Field Find Friday: Alaria esculenta

The Stefansson Sound Boulder Patch is the largest kelp bed on the Alaskan Arctic coast, but it is not the only one. On Wednesday, Katrin Iken, the Dunton brothers, and I took the RV Proteus east to to dive a small kelp bed in Camden Bay. This was my first time making this run and it wasContinue reading “Field Find Friday: Alaria esculenta”

Lost and found: A tale of first-year folly, chance, and the nature of field work

So, funny story… In summer of 2014, I had just finished my first year as a grad student at UT. I had spent the year coming up with questions and designing research projects to carry out for my PhD work. One of the questions I was interested in was “How does the community of algaeContinue reading “Lost and found: A tale of first-year folly, chance, and the nature of field work”

Back to basics: Measuring pH of tundra pools

Hellooo everyone! Welcome to field blog 2017! We are up in Prudhoe Bay working on the Boulder Patch kelp bed (which, incidentally now has its own website: until the beginning of August, then heading east to Kaktovik for about two weeks, then back to the Boulder Patch for a couple days in mid August. Onto today’sContinue reading “Back to basics: Measuring pH of tundra pools”

Science Camp Snapshot: Remotely Operated Vehicle

The theme for this year’s Kaktovik Oceanography Program was ‘Exploring our Oceans’. The idea was to expose students to both traditional and state of the art techniques and technologies that scientists use to make discoveries about the ocean. A very exciting tool we brought to Kaktovik this year is a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV. ROVs areContinue reading “Science Camp Snapshot: Remotely Operated Vehicle”

Science Camp Snapshot: Groundwater

One of the coolest parts of the Kaktovik Oceanography Program is teaching local students about how the science we do relates to their local ecosystems. This year, fellow UTMSI PhD student Craig Connolly led an activity on groundwater. In the Arctic summer, water moves through the thawed soil layer and enters the lagoons, bringing withContinue reading “Science Camp Snapshot: Groundwater”

Dataloggers are our science babies

In my posts here and elsewhere, I mention dataloggers a lot. Dataloggers are the basis of many many types of science. The ones that I use are made to log data on specific environmental variables (temperature, salinity, underwater light, currents) at specific intervals throughout the year (e.g. once every hour). As you may have alreadyContinue reading “Dataloggers are our science babies”

Algae rocks!

Whither a Boulder Patch without rocks? The whole reason the Boulder Patch kelp bed exists is because of a large deposit of rocks in Stefansson Sound. These rocks originated in Canada and were dumped by glacial activity in the otherwise silty, muddy Alaskan Beaufort. Over thousands of years, algae and animals began growing on and around these rocks, developingContinue reading “Algae rocks!”

Field Find Friday on a Sunday: Sea Raspberry coral

Did you know that coral lives in the Arctic? This is not a reef building coral, but a soft coral, called Gersemia rubiformis. This species also lives in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, as far south as North Carolina and California. Its close relatives live in the deep sea. Like a typical coral, eachContinue reading “Field Find Friday on a Sunday: Sea Raspberry coral”

Field Find Saturday: Sea Spider!

We finally had a long dive day yesterday! As part of our science outreach/ as a thank you to all the folks working where we are staying, we put up an aquarium of Boulder Patch critters. One of the animals we picked up for the aquarium was this guy: This is a pycnogonid, or sea spider.Continue reading “Field Find Saturday: Sea Spider!”

Weather Days

It’s really windy out. In fact, it’s been windy since we got here four days ago. While this wind event is not nearly as bad as the one two years ago, it still makes us antsy to start dive operations (but our McConaughey attitude helps us out). In the meantime, we have time to: Assemble allContinue reading “Weather Days”