OOIFB Bio-Optics Sensor Summer School Happening Now

The OOIFB is hosting a 2023 summer school this week (July 17-21, 2023) at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis focusing on OOI optical attenuation and absorption data. A mix of advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career scientists have traveled to Oregon to participate in a hands-on learning experience about how to access, analyze, and interpret data from the Sea-Bird AC-S. Data from the AC-S is used to characterize the absorption and scattering of light in seawater, which provides information on phytoplankton biomass in the measured ocean region.

The workshop’s daily agenda is jam packed.  OSU Associate Professor and AC-S expert Andrew Barnard is leading the lecture portion of the workshop to ensure participants have a clear understanding of what the AC-S measures, how the instrument works, and how to interpret the collected data. Coastal Endurance Principal Investigator Ed Dever, who was instrumental in organizing the workshop, will also present an introduction to AC-S and related OOI measurements.

Each day participants are assigned data-related homework, so they can learn data analysis skills with the help of OOI data experts. OOI data experts Chris Wingard of the Coastal Endurance team and Wendi Ruef of the Regional Cabled Array are on hand all week to help participants work with the data.  Data expert Jennifer Batryn of the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes Team will be lending a hand virtually.

OOI uses the Sea-Bird AC-S as its spectrophotometer, referring to it as “OPTAA: optical attenuation and absorbance instrument.” The optical attenuation and absorption data provides information on the relative biomass of different phytoplankton size classes and phytoplankton functional types, estimates of biogeochemical proxies, and may be used to validate remote sensing measurements.  AC-S sensors are deployed on most of the OOI platforms, including coastal, cabled, and high latitude moorings and are a significant proportion of the overall sensors deployed.

Kendra Daly, OOIFB chair, who proposed the idea and helped execute the workshop said, “We thought what a great opportunity to gather OOI data experts, put them in the same room for a week with those wanting to use these data in their research, and watch the synergy happen! The experience is sure to have a multiplier effect. OOI data experts will benefit from the data users’ experience, while the data users will end up being OOI data experts themselves.”

To maximize the usefulness of the workshop, the workshop curriculum was made available online.