Section 5: Technical Services and Special Equipment

Shipboard Technical Support (STS)

STS provides science support services and general use equipment for the Scripps research vessels. Levels of services and facilities depend on the mission, capabilities and requirements of each cruise and are negotiated with the manager of STS in advance. The specific capabilities and services of the 5 groups within STS are as follows:

Resident Marine Technicians Group (RMTG or ResTechs)

The primary job of the RMTG is liaison between research vessels of SIO and the scientists and research groups using those vessels. The resident technician who is assigned to R/V Roger Revelle for a particular cruise contacts the chief scientist during the planning stage of the cruise to provide ship-specific information and to determine the needs of the scientific party. During this first contact the resident technician offers the ship's handbook, drawings, and inventory of shared-use equipment and describes features and equipment of the ship. Also, the technician explains the group's function and responsibilities as they relate to the scientific party's requirements to launch and recover over-the-side equipment.

The RMTG is the point-of-contact for scientific logistics. They plan with the scientists and research groups for the shipping and receiving of equipment and supplies. These technicians plan the deck load and laboratory setup. They operate forklifts on docks and the cranes on all ships, and supervise loading and unloading of scientific equipment and supplies. They report the load plan with weights of large items to the ship's captain for stability calculations. During expeditions the resident technicians make consolidated container shipments of scientific supplies, equipment and samples to and from foreign ports. The safe stowage of explosives, chemicals and isotopes are all provided for by designated portable vans or containers maintained by the RMTG.

Resident technicians provide liaison with government agencies, ship agents, scientists, and ship officers in such areas as permits for hazardous material, customs clearance, shipping, scheduling and loading plans. They serve as safety officers on deck, familiarize and train oncoming scientific parties, operate small boats and most are qualified SCUBA divers. The head of the group holds the UCSD/SIO explosives permit. The technicians in the group routinely support seismic shooting operations on SIO and other UNOLS vessels, as well as USN research ships. They also maintain sample logs, navigation and bathymetry data.

Sampling Equipment maintained by Resident Technicians:

  • piston corer
  • giant gravity corer
  • rock glass corer
  • IKMT mid-water trawl
  • 20-ft otter trawl
  • portable labs
  • inflatable boats & motors
  • chest freezer
  • portable magazines
  • explosive charge preparation tables
  • bench crimpers
  • cap boxes
  • meter plankton net
  • neuston net
  • multicorer
  • box corer
  • explosives handling gear
  • lab refrigerator
  • isotope isolation
  • magazine and refrigerated lab vans

BIOLOGICAL SAMPLING - A limited suite of biological sampling equipment can be provided on board Roger Revelle. This includes an Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl (10' mouth), a 1 m plankton net, a 1 m neuston net, a 10' Otter trawl, and assorted dip nets. Contact the resident technicians regarding this equipment.

Sample storage bottles, labels, preser-vatives, sorting apparatus, microscopes, etc. are not stocked, and are the responsibility of interested investigators.

Shipboard Computer Group (SCG)

During normal operations at sea, members of the Shipboard Computer Group on R/V Roger Revelleperform maintenance, repair and calibration on the installed SUN and PC computer systems and the peripheral equipment attached to the computers. The various terminals, displays and plotters are scattered in several work areas over at least three labs and on the bridge. They also perform the same functions on all scientific electronics and instrumentation interfaced to the computer systems. This includes such items as the magnetometer, CTD, gyrocompass, meteorological sensors, doppler speed log, satellite navigation receivers, XBT, 3.5 kHz and 12 kHz echosounding systems, SEA BEAM 2112 and RDI Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.

Other tasks performed at sea are the setup of leg-specific hardware and software applications and the continuing work on development, improvement, and expansion of the hardware and software systems. Members of the Shipboard Computer Group also monitor data collection systems to verify accuracy of data, display data in real time, instruct the scientific party and ship's crew in the use of computer-generated navigational aids and in the use of the computer itself. They develop and maintain display systems on CRT and hard copy devices for the various data streams, archive disk data files to magnetic tapes and make them available to appropriate members of the scientific party and for return to San Diego for further data processing and storage. On transit legs, this group has the sole responsibility for acquiring and archiving underway scientific data. This includes all the usual navigation, magnetometer, and SEA BEAM data.

Shipboard Geophysical Group (SGG)

The Shipboard Geophysical Group maintains a large and diversified pool of seismic reflection and refraction equipment. The principal demand for the refraction equipment is for the shotbreak recording system which is normally sent to sea without a technician. The various reflection profiling systems are more complex and require at least one engineer to operate and maintain them at sea. These services are provided at a recharge rate.

Geophysical equipment (available on request)


  • shotbreak streamers and amplifiers (2)
  • Fairfield sonobuoy receiver system (1)


  • SSI mica T-80 water guns (3)
  • Bolt PAR600B air guns (6)
  • Bolt PAR1900CT air guns (4)
  • Bolt PAR1500LL air guns (6)
  • GI air gun
  • Teledyne single channel streamers (2)
  • Streamer power reels (3)
  • Davits with hydraulic winches (4)
  • SEC 4-channel streamer depth readout
  • I/O AG-7 4-gun firing synchronizer (2)
  • Sparc 10 Digital Seismic Acquisition system
  • 2 sets of seismic amplifiers
  • 2 sets of Master clock/gun firing systems
  • Krohnhite bandpass filters (4)
  • Single channel A/D modules (2)
  • EPC 3211S graphic recorders (4)
  • Multichannel streamer power reel
  • Six gun digital firing control synchronizer system
  • AMG single channel streamer
  • 12-channel streamer reel
  • hydraulic power pack

Geological Data Center (GDC)

GDC provides sea-going personnel and on-shore data processing and archiving for the institution's multibeam bathymetry and acoustic intensity (sidescan) data. SEA BEAM related tasks include merging multibeam bathymetric and sidescan data with clean navigation, making archive plots, archiving digital and analog data records and adding index data to the database for on-line searches.

Navigation data are routinely logged by computer on R/V Roger Revelle The resident marine technicians encode and key-enter time, date and sample information for the Sample Index, an index containing time, position, sample type and disposition codes for all samples, records and measurements made on the expedition. These index data along with the logged navigation data are returned to shore on magnetic tape where the navigation data are edited and processed by GDC technicians to produce a smooth file of time and position for the leg. This navigation file is then merged with the Sample Index data to provide consistent positions for all samples and measurements. An on-line abstract is produced which permits track plots and searches by geographic area. A report is generated containing small scale track plots, profiles of bathymetry and other geophysical data and the Sample Index. This information is used for reporting requirements to the funding agencies and foreign governments as well as by scientists and for data archiving purposes.

The quantity and complexity of navigation and other computer logged data collected on R/V Roger Revelle require a minimum level of archiving and processing for data quality monitoring, institutional archiving and putting the data in forms available to users. The following services are provided by the ships' daily technical support rate: navigation editing and integration; production of cruise report and Sample Index; navigation plots and listings; record microfilming; archiving of records and magnetic tapes; generation of u/w merge and abstract files for future searches; and transmission of data to the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) when they are cleared for release.

Oceanographic Data Facility (ODF)

The Scripps Oceanographic Data Facility supports expeditions of SIO and other institutions' scientists with CTD, rosette, and bottle sampling (2-250 liter); measurements of salinity, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients; thermometry; calibration; and full data processing and merging services. ODF is unique among STS groups in that a significant portion of its activity is in support of investigations on non-SIO vessels. Hence ODF is in part an SIO facility (and wholly an SIO facility in a business sense), but also in part a de factonational facility.

ODF resources include a chemistry laboratory, an electronics shop, a CTD and deep sea reversing thermometer calibration laboratory, and a data processing and computer facility which supports both shipboard and shore-based processing, including real-time processing of CTD data. Electronics design work for many different applications is a routine activity. ODF has full access to the facilities of the Scripps laboratories and shops, including the Hydraulics Laboratory and the Scripps Marine Science Development Facility, where we have constructed numerous 12- 48-place rosette frames and sample bottles from 2 to 10 liter capacity.

Major pieces of equipment and equipment systems are:

  • 6 NBIS Mark III CTD's
  • 1 SeaBird 3400m CTD
  • Multiple rosette systems, from 6 to 36 sampling bottles
  • 185 1.7- to 30-liter sampling bottles
  • 2 SeaTech transmissometers
  • 1 SeaTech fluorometer
  • 8 260-liter SS Gerard barrels
  • 4 Sun sea-going data acquisition and processing systems with discs, tape systems, plotters, printers, software, ethernet
  • 2 shore-based data processing and archiving systems
  • 4 automated oxygen titration systems
  • 3 Technicon 4-channel nutrient analyzers for PO4, SiO3, NO2, NO3
  • 1 MOCNESS sampling system with single 1m square, double 1m square, and 10m square frames
  • Full ocean depth electronic package and spares
  • Shore-based laboratories, shop, and calibration facilities

While in transit it is usual for the ship to maintain an underway watch to collect bathymetry and other underway data that does not interfere with the main science program(s). The u/w watch is usually under the general direction of the resident technician who provides log forms, training, and a manual that details watchstanding procedures and conventions for data logging and record annotation. The head of GDC will contact the chief scientist at or before the cruise conference to work out details of data handling. The data center can also provide specialized bathymetric charts, data indexes, and other aids for cruise planning. Normally, the data are returned to the GDC as soon as possible after each cruise leg, where the records are indexed and microfilmed; navigation edited; digital depth and magnetics processed; and an informal inventory of cruise data and activities produced, usually within a month or two. A general multidisciplinary index of samples and data (SIO Sample Index) is also generated and distributed by GDC and the resident technicians.

The GDC Steering Committee, composed of geological staff, monitors the GDC operations and has formulated the following policies (1) u/w data collected on SIO vessels are the property of the institution and are checked out from GDC following microfilming, for on-campus use only, except where prior arrangements have been made, and (2) data are checked out with the understanding that ultimately all original records will be returned to GDC for permanent archiving. A chief scientist, whether or not from SIO, may place a two year proprietary hold restricting access to the data; otherwise the data are available to any SIO student or staff member during this period, following which copies of the data will be sent to the appropriate national data center. Exceptions to these procedures, especially those involving non-SIO chief scientists, should be cleared prior to the cruise with the GDC Steering Committee via the u/w curator, who can also provide a detailed policy statement.