Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Smith Lab Helps Party for the Planet

On April 20th Smith Lab members Susan Kram, Molly Gleason and Jill Harris and Sandin Lab member Lindsay Bonito attended Birch Aquarium’s Party for the PlanetParty for the Planet was a family-friendly event in which Birch Aquarium recognized Earth Day through hands-on activities, scientific exploration and crafts.

Jill Haris & Lindsay Bonito teaching kids about coral.

Jill Haris & Lindsay Bonito teaching kids about coral.

Smith & Sandin Lab members joined the event representing Scripps Researchers, and were able to share their knowledge of coral reefs and ocean acidification with the public.  For the coral reef table, lab members brought coral skeletons, beautiful images of Hawaiian and Central Pacific coral reefs and tools used to conduct underwater experiments. 

Susan Kram demonstrating the basics of ocean acidification

Susan Kram demonstrating the basics of ocean acidification

The ocean acidification table included a demonstration of how CO2 affects seawater pH.  Aquarium guests were asked to blow bubbles into a mason jar of seawater, and using a pH probe and meter they could watch the pH in the seawater drop as they continued to blow bubbles – demonstrating how the CO2 from their breath affected the seawater pH.  The pH probe used was the same one that is used in Smith Lab ocean acidification experiments, demonstrating to the public what type of tools Scripps Researchers use.  Overall the event was highly successful and Smith and Sandin lab members were able to reach discuss their research with over 100 guests. 

 

 

Written by: Susan Kram

Smith Lab Helps Establish Live Feed of Continuous Ocean Acidification Data at SIO

On March 12th 2013 the Smith Lab made history at Scripps Institution of Oceanography by establishing a live feed of continuous seawater pH data being collected from instruments mounted underwater on a piling at the SIO Pier.

Collected data downloaded from the Amazon Cloud

Collected data downloaded from the Amazon Cloud

The Smith Lab initially installed their two instruments on the pier in March of 2010 in conjunction with the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS). One of the two instruments deployed, called a SeaFET, was developed by the Todd Martz Lab at Scripps. The SeaFET measures and records seawater pH and temperature at high temporal frequency. The other instrument, a multi-sensor sonde (YSI Environmental) measures and records dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature and chorophyll a concentration (an indicator of algal blooms). Weekly discrete water samples are collected next to the instruments and then taken to Andrew Dickson’s Lab, also at Scripps, to be analyzed for total alkalinity, seawater pH, salinity, and total dissolved inorganic carbon.

A part of the PDA communication system that streams live data from the pier

A part of the PDA communication system that streams live data from the pier

The Smith Lab collaborated with Peter Arzberger and Tony Fountain at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UCSD (CAL IT 2) to bring the data from the pier to the public. The Fountain Lab designed and built a PDA communication system that streams the SeaFET instrument data to an Amazon cloud as it is collected on the pier. The field expertise in the Smith Lab supports installation and maintenance of the new instrumentation and communication cabling using SCUBA diving. Volunteers from the Smith Lab retrieve the instruments monthly for service and collect the discrete seawater samples necessary to monitor performance and consistency of the deployed sensors.

The Smith Lab hopes that this data set can become publicly available and used as a tool by both researchers and educators to spread knowledge and understanding of ocean acidification. While the project is not quite ready for a public unveiling, the Smith lab is very proud of this accomplishment and will continue to strive toward excellence!

This project has been generously funded by the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation and the California State Water Board project and we thank them sincerely for their contributions. Also a special thanks to Nichole Price, Peter Shin, Rich Walsh & Susan Kram for making this project a reality!

 

 

Written by: Susan Kram

scripps oceanography uc san diego