The SEA Times newsletters are brought to you by Deborah McArthur, educator at sea. Deborah was funded by the NOAA West Coast Center for Oceans and Human Health program to provide "newspaper" postings about daily events on the ECOHAB-PNW cruise in September 2005. The SEA Times, "Science Education Asea", articles feature both crew and scientists aboard the R/V Melville during the cruise, as well as the joys and frustrations of life at sea. In addition to writing the SEA Times articles, Deborah also participated as a working member of the science party, assisting with CTD rosette deployments, seawater filtration and microscopy.
The SEA Times in pdf format are available for download below. To save a copy, click on the desired link and then use the Save option from the Adobe Acrobat window that opens.
- 9/2/05 - ECOHAB-Pacific Northwest Research Cruise Departs Elliot Bay
Experience the hard work, dedication, sunrises and sunsets, and camaraderie of life at sea with an international team of scientists and crew.
*Feature: Educator Stows Away - Sunglasses hold back strands of wispy blonde hair. Deborah McArthur stares up at the solid ship, "This is the real Cousteau," she says with a twinkle in her eye, shoveling down the last of her Ivar's clam chowder. "The open sea is calling. Let's go Melville!"
- 9/3/05 - Initial Sampling Reveals the Presence of Pseudo-nitzschia
Pseudo-nitzschia is of particular interest because it can produce a toxin called domoic acid, or D.A.
*Feature: P.I. Preps Research Team - Principal Investigator (P.I.) Vera Trainer convenes her team of scientists on the Melville stern. "Here's the work schedule. Let me know if a shift doesn't work for you," she says. Colored bars show the staggered 12-hour shifts: 3p.m to 3a.m. or noon to midnight. The team will work 24-hours while onboard to make the most of their time at sea.
- 9/4/05 - ECOHAB-PNW Scientists Find a Home Away from Home
The 28 ECOHAB-PNW scientists depend on the expertise of the 24 top-notch crew members for the success of the research cruise.
*Feature: Master in Command - Captain Chris "Rip" Curl wears a grey T-shirt with "Kailua boys" printed in gold - he once lived in the town Kailua on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. A ukelele sits on the coffee table. The captain says he's learning to play and picks it up to carefully pluck out the notes to Aloha Oe.
- 9/5/05 - Environmental Variables Monitored to understand HABs
The array of scientific equipment attached to the CTD will provide key data to the research teams.
*Feature: Salty Dog Research Scientist Onboard - Jim Postel is the CTD King onboard the R/V Melville. He runs the midnight to noon shift, diligently guiding the winch operator on the starboard deck and manning the computers from "control central" in the main lab. He's a large man whose salt-and-pepper beard and thick bifocals inspire some to call him the "CTD Santa."
*Video: Deploying and Sampling from the CTD Rosette.
- 9/6/05 - All Aboard Awed by Pacific Northwest Landscape and Seascape
Everyone on the R/V Melville agrees, life at sea has its charm. The complement of 52 scientists and crew has had time between working and sampling to enjoy the beauty of the ocean.
*Feature: Close Encounters with an Odd Kind - "Look! It's a giant Frisbee with wings!" The common sunfish or Mola mola is an interesting sight in the open ocean. These fish are often observed lying on the surface showing off their flat, silvery bodies, moving their paddle-like fins side-to-side. Mola is Latin for "millstone" - referring to the sunfish's roundish shape.
*Video: Killer Whale.
*Video: Mola Mola.
- 9/7/05 - Northerly Winds Excite ECOHAB-PNW Scientists
This swirling phenomenon has a diameter of approximately 20 miles.
*Feature: Chief Scientist Leads the Way - Barb is the Chief Scientist on the ECOHAB-PNW cruise. It is her responsibility to watch the weather, juggle the needs of the different science groups, make a plan and communicate with the bridge. Barb is a professor at the University of Washington and an expert on the physical oceanography of the west coast.
- 9/8/05 - Scientists Track What's Mowing the Marine Lawn
These single-celled organisms provide half of the oxygen we breathe!
*Feature: A Grazer Guru Speaks - Brady Olson talks about the microorganisms he studies with special adoration. "Plankton may be microscopic, but they're so visually appealing. They have such interesting shapes and behaviors," he says.
- 9/9/05 - The Iron Fish and Terminator Team Up for the Ironman
How do you get a precise reading of dissolved iron in ocean water when studying from a 2,516-ton steel ship?
*Feature: Pickell's Innovative "Chemostats at Sea" - A new technology is being tested on the Melville deck by PhD candidate Lisa Pickell (pronounced pic-KELL - not like the cucumbers soaked in vinegar). Lisa's research takes microbiology and chemistry to a new level - sea level.
- 9/10/05 - Drifter Tracks Ocean Currents
Our saltwater explorer has an important job: to drift with a large patch of Pseudo-nitzschia algae down the southern coast of Washington.
*Feature: From Surfing to Science - "An enthusiastic teacher can change a student's life," Tom reflects. "My high school biology, physics and chemistry teachers really made science interesting and that's the turning point that brought me to graduate school today."
- 9/11/05 - Dinner for Two: Diatoms and Dinoflagellates
These nutrients are necessary for the phytoplankton (diatoms and dinoflagellates) to grow - just like how the fertilizers you put on your garden at home help land plants to grow.
*Feature: Pura Vida! - A Tico's Life at Sea - Julian's tico ways helped him work through the technical difficulties with the scientific equipment on the ship. Once the problem was resolved and hundreds of samples are again being processed, he can relax in the his hammock and say, "Pura vida!" (Pure life!)
- 09/12/05 - How ECOHAB-Pacific Northwest Relates to You
Scientists and managers envision the day when toxic events can be predicted, much like meteorologists predict storms.
*Feature: Over in a Flash - The "green flash" was observed several times during the three week cruise. What is this rare phenomenon?