Northwest Fisheries Science Center

The Main Deck

Acoustic and trawl adventures in the Northeast Pacific

This portal tracks the research and sea-going activities of the Fisheries Engineering and Acoustic Technologies (FEAT) Team from NOAA¿s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.  Follow us as we use acoustics, trawling, and oceanographic sampling to learn about the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Back deck of Bell M. Shimada
Acoustic echogram of hake
trawl catch

Under Pressure

By Rebecca Thomas, NWFSC
January 19, 2017

The week before coming out to sea, I was thrilled to be able to go talk to kids about ocean pressure in two classrooms at Bryant Elementary school: Ms. Regalado’s 2nd grade class and Ms. James 4th grade class. Thanks for welcoming me! I love revisiting the wonder of science through kid’s eyes.

multiple cups
Cups before going deep Photo credit: Rebecca Thomas


Retrieving CTD
Cups in neon mesh bag coming back on board! Photo credit: Rebecca Thomas

We talked about pressure in the ocean, how it goes up as you get deeper, and different kinds of cool animals that live in deeper parts of the ocean. We got things a bit wet with a pressure experiment using a big plastic jug with three holes drilled in it to show how water shoots further from the bottom hole due to the water pressure. Wheee! The kids took over from there, using permanent markers to draw their own designs on Styrofoam cups. They were also excited to explore the idea that their cups would shrink once we took them down to 500 m.

The cups came onto the ship with me in Newport, OR. A few days ago, off the coast of Northern California, Survey Tech Scott helped attach the mesh bag with cups from Ms. Regalado’s class to the CTD (an instrument that measure salinity, temperature, and depth in the ocean). We sent the cups down to just shy of 500 m. They came back looking great!

Check out the difference in shrinkage between the two cups! The one on the left hasn’t gone down to 500 m yet, and the one on the right has. So cool.

big and little cup
Uncompressed cup vs. compressed cup; Photo credit: Rebecca Thomas

Ms. James’ class cups were scheduled for the next CTD, but weather came up, and we weren’t able to do CTD’s for a few days. We’ll put the cups for her class on the next deep CTD after we come out of San Francisco. I’m excited to give the cups back to the kids after the survey – it’s so fun to see how tiny the drawings have become.

Tagged: Hake, Acoustics, Winter hake research, FEAT, FRAM, Oceanography, Ecosystem, California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, CCLME, El Niño, La Niña, Climate

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