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18 June 2018

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots: In The Extreme

Each day, I collect qualitative data on, for example, the ways that people and robots communicate, how different kinds of decisions are made, the social habits and technologies particular to this environment, and workgroups.


14 June 2018

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots: Blueprints

Walk into the Wet Lab aboard R/V Falkor and you will find us, the biological team, juggling liter bottles, vials, tubes, and jars—all containing ocean water from our current location.


13 June 2018

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots: Ripples

The science control room on R/V Falkor is the center of action, where you will find 18 individual computer screens (ranging in size and setup) displaying everything the ship is doing.


5 June 2018

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots: The Night Cast

“Have you ever done a XBT cast?” John Fulmer asks. I have not, but I am excited to learn about another device used for deep-water oceanography.


2 June 2018

Exploring fronts with multiple robots: A Helping Hand

I can’t help but feel nervous. While I have a background in marine science, I have never been on a large ship or spent a significant period time on the open ocean. A few questions stubbornly drift around my head: Am I ready for this journey? What happens if I get sea sick the whole time? Am I really qualified to work on a big expedition with so many distinguished scientists?


1 June 2018

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots: No Man’s Sea

No people have tried to stake a claim where we are going—no remote islands or archipelagos lay in our trajectory. We are going to a specific part of the ocean that is not distinguishable by human sight alone.


13 April 2018

Technology, courage, and next steps

Now that I have recovered from lack of sleep, two weeks of intense sampling, and can feel the stable earth under my feet, I would like to share a special morning off the west coast of O‘ahu.


12 April 2018

Wrapping up the #microbeeddybots expedition: Week 4 video

“Whenever you are able to achieve something that you couldn’t before, it always gives you hope for the future.”


11 April 2018

An ocean’s breath

There are only a few places in the ocean where the dynamics of the microbial organisms are so tightly coupled that they give rise to perfect synchronicity. The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre that we are sailing through for this research cruise is one of these special places.


10 April 2018

How to spy on nitrogen-fixing bacteria

“…most phytoplankton are desperate for nitrogen, taking up any available forms so fast that concentrations in surface waters are often too low for us to measure.”


Pumping Iron

All life on earth needs iron to grow, and the lifeforms in the oceans are no exception. The ocean around the Falkor is filled with microscopic plankton who spend their day sifting through the salt and water to find a few precious iron atoms.


9 April 2018

Can’t stop moving

I really can’t stop moving. There are two reasons for this. One is that I am on a ship. The other is that I am on a ship. Yes, these are distinct reasons.


7 April 2018

Microbes and machines: Week 3 Video

“These eddy fields are fantastic natural laboratories. They are large enough that we are able to conduct simultaneous measurements using autonomous vehicles, profiling floats, and other instruments to take microbiology measurements, chemistry measurements, and geochemical measurements. These all come together so that we understand the living ecosystem of the eddy field.”


6 April 2018

My new colleague is a robot

For the past five days, I have been taking samples at 6am, Noon, and 6pm from various depths: 50m, approximately 100m (DCM), and 250m. In contrast, the ESP has been taking samples every three hours, a process that would be impossible – or at least unhealthy – for a human to attempt.


5 April 2018

Rhythm in the Eddy

It is midnight, and the ship’s lights are dimmed to limit interference with some extremely light-sensitive instruments.


28 March 2018

The ‘bots are back!: Week 2 video

Drama and suspense are not generally the first things people think of when oceanic research is discussed, but second week of the #MicrobeEddyBots research cruise provided plenty of both…


27 March 2018

Underway CTD’s: The struggle is ‘reel’

By Tim Burrell, Eric Shimabukuro & Ryan Tabata Although our expensive new robots can cruise underwater for days at a time, setting them up for their most scientifically valuable missions begins with compiling data to form a picture of the oceanic feature we are trying to study. Satellite altimetry shows us differences of tens of centimeters above or below the average sea surface height, which are usually indicators of eddy …


26 March 2018

Sampling Eddies

By Elisha Wood-Charlson Nearly two weeks into the expedition, our cruise has achieved a number of impressive successes already: chasing the eddy, characterizing it, and tracking its features. The next challenge is an engineering one – sampling the eddy’s deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) in real-time at a depth of ~100 meters, more than twice the depth recommended for recreational SCUBA diving. Inside the Long Range Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (LRAUV), the …


21 March 2018

Tracking Eddies

By Elisha Wood-Charlson Once the LRAUVs Opah and Aku rendezvoused with the Falkor in the center of the eddy, it was time to switch them from survey mode to tracking and sampling mode. Our target eddy feature, the Deep Chlorophyll Max (DCM, discussed here), is indicated as a bright red/orange color in the data visualizations of Opah’s sensor output, indicating the increased chlorophyll signal that hovers ~100 meters below the …


15 March 2018

Setting Off — An Introduction

Aloha from the Pacific Ocean! For the next month, we will be using some amazing autonomous robots to explore an ocean eddy in never before seen detail.