Showing posts from September, 2021

Artificial reefs

Friends, I want to tell you about something I'm working on now. Back at the beginning of covid , I used my time while stuck at home to go through old video footage from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Some of the footage was recorded by sanctuary archaeologists years ago (as far back as 2003), and some of it was recorded by my team in 2019 - 2020 . The videos showed shipwrecks throughout the sanctuary, and as I watched, I kept track of the species living on each one. I wasn't sure how the analysis would shape up, but I knew there were bound to be cool patterns in the data.  I finished going through the footage several months ago , but I never dug into the numerical data to look for those patterns - until now. I decided to focus this particular analysis on the archived footage and look at the distributions of species across the sanctuary. After working the data through my normal analysis procedures, I realized there was actually a very interesting story to be told.

Liquid world: part 2

Another day, another dive. It's a good life.  Some of you might remember I worked with WHOI engineers in 2019-2020 to develop a new camera system called CATAIN . The system has been deployed under the WHOI pier for over a year now, and I've gone SCUBA diving in all seasons and all weather to periodically retrieve it. I thought that after 14 months underwater, CATAIN could finally surface and get some R&R. Then I got the reviews back for a paper I had written about CATAIN. Obviously, I'd like the broader scientific community to know about this invention, and the best way to do that is to publish a paper (we submitted a patent application, but scientists don't read those). I've never actually written a methods paper before. I wasn't quite sure how to go about it but figured I would do my best and see what happened.  CATAIN under the WHOI pier with its panels attached to the frame. Photo by Kim Malkoski. Well, the paper got rejected. The reviewers wanted to s

Liquid world

Mad Scientist Kirstin with the camera. Photo by Kharis Schrage. I am sitting on my couch. My hair is wet, and I am listening to the rain fall outside. The oppressive humidity that hung in the air for the last two months has broken. Water vapor now gives way to aqueous projectiles. It seems my entire world is liquid.  Earlier today, I swam in a liquid world at Hathaway Pond. Hathaway is a freshwater pond near my house, and I use it for dive training , testing new gear , and sometimes just  getting away . Today's mission at the pond was two-fold: I wanted to get in a good dive, but I also needed to test out my lab's new underwater camera system.  This thing is massive. The camera itself is just a normal DSLR, but by the time you add a waterproof housing, dome lens, strobes, and a viewfinder, the system can get unwieldy. Given how heavy it was in air, I was expecting it to be negatively buoyant in the water. When we first donned our dive gear and stepped into the liquid, I thought