Friday, May 31, 2019 – Transiting south of Monterey Bay, CA
PUPCYCLE Log: Day 08 – Halftime at PUPCYCLE 2019
The 2nd half of PUPCYCLE 2019 started with a new game plan as the R/V Oceanus altered navigation and charted a new course, heading south toward Monterey Bay, California. Although the California Upwelling Zone (CUZ) covers the extent of California’s coastline, active upwelling events do not tend to be synchronous throughout the region. An area along the northern coast might be experiencing an active upwelling event while a region along the central coast might be experiencing a relaxation phase where upwelling has subsided temporarily. This is the situation occurring on the PUPCYCLE 2019 cruise. The researchers integrate several different data sets to determine the best location for each incubation site. In addition to taking continuous water samples from the Underway System and periodic launches of the CTD for water profiles (see Day 07: Thursday, May 30: The Bubble Lab), the scientists also download updated satellite images showing sea surface temperature and fluorescence. Sea surface temperature (SST) data identifies areas where upwelling is occurring by displaying cooler SST near the coastline and warmer SST offshore from the coastline, indicating the displacement of warmer surface water by colder water from depth. (Figure #18 – Satellite Imagery)Fluorescence is an indicator of chlorophyll production and serves as a measure of ocean productivity. This also provides evidence of active or relaxed upwelling areas. Merging all of these data sets together allows the scientists to locate active upwelling or relaxation sites within the CUZ. Water samples of phytoplankton for Incubation Site #1 were collected earlier in the cruise along a broad shelf region of the CUZ and during a relaxation phase of upwelling. The second set of water samples are to be collected along a narrow shelf region of the CUZ that is also experiencing a relaxation phase of upwelling. The site originally chosen for Incubation Site #2 is currently experiencing an active upwelling event so the scientists have chosen to move southward based on updated satellite imagery indicating the region near Monterey Bay, known as Big Sur, is experiencing a relaxation phase of upwelling.
During this halftime break from deploying sampling equipment into the Pacific, the researchers are continuing to filter, prep, and store samples from Incubation Site #1 for phytoplankton-related measurements along with RNA sequencing after the cruise. The PUPCYCLE Log also continues in hopes that the information being shared here, and the supporting live feeds and images posted to the Science by the Sea® social media platform, provides you with a virtual experience of the 2-week cruise aboard the Research Vessel Oceanus. Today’s Challenge Question has been modified for our halftime intermission, so grab a bag of popcorn and check your current knowledge and understanding with this brief “Halftime Assessment”: