March 14, 2017

High-Resolution Mapping Reveals the Evolution of Underwater Landscapes in the Johnston Atoll

High-Resolution Mapping Reveals the Evolution of Underwater Landscapes in the Johnston Atoll

The mapped region is almost the size of the state of Connecticut and falls within the recently expanded boundaries of a U.S. marine protected area. The area is populated with high-density deep-sea corals and sponges and is of great interest to researchers who view it as a stepping-stone between distinct marine ecosystems in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Central and South Pacific.

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March 13, 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

A picture is worth a thousand words

The diversity of shapes and sizes in phytoplankton is overwhelming and beautiful. I was able to see the actual individuals that were in the sea surrounding us all the way across the Pacific. Seeing them first-hand made me realize how interrelated all things are on this planet: they may be invisible, but they are important. We are dependent on them and they on us.

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March 10, 2017

What color is the ocean? The sky?

What color is the ocean? The sky?

What Color is the ocean? The sky? Most of us would reply immediately—blue! But what shade of blue? I am exploring this topic during the research cruise by capturing the blues of the sky and sea through direct observation using my eyes and three instruments—watercolors, photography and a cyanometer.

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Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

With dogs’ breath fogging the 30-below zero air at their knees, 71 Iditarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fairbanks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in a one-mile stretch of open water.

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March 9, 2017

A Virtual Field Trip Through Appalachian Geology

A Virtual Field Trip Through Appalachian Geology

A tour of Appalachia, as reconstructed Virginia Tech Active Tectonics and Geomorphology Lab.

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March 8, 2017

Phytoplankton sampling strategies

Phytoplankton sampling strategies

Plankton comes from the greek word planktos, meaning wanderer. It does not define a specific organism, but rather a specific life style. Plankton consist of all organisms dispersed in water that are passively driven by water currents or are subject to passive sinking process. Some of those organisms have an ability to produce oxygen and sugars using sunlight and carbon dioxide, just like terrestrial plants do.

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March 6, 2017

Science at sea: Challenges, silver linings and success

Science at sea: Challenges, silver linings and success

Amazingly, the data extracted from the nine sensors in the Wirewalker was complete. This provided new insights about the instrument’s resilience and capabilities. Even with ripped cables and a lost battery pack, it did not miss a beat and came back with an important discovery from Hawaiian waters: the team was excited to confirm a growth in the amount of particles during daytime, which was surprising for two reasons.

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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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