Showing posts from February, 2021

The pool

The deep test pool at McLane  "You haven't seen our pool before, have you?" Tim asked. Clad in a hard hat and steel-toe shoes, he had just moved a crane to lift a 60-kg pump into the water. The pump hung suspended just below the surface, while a rubber duck floated alongside. I peered over the edge, expecting to find the bottom just below the pump's frame - but I didn't. It was 50 m below, down a long, clear column.  A few minutes passed, and the pump came to life, sucking water through an inlet at 30 L per minute. The small plastic ball that normally blocks the inlet disappeared into its chamber, and small bubbles revealed the level of turbulence. I was excited to see this evidence of the pump working - since I had set it up.  Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit McLane Research Labs in Falmouth, MA and get trained on a new piece of equipment: high-volume underwater pumps. WHOI scientists, including my old postdoc lab, have used McLane pumps to colle


One of the things I learned early on in my career was that scientists never do anything once. In fact, my very first marine ecology project after college was an analysis of seafloor images from the high Arctic , and my advisor gave me a clear message: do it twice. I spent weeks going through the image set, just to go back to the beginning and start over - but you know what, our analysis was much better for it. Inevitably, every scientific project has a point when you have to start completely over. Every single one.  I'm at that point with one of my projects right now. It's not quite "two steps forward, one step back" but something much more complicated - more like "three steps backward, twirl around, and head off in a different direction." You see, one of the papers I submitted for publication last fall came back with reviews attached, and the editor has asked me to make substantial revisions.  Revising a paper is never my favorite thing to do. Reviewer co


The flyer for my seminar  "For there blows some cold nor'westers On the banks of Newfoundland" - "Banks of Newfoundland" by Great Big Sea   About six weeks ago, I received an email with the subject line "From an old friend." The message was from Carly, a Masters student I had known back when I was doing my PhD in Oregon. (Long-time readers of this blog might remember Carly from the day we went tidepooling in a hail storm .) She's moved on to do her own PhD at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the e-mail was an invitation to present a virtual seminar to her department. I was thrilled for the chance to present my work, get to know researchers and students at MUN, and catch up with Carly. The mark of a good seminar is the questions it generates, and I'm glad to say I received several excellent questions after my presentation. The seminar was also streamed live online, so you can watch the embedded video below here. I really enjoyed my v

Ocean Shot

 "If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."  - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf A couple months ago, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a call for what they called "Ocean Shots" - big ideas for ocean research. The term is a play on "moon shot" and meant to convey a similarly ambitious level of thinking. We're talking decades-long, ten-billion-dollar ideas. In my mind, the call seemed perfectly suited for an Arctic initiative, so I approached a fellow Arctic researcher at WHOI, my colleague Sam Laney, and we started brainstorming.  Two of the slides from my talk, showing critical processes and questions in the Arctic (above) and the technologies needed to address them (below). Graphics by Natalie Renier. Together, Sam and I composed a vision for an autonomous seafloor observatory on the Arctic continental shelf. About 50% of the Arctic basin is shallow continental shelves, and these dynamic environments are rap