Ocean Ecology (616) Local News Archive

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PACE Mission Blog: Observatory, assembled!

The PACE satellite now has all three of its scientific instruments attached to the spacecraft, as the integration crew bolted the Ocean Color Instrument into place with its two polarimeter neighbors.

PACE Mission Blog: NASA’s PACE Mission Undergoes Milestone Testing

NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, which will provide a major boost to scientists studying Earth’s atmosphere and ocean health, completed a milestone test in October at Goddard Space Flight Center. The Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) on the PACE mission passed thermal vacuum tests to ensure it can withstand the harsh space environments.

NASA GLOBE Land Cover Challenge 2022: Land Cover in a Changing Climate

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program invites you to take part in our upcoming Land Cover Challenge: “Land Cover in a Changing Climate.”

The photos you take using The GLOBE Program’s GLOBE Observer app document the current land cover and may also show evidence of land cover or land use change in the area. We especially encourage you to look for places you know have changed (or where you know change is coming), and put any information about the reasons or timing for that change in the field notes section. While existing land cover databases (such as the 50-year record from the Landsat satellite) may be able to indicate where change is happening, they don’t always include the reasons why those changes occurred, so any local, on-the-ground knowledge you share with us can be especially helpful.

Celebrate World Oceans Day with Sounds of the Sea

Ryan Vandermeulen (616) and his brother have merged ocean color data with music to create a sonic tour of the ocean.

First air-LUSI Operational Flight Campaign Begins

The airborne Lunar Spectral Irradiance (air-LUSI) mission, led by Kevin Turpie (616/UMBC), has begun its first operational flight campaign at NASA's Ames Flight Research Center. A collaborative project between NASA, NIST, USGS, and McMaster University, air-LUSI will help characterize the Moon as a reference standard for calibrating satellite instruments used to study and monitor the Earth’s environment and climate.

Silver Medal for CyAN Project Team

The CyAN Project team received an EPA Silver Medal for Superior Service for the “Cyanobacteria Assessment Network: delivery of mission critical satellite data and a user-friendly mobile phone application to protect drinking and recreational waters nationwide from cyanoHABs.” CyAN is a joint EPA-NOAA-USGS-NASA effort, currently beginning its seventh year, where the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (616) provides the operational data processing and distribution arm of the project.

SeaHawk Enters Operations Phase

The SeaHawk Cubesat with the HawkEye ocean color instrument onboard entered its routine operations phase. Full details including links about the mission, its history, data products, operations and data access can be found here . With the transition to operations, all HawkEye data starting with the very first image taken on March 21st, 2019 through today are now available for browse, download and ordering on the OceanColor Web Browser.

Earth Expeditions Blog: Roaming the Depths -- The Role of Autonomous Assets in the EXPORTS Campaign

Satellites have undoubtedly opened up new ways for scientists to study the ocean, giving us global coverage of the surface of the ocean without ever having to step foot on a ship. But how can we learn what lies beneath the surface?

Earth Expeditions Blog: Imaging the Ocean

I started my PhD in October at IMEV in Villefranche-sur-mer, France, on the impact of zooplankton on the biological carbon pump through an in-situ imaging approach. It’s in this context that I had the privilege to join this impressive EXPORTS campaign onboard the Sarmiento de Gamboa research vessel.

Earth Expeditions Blog: Making Plankton into Art

After flying to the United Kingdom, the EXPORTS scientists were in quarantine for two weeks prior to embarking on a month-long research cruise. While there was still some last-minute work to be done before departure, for most of us this meant there would be no shortage of free time spent alone in our hotel rooms.

Earth Expeditions Blog: Small Bugs with a Big Impact

We have about one more week of full science fun left in the North Atlantic NASA EXPORTS campaign. It has certainly been a wild ride at sea given that we’ve experienced about four storms to date. However, even with the weather days, we have still accomplished an impressive amount of science.

Earth Expeditions Blog: The Effects of Nutrient and Light on Phytoplankton Communities

n the sunlit portion of the ocean exist single-celled microscopic organisms called phytoplankton. They are called the ‘grass of the sea’ because these tiny plants and algae perform many of the same ecological functions as plants on land. As such, they provide energy to the organisms higher up in the food chain that feed on them, forming the foundation of many marine food webs. Through a process called photosynthesis, phytoplankton also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to produce sugars and other organic compounds that they require to live and grow.

Earth Expeditions Blog: Our Three "Hour" Tour

For those of us who grew up watching Gilligan’s Island, we all know the fateful story of the “three-hour tour.” Well, as this oceanographer knows, that TV storm is not that different from the weather we are facing out here in the North Atlantic on the research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa.

Earth Expeditions Blog: The Hunt for the Right Eddy

The ocean is full of eddies – swirling water masses that are the ocean equivalent of hurricanes. In comparison with their atmospheric counterparts, eddies are smaller, longer-lived, and far more numerous: ...

NASA Earth Expeditions: What It's Like to Quarantine Before a Field Campaign

Pandemics can change the plans of nearly everything, including ocean research. That’s exactly what happened with EXPORTS. In 2019, the original North Atlantic Expedition along with its active research projects were canceled.

Coronavirus Impacts Field Work

Goddard Space Flight Center airborne campaigns are highlighted in a recent Capital Weather Gang article in The Washington Post. The article describes the novel coronavirus's impact on scientific research and field campaigns.

Notes from the Field: A Night in the Life of Moon Measurers

We had another successful flight last night. Airborne science has taught me that a great flight is one that provides good data and a story, but a perfect flight offers a story from which we learn something.

PACE Mission featured in Podcast

Kathleen McIntyre, PACE Deputy Project Manager, discusses NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem mission in an episode of Small Steps, Giant Leaps.

Earth Matters Blog: Changing Ocean Colors

Bluer here, yellower there; here’s what scientists think is in store for the future color of Earth’s oceans.

Poster Blowout 2019 is in the books!

photo of people at the poster party

Photos from this year's Poster Blowout are available now. Congratulations to everyone, especially this year's winners!

A Return Home from ORACLES

Kirk Knobelspiesse (616) returned from several weeks in the field for the ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) Mission. Based this year on the African island of São Tomé, ORACLES studies smoke, created in sub-Saharan Africa, as it is advected over the South East Atlantic persistent marine stratocumulus cloud deck. Dr. Knobelspiesse helped deploy the Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) instrument on the NASA P-3 aircraft, and helps develop retrieval algorithms for this instrument while at home.

Del Castillo's Research Cited in Recent Forbes Article

A recent Forbes article described modeling research into how decomposing sea life matter affects ocean temperature. The authors used phytoplankton and colored detrital material (CDM) data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers installed on two NASA satellites that view the surface on an almost daily basis.

Earth Expeditions: Oh, The Places We’ll Go

Before I joined the science crew aboard the R/V Sally Ride and set sail for the middle of the Pacific Ocean for my first ever research cruise, I can honestly say I did not know what to expect.

Earth Expeditions: Diagnosing Diatoms: Do Anemic Diatoms Alter North Pacific Food Webs?

The focus of our team is on a group of phytoplankton called diatoms, which are the floating, single-celled plants of the ocean.

Earth Expeditions Blog: The Inner Space of the Subarctic Pacific Ocean

When one thinks of a NASA mission, thoughts of outer space, stars and other astronomic bodies come to mind. With the EXPORTS mission, NASA turns it focus, quite literally, from outer space to Earth’s inner space of the subarctic Pacific Ocean.

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