Section 5: Technical Services and Special Equipment

At Scripps, the Shipboard Technical Support (STS) group provides scientists with marine technical support.  STS also manages, maintains and provides shared-use scientific equipment for the Scripps research vessels. Levels of services and facilities depend on the mission, capabilities, and requirements of each cruise.  Oncoming scientists should discuss needs and expections during the planning phase of the project with the manager of STS (Lee Ellett, The specific capabilities and services of the groups within STS are as follows:

Basic Services:

Research Marine Technicians Group (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 Sally Ride 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.

Equipment maintained by Research Technicians:

giant gravity corer

rock glass corer


box corer

10’ mouth IKMT (Isaacs-Kidd mid-water trawl)

10’ Otter trawl

1 meter plankton net

1 meter neuston net

assorted dip nets

portable labs

isotope isolation

inflatable boats & motors

chest freezer

lab refrigerator

-80 freezer

bench crimpers

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

Computing Resources: 

During normal operations at sea, members of Computing Resources on R/V Sally Ride perform maintenance, improvements, repair, and calibration of scientific sonars and sensors, on the installed computer systems and the peripheral equipment attached to the computers. The various terminals, displays, and plotters are primarily in the main lab. They also perform the same functions on all scientific electronics and instrumentation interfaced to the computer systems. This includes such items as the CTD, gyrocompasses, meteorological sensors, underway water sampling systems, satellite navigation receivers, XBT, 3.5 kHz and 12 kHz echosounder systems, EM122 and EM712 multibeam, EK80 fish finder, and the 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 Computing Resources 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 systems themselves.  At the end of each science leg a USB disk drive of the data is made available to appropriate members of the scientific party.  Another copy is returned to San Diego for further data processing and permanent storage. On transit legs, this group has the sole responsibility for acquiring and archiving underway scientific data. This includes all the usual navigation, meteorological, bathymetry, currents, and sub-bottom echosounder data. 

While in transit, it is usual for the ship to maintain an underway watch to monitor the 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 technicians who provides training that details watch-standing procedures and conventions for data logging.


Rolling Deck to Repository

While in transit, it is usual for the ship to collect a suite of underway data that does not interfere with the main science program(s). The specific sensors will vary by vessel, but can include ADCP, CTD, expendable probe, fluoro/transmissometer, gravimeter, magnetometer, metstation, multibeam, pCO2, radar, singlebeam/subbottom and TSG.

A copy of the underway data collected on the cruise, called the cruise distribution, will be provided to the chief scientist as the cruise ends. A second copy of the cruise distribution will be transferred to the Rolling Deck to Repository Program (R2R; R2R works with the US academic research fleet community to routinely document, assess, and preserve the underway sensor data from oceanographic research vessels. This ensures the data are properly archived, and assists investigators in fulfilling agency reporting requirements. R2R also performs quality assessment and post-processing for certain data types. 

After the cruise, R2R will contact the chief scientist to request permission to release the underway cruise data (except for Navigations/operations data such as GNSS/INS, gyrocompass, speedlog, and winch, which are always released immediately). Data will be submitted to long-term public archives such as the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI:, and made available online at, with a Creative Commons 0 (CC0) statement. CC0 indicates the data are free of copyright restrictions and may be extracted, disseminated, and reused worldwide. R2R will not release data without the permission of the chief scientist; it is the responsibility of the chief scientist to know the data sharing expectations of their funding source. 

In the data release request email, R2R will provide a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for your cruise. This cruise DOI provides a persistent link to basic information about the cruise. Please include your cruise DOI when submitting data from this cruise to other data repositories to help promote the linking of your datasets to the originating cruise. We also suggest you site the cruise DOI in your report to your funding agency, and in publications. 

Chief Scientist Data Management Responsibilities

While R2R manages the underway sensor data from each cruise, it is the responsibility of the Chief Scientist and your co-PIs to ensure that other data acquired on your expedition as well as related derived data products are submitted to the appropriate data repository for your discipline. We recommend that you review the data policy of the organization funding your cruise to understand your full responsibilities and identify the repositories to use. The NSF Division of Ocean Sciences Sample and Data Policy is here: (this is updated periodically, so check to see if it is current) and a list of disciplinary repositories that are known to accept cruise-related data is here:

The Geological Data Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Geological Data Center is a partner in the collaborative R2R program, and manages the pre-R2R history of Scripps vessel data. Historic data can be searched through If you have data management or processing needs outside of what R2R provides, you can contact the GDC, which occasionally provides support services for a fee.

Specialized Services

Electronic Technicians:

The Shipboard Electronics Group consists of Electronic Technicians available for research cruises and shore-based support. It supports an electronics shop and a CTD laboratory, including maintenance of CTD, rosette, and bottle sampling (2-250 liter) infrastructure; thermometry; and calibration. Maintenance of underway systems such as TSG and Met are also performed by ETs.

Electronics design work for many different applications is a routine activity. Working with the Scripps Marine Science Development Facility, 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:

Sea-Bird 6,000m CTDs

Multiple rosette systems, from 6 to 36 sampling bottles

1.7- to 30-liter sampling bottles

C-Star transmissometers

Seapoint fluorometers

Seabird oxygen sensors

Rinko oxygen sensor

PAR sensors

MOCNESS sampling system with single 1m square square frames

Full ocean depth electronic package and spares

Oceanographic Data Facility (ODF):

The Scripps Oceanographic Data Facility supports expeditions of SIO and other institutions' scientists with measurements of salinity, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients; and full data processing and merging services. ODF is also available in support of investigations on non-SIO vessels.

ODF resources include a chemistry laboratory with the following at-sea and on-shore capabilities: 

Automated oxygen titration systems

AA3 4- or 5-channel nutrient analyzers for PO4, SiO3, NO2, NO3 (and NH4 upon request)

Salinometers for conductivity measurements

The data processing and computer facility supports both shipboard and shore-based processing, including: 

Real-time processing of CTD data

Shipboard website and data server

Data Quality Control

Shore-based data processing and archiving systems

Shipboard Geophysical Group (SGG):

The Shipboard Geophysical Group maintains a large and diversified pool of seismic reflection and refraction equipment.