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You are browsing the archive for Lauren Lipuma.

June 6, 2017

Dispatches from Field Camp

My name is Brian Balta and I’m a visiting professor of petrology at Texas A&M University. I’m writing this post today and a few others I hope to share this week from the University of Montana Western, which has served as home to me and about 80 other students from Texas A&M for the past 2 weeks.

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April 20, 2017

Tundra swans take two distinct paths to Alaska

Both the East and West Coast tundra swans spend the majority of their lives migrating. Based on information from the satellite trackers, the bird I saw might have left the Central Valley of California in late January. From there, it looped across Oregon and Washington, maybe northern Utah, on its way to the prairie in Canada. Then it flew over northern British Columbia and back to Alaska.

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March 10, 2017

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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March 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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