Critters 13 Paralia diatom
Paralia diatoms imaged by the FlowCAM. Diatoms are a type of algae and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Critters 14 Codlet (Bregnacerous)
Codlet (Bregnacerous sp.) from plankton nets.
Critters 15 Possible snapper fish-
Unidentified fish imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 16a copepod
Tiny crustacean called a copepod imaged and captured in the plankton nets. Most copepods have a single compound eye in the middle of their head that is usually bright red.
Critters 16c copepods eating fish
A group of copepods parasitizing a fish from the plankton nets.
Critters 17 crab larva
Crab larva captured in the plankton nets.
Critters 18 Crab juvenile
Juvenile crab caught in the plankton nets.
Critters 20 Leptocephalus
Eel larva (Leptocephalus) from the plankton nets.
Critters 19 seahorse
A seahorse (Hippocampus sp.) captured by the plankton nets.
Critters 21 Cynoglossidae Tongue fish
Tongue fish (Cynoglossidae sp.) from the plankton nets.
Critters 22 Liopropoma sp
Larval grouper (Liopropoma sp.) from the plankton nets.
Critters 23a Scombrid
Juvenile mackerel (Scombridae) from the plankton nets.
Critters 23b Scombridae
Larva in the mackerel family (Scombridae) from the plankton nets.

Critters 25 Yet to be identified

Critters 24 Rypticus sp.
Larval groupers (Serranidae) from the plankton nets.
Critters 26 Anchoa (engraulidae) with parasitic copepod
Larval anchovy (Engraulidae sp.) with parasitic copepod (Caligus sp.) attached from plankton nets.
critters 27 shrimp
Shrimp-like creature imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 28 Stomatopod
Mantis shrimp (Stomatopod) imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 29b Hydroid
Hydroid captured in the plankton nets.
Critters 29a Hydroid
Hydroid imaged by the ISIIS.
Critters 30 polychaete
Marine predatory worm (Polychaete) captured by the plankton nets.
Salp 1
Salp (Thalia sp.) imaged by a microscope camera.
Salp
Salp imaged by ISIIS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 27, 2016–Point Sur Cuisine

One thing people might not realize about research vessels is how well fed we are while on board. Research on a boat can be very labor intensive and sitting down to a good meal can easily be the highlight after a long day of sampling. Here aboard the R/V Point Sur, Chef Alex Forsythe prides himself on preparing the traditional favorites while always creating a well-balanced healthy meal. He goes above and beyond to provide beverage and entrée options, but requests are always encouraged. No cruise is complete until we have had at least one Taco Tuesday. Some other favorites amongst the scientists are gourmet s’mores, hamburgers, steak, and tiramisu. He also makes a mean biscuit and gravy and there seems to be a never-ending supply of bacon. Full, happy scientists make for a full, happy cruise!
For more of Chef Alex’s culinary treasures, please follow Point Sur Cuisine on Facebook!

Cuisine 1 Forsythe
Chef Alex adds the final touches to his gourmet s’mores that were a huge hit on the boat.
Cuisine 2
Here is a close up of Alex’s delicious s’mores drizzled with chocolate and caramel.
Cuisine 3
If the s’mores were not enough, Chef Alex whipped up some cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
Cuisine 4
There is always a variety of fresh fruits on board to offset our sugar overload.
Cuisine 5
As a healthy alternative, Chef Alex also offers a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and salad creations with every meal.
Cuisine 6 Briseno-Avena
Did somebody say dinner? Dr. Christian Briseno-Avena is ready with a bacon wrapped poblano pepper.
Cuisine 7
A perfect blend of traditional mac n’ cheese and fresh shrimp served with a spinach salad topped with candied pecans and fresh strawberries.
Cuisine 8
Chef Alex always provides a balanced, healthy meal.
Cuisine 9
Chef Alex is always puttin’ on the ritz especially with this king cake filled with bananas foster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2016–Meet the Crew of the “Point Sure”

Since the beginning of the CONCORDE project, a few of us researchers have begun fondly referring to the R/V Point Sur as the “good ol’ Point Sure,” because it became immediately obvious that the crew would do anything they could to help the scientists. The crew has come from a variety of different backgrounds with decades of collective time spent aboard commercial and research vessels. From the Gulf of Mexico oil fields to the Alaskan fisheries, the crew has a wide range of experience to contribute to running a successful, safe, and happy ship.

Crew 1 Allen
Captain Nicholas Allen has been overseeing operations of the R/V Point Sur since its relocation from Moss Landing in early 2015. He has degrees in marine biology from East Carolina University and marine technology from Cape Fear Community College and has worked on a variety of vessels ranging from small river tour boats to large research vessels. Captain Nic enjoys supporting science and the different challenges that working with each research group offers.
Crew 2 Acker
Chief Mate/Assistant Engineer Ben Acker began his maritime career as a deckhand and has worked a variety of roles onboard, including Assistant Engineer, eventually working his way up to Chief Mate this year. He enjoys helping with the CONCORDE project because of the variety of interesting research happening onboard. Fun fact: Prior to joining the crew of the R/V Point Sur, Ben worked as a scuba diving instructor in the Florida Keys.
Crew 3 Jansen
Chief Engineer Joshua Jansen was raised in a naval family and grew to love working on the water. He started as an ordinary seaman on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, but has traveled to many places by boat including Alaska, Tahiti, and Trinidad. He spent some time in the oil fields gaining more knowledge and experience, which has culminated in him becoming Chief Engineer on the R/V Point Sur.

 

 

Marine Technician Marshall Kormanec received a B.S. in Biology at University of North Carolina Wilmington, spent some time as a fisheries observer in Alaska, and returned to academia to receive his Master’s in Oceanography from Louisiana State University. After receiving his M.S., he began looking for a job that wasn’t a typical “9-to-5” in order to allow the time and flexibility to travel the world. He ultimately found the right fit and secured a spot as a deckhand on the R/V Point Sur, where he quickly rose to Marine Technician.
Chef Alex Forsythe has been providing delicious meals on LUMCON research vessels for over ten years. Chef Alex enjoys the challenge of cooking healthy alternatives, which are often rare on vessels, and his culinary creations were recognized when he received an award for best food in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet.

 

Crew 6 Rath
Mate Jack Rath is originally from California but now resides in Daphne, AL. He spent twelve years in the Marines before he started working as a deckhand in the oil fields around six years ago and has now risen to mate on the R/V Point Sur. He enjoys the youthfulness of working on a research vessel and feels like he is continually learning.
Crew 7 Beirbaum
Deckhand Josh Bierbaum received a B.S. from Western Illinois University in 2015. He joined the R/V Point Sur crew as a deckhand with his maiden voyage being the spring CONCORDE cruise. We have gotten to watch him learn and progress within vessel operations and he has become a favorite amongst the night crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 25, 2016–Equipment and Instrumentation
Now that we are in our second full day of sampling, the collection process is becoming routine, although it is often punctuated with amazing moments, like a double rainbow or a sea turtle sighting (both of which happened today). For the rest of the summer cruise, we are going to highlight some of these moments. For today, we will immerse you in our lives as researchers and crew by detailing how we collect our various samples. It can take many years, dedicated people, and expertise to use and troubleshoot our innovative equipment.

Instrumentation 1
The mininess is a multi-net sampling system that collects plankton samples at depth-discrete locations throughout the water column.
Instrumentation 2
The In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS) is an underwater imaging system that captures real-time photos of marine organisms and is towed using the R/V Point Sur’s 12-foot wide A-frame.
Instrumentation 3 Martin
Kevin Martin controls the fiber optic winch used to deploy and tow the ISIIS.
Instrumentation 4
Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena (front) and Dr. Adam Greer closely monitor the ISIIS while it flies up and down throughout the water column.
Instrumentation 5 Quas
Hydrography student Lauren Quas describes how the multibeam sonar transmits real-time bathymetry data to the lab’s computers.
Instrumentation 6 Deary and Briseno-Avena
Dr. Alison Deary and Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena retrieve the ISIIS after a six hour tow.
Instrumentation 7 Ho, Weidemann
Graduate student Peng Ho and Dr. Alan Weidemann launch the CTD to kick off a night of water sampling.
Instrumentation 8 Mojzis
Allie Mojzis samples bottom water that is captured using a device called a POGO.
Instrumentation 9
Graduate student Adam Boyette uses a FlowCAM to image phytoplankton collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Instrumentation 10
The incubator, which is maintained at ambient water temperature with a constant flow of seawater, is used by CONCORDE researchers to study the base of the food chain and how it varies at different light conditions.
Instrumentation 11
The Rad Van is a contained area where radioisotopes are used to further examine the base of the food chain.
Instrumentation 13
Dr. Hannah Box works with eight radium barrels collecting large volume samples to study the influences of groundwater intrusions into the northern Gulf.
Instrumentaton 14
Dr. Christian Briseño-Avena (left) and Dr. Adam Greer bask in the glow of a double rainbow as they secure the ISIIS after a successful day of sampling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 23-24, 2016–Let the sampling commence!

A Day in the Life of a CONCORDEian Onboard the R/V Point Sur

After nearly 48 hours of preparation, mobilization, and calibration, we’re finally here to do what we came to do! We completed the multibeam patch test in time to reach our first station, situated just east of the Chandeleur Islands. The night crew hit the deck at 7:30 pm with enthusiasm and collected water from eight different stations throughout the night, using a variety of sampling equipment. In addition to using a variety of gear, the water team looked at both the chemical composition and phytoplankton, which are microscopic marine plants, throughout the water column at each station. The following morning, the plankton team deployed their nets just after sunrise in an effort to support our plankton imaging system (ISIIS), which is towed for six hours during the day centered around local noon. The ISIIS is pulled through the water column behind the R/V Point Sur at five knots, continuously collecting images of Gulf of Mexico microscopic life. Simultaneously, the multibeam team used acoustic signals to continuously map the seafloor in order to inform the CONCORDE researchers of the changing bottom topography during sampling efforts. Not long before sunset, the plankton team cast their nets back overboard to collect the last set of daytime samples, just in time to give way to the water team as they returned to deck for night sampling.

Sampling 1 Martin
Kevin Martin works hard to troubleshoot equipment. Photo credit Deary.
Sampling 2 Ho
Peng Ho collects water using equipment lovingly dubbed the “pooper scooper.”
Sampling 3 Whitmore
Laura Whitmore joins us on her maiden CONCORDE voyage.
Sampling 4 Mojzis, Ho
Allison Mojzis and Peng Ho prepare the CTD for a cast to collect water, water quality data, and productivity information.
Sampling 5 Boyette,
Adam Boyette and William Dobbins assist in launching the CTD.
Sampling 6 Bierbaum, Allen
Deckhand Josh Bierbaum and Captain Nicholas Allen assists with the deployment of a hose used to determine the amount of groundwater seeping into the Gulf of Mexico for postdoc Hannah Box.
Sampling 7 Boyette, Allen, Martin
Adam Boyette, Captain Nicholas Allen, and Kevin Martin retrieve the CTD.
Sampling 8 Weidemann, Mojzis, Boyette
Dr. Alan Weidemann, Allie Mojzis, and Adam Boyette review the results from the recent CTD casts.
Sampling 9
The neuston net samples the surface water just after sunrise the following morning.
Sampling 10 Box
Dr. Hannah Box is still enthusiastic after a long night of sampling. Photo credit Axler.
Sampling 11
Antonio Pliru, Carla Culpepper, and Kelia Axler assist in the deployment of the neuston net with the help of Chief Engineer Joshua Jansen. Photo credit Deary.
Sampling 12 Quas
Hydrography student Lauren Quas and Chief Engineer Joshua Jansen supervise as the multibeam pole is lowered into the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 22, 2016–Mobilizing for Research

Mobilization, or as we like to call it “mob,” is the staging of the vessel for a scientific cruise. This involves packing any equipment that could potentially be used for collection of samples, experiments, or data processing and transporting it to the ship. This requires a lot of planning and forethought, as once we are at sea, we cannot simply go to the store. Once at the port, the ship and science crew work through rain or shine to set up the vessel for research, which entails cranes, hardhats, and teamwork!

Mob1
Trucks and trailers are used to transport our state-of-the-art equipment from the lab to the port.
Mob2
Once at the port, the ship’s crew helps in craning heavy equipment onto the R/V Point Sur.
Mob3
Science team members, Lanora Vasquez del Mercado and Kelia Axler carry a tote of scientific equipment on the boat using the gangplank.
Mob4 Jansen, Box, Mojzis
Chief Engineer Joshua Jansen assists Hannah Box and Allie Mojzis by craning a liquid nitrogen dewer onto the vessel.
Mob 5 Williamson
Hydrography student, Maxwell Williamson, prepares for the loading of the multibeam pole, which is an acoustic system that maps the seafloor. Photo credit Deary.
Mob 6
With such a busy day, scientists and ship crew have to find time to eat.
Mob 7
The dock can be a lively place on mob day.
Mob 8, Culpepper, Martin, Weidemann, Muffelman, Briseno-Avena
Often, mobilization can stretch late into the evening to ensure that equipment will run properly once at sea. Pictured from left: Carla Culpepper, Kevin Martin, Alan Weidemann, Sarah Muffelman, and Christian Briseno-Avena. Photo credit Axler.
Mob 9 Kormanec
Even after leaving the dock, mobilization continues as Marine Technician Marshall Kormanec assists with installing the multibeam pole.


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