Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Island Ferries Take on Role of Research Vessels Collecting Data about Nantucket Sound

31.08.2006
Ferries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role - research vessels.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Scott Gallager and colleagues have installed a package of sensors on the 235-foot freight ferry Katama to measure water quality and to photograph plankton as the ferry crisscrosses the western side of Nantucket Sound year-round, several times daily.

“Hitchhiking science on a ferry provides a terrific opportunity for us to better understand how water quality and ocean life change over time,” Gallager said. The measurements for the Nantucket Sound Ferry Scientific Environmental Monitoring System began in May.

With the interest and cooperation of the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, which operates the ferry service between Cape Cod and the islands, Gallager and colleagues developed a sensor package to measure water temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll, and water clarity, and take images of plankton living in the water column. Real-time data from the sensors travel over a wireless connection to Gallager’s shore-based lab, where he and WHOI colleagues Steve Lerner, Emily Miller, Andrew Girard, Andy Maffei, and collaborator Kevin Fall from Intel Corporation make them available to scientists and the public on the project Web site, http://4dgeo.whoi.edu/ferries.

The WHOI team will be installing another instrument package on the Steamship Authority ferry Eagle, which runs between Hyannis and Nantucket on the eastern side of Nantucket Sound. Their objective is to build up a detailed, continuous portrait of changing water conditions and plankton communities in Nantucket Sound over long time scales.

Nantucket Sound is a triangular area of coastal ocean between Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and is known for its changing water conditions and diverse marine life. The cold south-flowing Labrador Current nearby collides with warm water in the relatively shallow Nantucket Sound, creating a perpetual front just inside the eastern Sound. As water shifts with the wind and the tides, warm-water and cold-water species are thrust into the same space. Waters loaded with nutrients, from septic systems and runoff along the developed Cape Cod coastline, also mingle in the Sound with North Atlantic waters that have far fewer nutrients.

Gallager studies plankton, the tiny and abundant swimming animals that serve as food for coastal fish and marine mammals. The numbers and proportions of different plankton in coastal oceans change with the seasons and ocean conditions, and Gallager is interested in the processes and their time scales that control those changes.

The availability of plankton can make the difference between healthy and undernourished stocks of commercial finfish and shellfish. Storms, nutrient runoff from coastal development, and the warming of coastal ocean waters could drastically alter the types of plankton that flourish in Nantucket Sound, and therefore the quantity and quality of food for fish, marine mammals, and ultimately people.

“A long-term archive of how conditions change in Nantucket Sound could provide an early warning about the health and function of coastal regions important to our economy and our quality of life,” Gallager said.

The Nantucket Sound Ferry Scientific Environmental Monitoring System project is supported by the Woods Hole Sea Grant program.

Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.whoi.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>