March 3, 2017

Far-north lake trout living in mystery

Far-north lake trout living in mystery

In early March up on the frozen Arctic Coastal Plain, as the wind sculpts snow into drifts, it’s hard to tell northern lakes from surrounding tundra. But lurking deep beneath that flat white world are toothy predators as long as your arm.

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The ocean’s colors from space

The ocean’s colors from space

Earth’s ocean is vast and deep, and we still need to study many things about it. To investigate and quantify biological and chemical processes, for instance, we need to determine the concentration and size of particles (living and non-living organisms) floating in the water, dissolved materials, and the diversity of organisms such as the microscopic photosynthetic phytoplankton.

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March 2, 2017

Phytoplankton in three phases

Phytoplankton in three phases

For an undergraduate project, I measured the response of several species of phytoplankton to different light intensities by measuring the concentration of their photosynthetic pigments, the compounds that collect light for photosynthesis. Pigments can also be used to identify specific groups of phytoplankton.

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March 1, 2017

A day in the desert

A day in the desert

Each year, AGU invites the Editors-in-Chief of the organization’s 20 journals to a retreat with members of the publications team and other senior staff to discuss strategic issues across the journals. This year’s meeting was held in San Diego, CA, and started with a field trip to the Anza-Borrego Desert.

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Maiden Voyages

Maiden Voyages

Melissa and Noah are working with two different novel instruments in this cruise. The first one is a time-lapse camera developed after repurposing her previous mobile. The phone will dangle at the base of a 150 meter wire, deployed as part of the Wirewalker assembly. For three or four days, the camera snaps pictures of the base of a sediment trap which collects falling particles called marine snow.

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February 28, 2017

Going with the flow

Going with the flow

Trying to sleep on a trampoline while somebody is jumping on it – this is how it feels during many nights at sea as the ship zig-zags in an imaginary box around our drifting instruments in the North Pacific during winter. This is when biological activity is lowest, but clearly there is no absence of physical forces, such as waves. Clearly.

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February 27, 2017

Measuring the pulse of the ocean

Measuring the pulse of the ocean

At the unholy hour of 0400, I find myself on the aft deck of the world-class research vessel Falkor, bubbling with excitement stemming from a unique combination of four shots of espresso, generally being a morning person, and, most importantly, preparing to test an experimental device that I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into. I take a moment to silently congratulate myself on the superb display of stamina and posture; it appears that my sea legs have finally decided to make an appearance.

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February 17, 2017

Cold War inspired first launch from Poker Flat

Cold War inspired first launch from Poker Flat

When they launch, the four rockets now pointed northward from Poker Flat Research Range will add to the 345 that have arced over northern Alaska during the past 48 years. Recently, Chuck Deehr remembered number one.

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February 16, 2017

Letting Go and Looking Forward

Letting Go and Looking Forward

As the bright yellow line and blinking strobe slip slowly down into the heaving waves, I feel a familiar sense of unease. Even though I have seventeen successful deployments of free-drifting, neutrally-buoyant sediment traps (or NBSTs) under my belt, it never feels quite normal to see the gray and orange float with its payload of painstakingly-prepared sample collectors sink away from the comparatively safe, solid deck of the ship.

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Lauren and the giant pumice

Lauren and the giant pumice

The submarine volcanism Chapman Conference is at an end, and by all means it was a success. We had 102 scientists from 13 countries, including 27 students, attend. Submarine volcanologists got to talk to subaerial volcanologists. We saw cool videos of scientists pouring lava over water and ice. We went on a field trip and saw seals and dolphins. We talked about lots and lots of volcanoes (I stopped counting at 27).

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