[media-caption path="/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IMG_0034-scaled.jpeg" link="#"]The Pioneer 15 Team departs aboard the R/V Neil Armstrong, framed by equipment that awaits deployment on leg two. [/media-caption]

On October 28th, ten scientists and engineers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution departed aboard the R/V Neil Armstrong headed to the Pioneer Array, about 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in the Atlantic Ocean. This trip is the 15th time that a team has traveled to the Pioneer Array to recover and deploy equipment at the site.

The team will recover and deploy three coastal surface moorings and a profiler mooring, and deploy two winter coastal profiler moorings. They will also conduct CTD (Conductivity, temperature, and depth) casts and water sampling at the deployment and recovery sites.  In addition, the team will compare ship and buoy meteorological measurements at the surface mooring sites as a way to validate the mooring measurements.

“We’ve been isolating for 14 days, have successfully passed 2 COVID-19 tests, and are ready to go, “ said Sheri White, chief scientist for Pioneer 15.  “This is a two-leg expedition because we can’t fit all of the moorings on the deck for one trip to the array.  We plan to be in port on November 4th to swap out gear, but we can adjust our schedule accordingly. If bad weather picks up, we can head back to port early to collect the equipment for leg two and not lose valuable time at sea when we can’t work due to weather.” The ship is expected to return from leg two on 11 November.

The surface moorings being recovered have been deployed for one year – six months longer than intended, due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and so are starting to experience some wear and tear.  The new moorings being deployed incorporate design updates intended to improve the robustness of components such as the wind turbines and stretch hoses.  The team  also will be deploying a prototype quad transducer for the ZPLSC instrument.  The ZPLSC is a bio-acoustic sonar which measures acoustic signals of plankton and zooplankton at the OOI Coastal Arrays.  It has transducers that emit at frequencies of 38, 125, 200 and 400 kHz (the latter three are all from a single quad-transducer). The new quad transducer design should lead to less failures and improved data collection for that instrument.

In addition to performing OOI tasks, the team will be conducting ancillary work to support the Northeast Shelf Long Term Ecological Research (NES-LTER) program.  This will include CTD casts, and sampling from the ship’s underway seawater system with an Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) instrument.

The members of the scientific party include:

Sheri White, WHOI, Chief Scientist

Chris Basque, WHOI, Deck Lead

Jennifer Batryn, WHOI, Instrument Lead

Collin Dobson, WHOI, Surface Mooring Lead

Meghan Donohue, WHOI, Deck Ops

Eric Hutt, UNOLS, Deck Ops

John Lund, WHOI, Profiler Mooring Lead

Josh Mitchell, UNOLS, Deck Ops

Rebecca Travis, WHOI, Documentation Lead

Dave Wellwood, WHOI, Water Sampling

 

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The Zoom screen was full as 40 people participated in the third of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) Data Science Summer Series on 4 August 2020.  Research Programmer Dr. Sage Lichtenwalner, of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, who helped design and implement the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Ocean Data Labs, presented.

Lichtenwalner gave an overview of the many resources available through the Ocean Data Labs project, which is developing, testing, refining, and disseminating easy-to-use, interactive Data Explorations and Data Lab Notebooks for use in the classroom. Entertaining and information, the hour-long presentation flew by as Lichtenwalner presented tricks and tips to downloading OOI data, how to use OOI data in python and other computing platforms such as the Google Colab interface, and ended with a demonstration visualization of OOI data collected by its Pioneer Array. The complete webinar can be viewed here.

Dr. Stace Beaulieu, a senior research specialist in Biology and coordinator of WHOI’s Ocean Informatics Working Group, planned and hosted the session.

 

 

 

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The OOI’s primary mission is to make its data widely available to multiple users.  One way it achieves this, on a broad scale, is by establishing partnerships with other organizations that also distribute ocean observing data. For example, OOI currently partners with the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), which provides integrated ocean information in near real-time  and tools and forecasts to apply the data, the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), which maintains a network of data collecting buoys and coastal stations as part of the National Weather Service, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), which uses international data to document the status and progress of ocean acidification, and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of over 120 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data.

NANOOS: Making data relevant for decision-making

NANOOS, the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, which is part of IOOS, has been operational since 2003, establishing trusting, collaborative relationships with those who use and collect ocean data in the Pacific Northwest. NANOOS has been an exemplary partner in ingesting and using OOI data. Part of its success lies in advance planning. NANOOS, for example, had determined that  OOI assets, in addition to achieving the scientific goals for which they were designed, could fill a data void in IOOS assets running north and south in an area between La Push, WA, and the Columbia River, well before the OOI assets came online.

[media-caption type="image" class="external" path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-22-at-2.25.24-PM.png" alt="Endurance Array" link="#"]OOI’s Coastal Endurance Array provides data from the north and south in an important upwelling area in the northeastern Pacific. Gliders also traverse this region, with glider data available through both the IOOS Glider Data Assembly Center and the NANOOS Visualization System. Credit: Center for Environmental Visualization, University of Washington.[/media-caption]

According to Jan Newton, NANOOS executive director at the University of Washington, “One of the reasons NANOOS is so effective is that our guiding principle is to be cooperative and not compete. If the public is looking for coastal data, for example, we want to make sure they can access it and use it, rather than having them trying to sort through whether it is a product of IOOS or OOI.  We operate with the philosophy of maximizing the discoverability and service of the data and OOI has been a great partner in our mission.  We’ve been really happy about how this partnership has played out.”

[media-caption type="image" class="external" path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Regional-Cable-Array-revised-.jpg" alt="Revised RCA" link="#"]OOI’s Regional Cabled Array also contributes data in the NANOOS region from its Slope Base and the Southern Hydrate Ridge nodes. Credit: Center for Environmental Visualization, University of Washington.[/media-caption]

NANOOS has made a huge effort on its data visualization capabilities, so people can not only find data, but look at it in a relative way to use it for forecasting, modeling, and solving real-world problems. OOI data are integral in helping support some of these visualization and modeling efforts, which commonly play a role in situations facing a wide cross-section of society.

An example of this applicability played out in improved understanding of hypoxia (oxygen-deficient conditions) off the coast of Oregon, which had resulted in mass mortality events of hypoxia-intolerant species of invertebrates and fish, in particular, Dungeness crabs. Allowing access through NANOOS to near real-time oxygen data from OOI assets has allowed the managers and fishers to come up with some plausible solutions to maintaining this valuable resource. The Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery on the U.S. West Coast, with landed values up to $250 million per year, and plays an enormous cultural role in the lives of tribal communities in the region, as well.

[media-caption type="image" class="external" path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Dungeness-Crab.jpg" alt="Dungeness Crab" link="#"]OOI oxygen data have helped resource managers and fishers maintain the valuable Dungeness crab fishery, which is the most valuable single-species fishery on the U.S. West Coast.[/media-caption]

Researcher Samantha Siedlecki, University of Connecticut, reports that in late June of 2018, for example, fishers in the region were pulling up dead crabs in pots without knowing the cause. Scientists accessed near real-time OOI observations through the NANOOS data portal and found that the Washington Inshore Surface Mooring of the Coastal Endurance Array (EA) had measured hypoxia from June 7th onwards. So, the data confirmed real-life conditions and explained the crab mortalities.

This is important because such occurrences are helping to confirm models and enhance forecasting to better manage these events by providing guidance to fishers and resource managers. In this instance, the forecast indicates what regions will likely require reduced time for crabs to remain “soaking,” caged in the environment during hypoxia events, to ensure crabs are captured alive, and also aid in spatial management of the fishery itself. OOI data will play a role in continual improvements in forecasting in this region and the fishery by providing data during winter months, ensuring historical data are available and quality controlled for use in forecasting, and continuing to serve data in near real-time.

Adds Newton, “I can’t tell you how many OOI and other PIs come up and tell me how they love that their data are having a connection to real world problems and solutions.  It makes their research go farther with greater impact by being part of this NANOOS network.”

Explains Craig Risien, Coastal Endurance Array senior technician at Oregon State University, “OOI is collecting an incredible wealth of data, offering a treasure chest of material to write papers, write proposals, include in posters, and now it is being used in practical ways for finding scientific solutions to environmental problems. Every time we look at the data, there’s a new story to tell. We always find something new, something interesting, and encourage everyone to have a look and experience the same usefulness and excitement about OOI data.”

Sharing OOI data

The OOI is in talks with the IOOS regions serving the Northeast Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic to see how OOI data might enhance their networks, as well.  The OOI also has been providing data to the National Data Buoy Center since 2016, supplementing the data collected by NDBC’s 90 buoys and 60 Coastal Marine Automated Network stations, which collectively provide critical data on unfolding weather conditions. And, the OOI has been providing data to Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), since mid-2019, ground-truthing on site conditions in real to near real-time, which is critical to understanding conditions contributing to ocean acidification and improving modeling capabilities to determine when it might occur. OOI’s Regional Cabled Array has been providing seismological, pressure and hydrophone data to Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) since 2014, providing a wealth of data from Axial Seamount and on the Cascadia Margin. For example, on April 24, 2015 a seismic crisis initiated at the summit of Axial Seamount with >8,000 earthquakes occurring in 24 hrs, marking the start of the eruption. Starting at 08:01 that same day, the network recorded ~ 37,000 impulsive events delineating underwater explosions, many of which were associated with the formation of a 127 meter thick lava flow on the northern rift.

Data examples

If you would like to test drive some of the OOI data in NANOOS, NDBC, and GOA-ON, here are some examples below:

IOOS

·      OOI data in the NANOOS Visualization System (NVS)

·      OOI glider data in NVS

·      OOI data in IOOS glider DAC

NDBC

·      Coastal Endurance Array data (Stations 46097, 46098, 46099, 46100)

·      Coastal Pioneer Array data  (Stations 44075, 44076, 44077)

·      Global Irminger Array data (Station 44078)

GOA-ON

·      Coastal Endurance Array data

IRIS

·      Regional Cabled Array (While searching within IRIS for OOI data, use the two-letter IRIS network designator “OO.”)

 

 

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Two entrepreneurs and two engineers recently teamed up to develop a wave-based energy generator with the potential of powering the Pioneer Array, while also providing energy to a new, longer lasting, and potentially more effective way to keep the array’s sensors free and clear.

The Department of Energy thought the idea had such potential that it awarded the team a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant that will allow them to develop a proof of concept of this system by late March 2021.

The development team consists of grant Co-Investigator Matt Palanza, program engineer for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Megan Carroll, a research engineer at WHOI and expert in the dynamics of moored systems, and Principle Investigator Julie Fouquet and Co-Investigator Milan Minsky, principals of 3newable, LLC, a firm dedicated to the development of small-scale wave energy converters.  Fouquet started by developing and testing wave energy converter concepts on land, to choose an efficient, low-cost and flexible approach.  Minsky brings to the team extensive experience in developing first-generation ultraviolet LEDs for medical and industrial applications that she will put to good use in designing a system to tackle serious biofouling conditions that plague all equipment put into the ocean for extended periods.

“The concept of harnessing wave energy at the Pioneer Array, then powering an ultraviolet LED anti-fouling light, which could possibly keep the array functioning much longer, would be a win-win. If this combination is proven here, it could have widespread application in oceanographic research and aquaculture applications, with tremendous potential for cost savings,” said Palanza.

Striving for Good Environmental Outcomes

Julie Fouquet founded 3newable LLC in 2015 with the goal of capturing electrical power from water waves as a source of renewable power. Previously, companies wanting to commercialize wave energy generation had failed while attempting to build utility scale systems, which were extremely costly. Years of experience in the semiconductor industry taught Fouquet that product development requires multiple design-build-test-redesign cycles. Companies developing utility-scale systems ran out of money before reaching a viable product. She chose to focus her efforts on developing an efficient and cost-effective small-scale wave energy converter that could fit into the back of an SUV and on a runabout boat.

Having worked together for decades, she and Minsky – now vice president of product at 3newable – teamed up to find out what sort of applications in the oceanographic community could use a small-scale wave energy converter.

After many meetings, they concluded that the Pioneer Array buoys would be a good testing ground. Palanza agreed and the team set out to write a proposal that would capitalize on their collective talents to provide a potential real-world application of wave energy and anti-biofouling technology.

The Pioneer Array buoys are already powered by wind and solar, but the wave energy converter offers a way to keep the sensors clear and recording for longer time periods using UV LED lights, possibly extending trip intervals needed to service the arrays.

Like most things in spring 2020, COVID caused delays in the launch of this project. DOE announced the award in May, but the actual award was delayed until early August, which potentially squeezes the March deadline for producing the feasibility study.  From there, the team hopes to move forward to Phase 2, which would involve construction of both the wave energy conversion and UV anti-fouling prototypes and testing in the field.

“We are already working in a distributed way with processes in place so COVID hasn’t impacted our progress in analyzing data and developing lab tests,“ said Minsky. “But the interesting thing about the pandemic is that it has really propelled the UV LED field along as people explore its potential medical uses. Prices are dropping and quality is going up so we will be able to take advantage of these advances as we go about commercializing this module.”

During Phase 1, the team will be striving to answer the following questions:

·      How much power is needed to run UV anti-biofouling equipment at the array?

·      Can enough power be generated to meet the demand?

·      How big of a wave energy converter unit will be needed?

·      What are the unit size limitations if attached to the array?

“We all are excited to get this project launched. There’s a real need for improved anti-biofouling technology, and with the emergence of UV LEDs powered by waves onsite, it’s a sound solution with a potentially positive environmental impact, “added Palanza.

 

 

 

 

 

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[caption id="attachment_16401" align="alignleft" width="300"] Biofouling is a real challenge to keeping equipment deployed in the ocean free functioning properly to deliver data to shore. The addition of UV light is helping to keep the oxygen optode sensors clear and recording data. Photo: Jon Fram, Oregon State University.[/caption]

 

Biofouling is a hazard of keeping equipment in the ocean for long periods of time, particularly when it is near the surface where photosynthesis occurs.  For OOI’s arrays that remain in the water for six months or longer, this is a pressing issue because of the need to ensure sensors can continue to collect and transmit data back to shore. The OOI scientists and engineers are always investigating ways to keep biofouling at bay.  They recently worked with Aanderaa, which provides OOI’s oxygen optode sensors, to implement a solution to keep oxygen sensors free of biofouling by installing ultra-violet (UV) lights that periodically shine on the instruments’ sensing foil.

As early as 2016, a team of OOI engineers and technicians from Oregon State University, the University of Washington, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution began to tackle some of problems with the instruments selected by OOI and to improve the quality of instrument measurements. In October of 2016 AML Oceanographic showed OOI’s instrument group data from Ocean Networks Canada of a UV light used to mitigate biofouling on Aanderaa’s oxygen optodes. The following October, OOI deployed a side-by-side test of two oxygen optodes (one with a UV light pointed at it) at seven meters depth on the Oregon Shelf Surface Mooring. Data from the two sensors tracked each other for six weeks, and then the unprotected sensor fouled. Within weeks, there were daily afternoon spikes of up to twice the oxygen level of the protected sensor, with slightly lower measurements than the unprotected sensor at night due to respiration of the biofilm. The team found that the biofouling signal wasn’t always as dramatic, nor did it always develop in the same period of time after deployment.  Physics has a hand in this, too.  Sometimes the fouling signal disappeared after a storm cleaned off the sensor.

In summer 2018, OOI started deploying UV-protected oxygen optodes mounted shallower than 70 meters on Surface Moorings. By mid-209, once some initial hardware and deployment issues were resolved, OOI expanded deployment of UV-antifouling from moored dissolved oxygen sensors, to the dissolved oxygen sensors on the Coastal Surface Piercing Profilers, and then to uncabled digital still cameras moored at less than 70 meters depth.

Following the success of the UV-light test on dissolved oxygen sensors, UV antifouling was tested on a moored Pioneer Array spectral irradiance (SPKIR) sensor in 2018.  Here too, the testing conducted with WET Labs, the SPKIR vendor, confirmed that the UV light did not damage the instrument’s optics. As a result, in 2019, all subsurface OOI spectral irradiance sensors on Surface Moorings were outfitted with UV-antifouling mitigation, as well as the Coastal Surface Piercing Profilers and uncabled digital still cameras moored at less than 70 meters. The team has adjusted the cycle of the UV lights so that they prevent biofouling without damaging the sensors, interfering with measurements, or utilizing too much power.

“While the solution appears simple, it was a long journey to find the right mix of equipment and duration of use to resolve the issue of biofouling for each sensor at each location, “explained Jonathan Fram, project manager for the Coastal Endurance Array at Oregon State University.  “An ongoing challenge is the intermittency of biofouling and the many forms it can take, which can make it difficult to properly diagnose the problem.  Usually biofouling is a slimy film, but sometimes it can be a barnacle or another large creature.”

“The use of UV-lights for biofouling mitigation, although well-known, cannot often be used due to the power required,“ added Sheri White, senior engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who was instrumental in moving this solution forward on the Pioneer Array. “We have the advantage of generating our own power, so that we are able to implement it on a number of optical instruments on our Surface Moorings.”

OOI continues to measure the impact of the UV light on biofouling.  While the results are clear that the UV lights increase measurement reliability and accuracy, the team is still trying to gauge the extent of the improvements. Data are annotated to indicate when UV-antifouling was used for each instrument deployment.

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The R/V Neil Armstrong returned to its home port in Woods Hole, MA, on 16 June 2020, having completed a successful 10-day mission to service the Pioneer Array, 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Its crew and nine-member science party from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution proved that it is possible to work onboard while adhering to strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The expedition was the first science mission to have departed Woods Hole, MA following a “pause” in research expeditions imposed in March by UNOLS (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System). UNOLS coordinates the U.S. academic research fleet ship schedules and has established guidelines for COVID prevention and mitigation aboard these ships.

“The preparation was arduous and comprehensive” said Al Plueddemann, Chief Scientist for the Pioneer Array expedition. “That preparation paid off with a cruise that completed everything we set out to do.” Plueddemann led the scientific team in a partial “turn” of the moored array, which means that equipment that had been deployed was recovered for refurbishment, and replaced with equipment that could undergo the rigors of being at sea, collecting, and recording data for the next six months.  Over the 10 days, the team deployed five Coastal Profiler Moorings (CPMs) and recovered seven CPMs. In addition to the mooring turns, the expedition included many CTD casts (measuring Conductivity, Temperature and Depth) in the vicinity of the Pioneer Array, and the collection of shipboard meteorological and oceanographic data, both while on station next to the moorings, and while underway along specific track lines.

On top of what would be accomplished under normal operating conditions, the team was able to provide data in real-time to scientists who would normally be onboard, but whose participation was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Through an innovative use of data telemetry from the ship, WHOI’s Shipboard Scientific Services Group made it possible for members of the Northeast U.S. Shelf Long-Term Ecological Research (NES-LTER) team to receive data and images of phytoplankton and microzooplankton in near-real-time along the cruise track. The data were collected by Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCBs), which provide long term, high-resolution measurements of phytoplankton abundance and their cell properties.

“Our ability to conduct a near-normal cruise in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the commitment to preparation from UNOLS and WHOI, and a reflection of the strong team within OOI and on the Armstrong” said Plueddemann. “We were all excited to get back to sea”.

The following is a collection of images from this successful mission.

After 14 days of quarantine, a nine-person science team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution boarded the R/V Neil Armstrong on 5 June 2020 to prepare for a 10-day expedition to service the Pioneer Array, 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in the Atlantic Ocean.The expedition was the first science mission to depart Woods Hole, MA, with new COVID-19 precautions in place. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rebecca Travis


Chief Scientist of the Pioneer 14 Expedition, Al Pluedemann, models the uniform de rigueur —mandatory mask-wearing for the duration of the 10-day cruise. It was one of many stringent precautions taken to address the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Darlene Trew Crist

WHOI technicians (from left) Dan Bogorff, Nico Llanos, Chris Basque and Eric Hutt work to ensure that all equipment is in place as they prepare to head to the Pioneer Array. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rebecca Travis

WHOI technician Chris Basque (far left) runs the deck while Bos’n Pete Liarikos and WHOI technician Nico Llanos (behind the buoy) assist in deploying the OSPM profiling mooring at Pioneer Array. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rebecca Travis


While this may look like Snuffleupagus on the back deck of the R/V Neil Armstrong, it is actually a profiler buoyancy sphere recovered on the Pioneer 14 cruise. The sphere is covered with marine growth after spending eight months in the water. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rebecca Travis

The Northeast U.S. Shelf Long-Term Ecological Research (NES-LTER) team, whose members would have been onboard under normal circumstances, remained onshore due to COVID-19 restrictions. But through an innovative use of data telemetry, Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Shipboard Scientific Services Group made it possible for the NES-LTER team to receive data and images of phytoplankton and microzooplankton in near-real-time along the cruise track. Photo: NES-LTER


One of the rewards of working at sea is the peacefulness and beauty at the end of a long day aboard the R/V Neil Armstrong. Here the Pioneer 14 team got its just rewards as they lowered a CTD rosette frame into the Atlantic at sunset. Photo: © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,  Rebecca Travis

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Given the significant importance of understanding and modeling levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere (and its potential sources and sinks), Ocean-Atmosphere Exchange and Global Biogeochemistry and Carbon Cycling are two of the OOI’s primary science themes. We address these themes in part through measurements of the air and surface water partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2).  Chris Wingard, the OOI Endurance Array Data Lead, recently completed an in-depth assessment of pCO2 data returned during the first four years of Endurance Array operations. These measurements were made using the Pro-Oceanus CO2-ProTM Atmosphere pCO2 sensor. By measuring the partial pressure of CO2 gas in both the air and surface water, researchers can estimate estimate surface flux of CO2 using data from this instrument. 

Wingard developed a protocol based on cross-comparisons of overlapping deployments of this sensor, comparing these with independent shipboard pCO2 measurements (including CTD samples and samples taken underway using flow-thru systems), and externally sourced air and surface water pCO2 measurements (e.g. from the LDEO Underway Database).  This array of sampling techniques served to confirm the quality and scientific applicability of the Endurance Array pCO2 measurements.

He reported the results of this assessment at a poster session at the recent Ocean Sciences 2020 meeting held this past February in San Diego, CA. The protocol is largely applicable to the same suite of measurements made using the Pro-Oceanus sensor on moorings deployed in the OOI Pioneer, Irminger Sea, Southern Ocean, and Argentine Basin Global Arrays. The MATLAB code and data used to download, process, merge, and cross-compare the data used in this assessment are available online for use.

Both the air and surface water measurements and the flux estimates used in this assessment are available through the OOI Data Portal. Endurance Array air and surface water pCO2 measurements are made at four locations distributed across the Oregon and Washington shelf and slope within the northern California Current Marine Ecosystem.

Other sources of Endurance Array-specific data include the most recent 60 days of the Endurance Array’s air and surface water pCO2 data are available on the NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) and the Global Ocean Acidification Observing System Data Portal (GOA-ON).

Figure 1: Surface water () and air pCO2 (, observed and , array average) measurements from 2015-04-01 through 2019-12-31 for the four moorings. The plots also show the distribution of discrete sample (*) and LDEO V2018 (O) data that coincide with each mooring. The data plotted have had human-in-the-loop (HITL) QC flags applied to remove points marked as suspect or failed. Beyond smoothing the data records and the estimation of an array averaged air pCO2 (), no further corrections were applied to the data. Note the high degree of variability during the summer months in the surface water pCO2 measurements for CE02SHSM, which are similar to other observations made on the Oregon Shelf (Evans et al., 2011).

Figure 2: Focused view (upper panel) of the Spring 2017 deployment (#5) of CE02SHSM showing the observed offsets between the surface water pCO2 measurements () and the discrete samples (*) and LDEO V2018 (O). Detailed views in the lower two panels, provide a better picture of the observed offsets during the periods of over-lapping deployments; between deployments 4 and 5 (lower left) and deployments 5 and 6 (lower right). Prior to using the OOI pCO2A data, users are strongly encouraged to conduct such cross-comparisons. The independent measurements obtained by the separate systems, and the close agreement between them, provide measures of confidence in the accuracy and applicability of the data.

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The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), which coordinates oceanographic ships’ schedules, recommended on 17 March 2020 that cruise activities be paused for 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 30 March UNOLS extended its guidance to suspend research cruises to July 1 2020. This action is designed to protect the health and safety of the crews and scientific parties.

The planned spring operation and maintenance (O&M) cruise to the Endurance Array in March was affected by the original 30-day guidance. The upcoming O&M cruises for the Pioneer, Irminger, and Papa Arrays aboard R/V Neil Armstrong and R/V Sikuliaq are impacted by this latest guidance.

The OOI is working with UNOLS and ship operators to find potential opportunities to complete the scheduled cruises and conduct needed maintenance on the arrays.  In the meantime, there’s been no interruption in OOI data. OOI data continue to be collected and made available for use by the scientific and educational communities.

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“Just like lightning,” in one-minute presentations, 15 scientists shared amazing ways they are using OOI data in scientific investigations and in the classroom. This round of lightning talks capped the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facility Board’s (OOIFB) Town Hall at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting on 20 February, demonstrating the multiple and creative ways OOI data are being used to answer key science questions in a changing environment.

The presentations ranged from how students are using real-life and real-time OOI data to advance their understanding of scientific principles to how researchers are using OOI data to identify the presence of marine life by sound to how modelers are making OOI data more accessible and useable.

“We were simply thrilled by the depth, breadth, and range of applications of OOI data shown during this lightning round,” Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB.  “We were pleased so many presenters were willing to accept the challenge. This enthusiastic response clearly shows that OOI data are being used to help answer important science questions.”

Brief summaries of the talks are presented below.

Advancing science

Isabela Le Bras, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, reported on a recent article in Geophysical Research Letters, where she and her colleagues describe how they used data from the Irminger Sea Array moorings (2014–2016) to identify two water masses formed by convection and showing that they have different rates of export in the western boundary current. Upper Irminger Sea Intermediate Water appears to form near the boundary current and is exported rapidly within three months of its formation. Deep Irminger Sea Intermediate Water forms in the basin interior and is exported on longer time scales. The subduction of these waters into the boundary current is consistent with an eddy transport mechanism. The eddy transport process is more effective for the waters cooled near the boundary current, implying that cooling near boundary currents may be more important for the climate than has been appreciated to date.

Since 2017, Clare Reimers and Kristen Fogaren, Oregon State University, have been working to assess seasonal variability in benthic oxygen consumption and the contribution of benthic respiration to the development of hypoxic conditions in the northern California Current, using time series data from the OOI Endurance Array. Reimers and Fogaren measured benthic oxygen consumption rates using in situ eddy covariation techniques and ex situ core incubations, during a series of ten cruises that allowed sampling near the Endurance Oregon Shelf and Inshore stations, in all seasons. During these cruises, the researchers used real-time data provided by the Endurance Array to optimize the settings for their eddy covariance deployments. They are now examining property-relationships in discrete bottom water samples collected during the cruises and using data from OOI assets to help separate influences of mixing and biochemical processes in the water column and sediments. The researchers are also synthesizing benthic flux measurements and placing these rates in the context of cross-shelf glider measurements and benthic node time series.

Adrienne Silver, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth provided details about how she is using Pioneer Array data to learn more about the influence of warm core rings on Shelf break circulation.  Results from a 40-year Warm Core Ring census show a regime shift in warm core ring formation at 2000, with the number of rings doubling from an average of 18 rings per year (during 1980-1999) to 33 rings per year (during 2000-2019). This regime shift creates a large increase in the amount of warm salty water being transported northward toward the shelf from the Gulf Stream. The preferred pathway of these rings, or the Ring Corridor seem to indicate their proximity to the shelf break and the Pioneer array during their lifetime. The goal of Silver’s project is to understand how these warm core rings affect the shelf break exchange while traveling along the shelf. A large focus of the study will be on the salinity intrusion events which might be sourced from these warm core rings.

Liz Ferguson, CEO and founder of Ocean Science Analytics, is using data from OOI’s Coastal Endurance and Regional Cabled Arrays to determine the variables that are most useful for assessing the ecosystem of this region and obtaining baseline information on marine mammal acoustic presence for use in monitoring.   Using long term physical and biological data provided by these arrays, Ferguson is assessing long-standing shifts in the ecology of this coastal and offshore environment by associating physical oceanographic variables with the vocal presence of marine mammals using the broadband hydrophone data. Temporal changes in the occurrence of marine mammal species such as killer whales, sperm whales and dolphins can be used as an indicator of ecosystem shifts over time. She is analyzing passive acoustic data provided by the OOI arrays to determine the presence of vocally active marine mammal species, identify their spatial and temporal use of these sites, and combining this information with the physical oceanographic variables to assess the ecological characteristics associated with marine mammal occurrence.

Sam Urmy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) also is using OOI acoustical data in his research.  Using an upward-looking echosounder and a high-frequency hydrophone at MBARI’s Monterey Accelerated Research System, Urmy showed how small animals in the epipelagic and mesopelagic altered their behavior in response to predators.  These responses included abrupt dives during bouts of foraging by dolphins, changes in depth to avoid predatory fish schools, and dramatic alterations to daily vertical migratory behavior. Continual observations of the mesopelagic with active and passive acoustics are revealing several dynamic predator-prey interactions in an ecosystem that is typically thought of as relatively slow and static.

Veronica Tamsitt of the University of New South Wales used the OOI’s Southern Ocean mooring and the Southern Ocean Flux Site (SOFS, in the Southeast Indian) to study the Sub Antarctic Mode water (SAMW) formation. Tamsitt’s and her colleagues findings were reported in the Journal of Climate in March 2020. Using data from the two mooring locations, the researchers were able to compare and contrast characteristics and variability of air-sea heat fluxes, mixed-layer depths, and SAMW formation. The researchers found that inter mixed-layer depth anomalies tended to be intermittent at the two moorings, where anomalously deep mixed layers were associated with anomalous advection of cold air from the south, and conversely shallow mixed layers correspond to warm air from the north. Both the winter heat flux and mixed-layer depth anomalies, however, showed a complex spatial pattern, with both positive and negative anomalies in both the Indian and Pacific basins that Tasmitt and colleagues relate to the leading modes of climate variability in the Southern Ocean.

Editor’s note: The Southern Ocean Array was decommissioned in January 2020.  Its data, however, are still available for use by researchers, students, and the public.

Bringing OOI data into the classroom

Sage Lichtenwalner, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey reported on the progress of the Ocean Data Labs Project. This project is a Rutgers-led effort to build a “Community of Practice” to tap into the firehose of OOI ocean data to support undergraduate education. To date, the project has hosted four “development” workshops that introduced participants to the OOI, conducted data processing with Python notebooks, and shared effective teaching strategies, in addition to a series of introductory workshops and webinars.  As part of the development workshops, 56 university, college, and community college faculty designed 19 new “Data Explorations,” featuring web-based interactive “widgets” that allow students to interact with pre-selected data from the OOI. The project also sponsors a series of webinars, a fellowship program, and is compiling a library of resources (including coding notebooks, datasets, and case studies in teaching) to help the community.

Cheryl Greengrove, University of Washington Tacoma, summarized an article in the March issue of Oceanography that she and colleagues from across the United States wrote detailing ways to integrate OOI data into the undergraduate curriculum. The wealth of freely-accessible data provided by OOI platforms, many of which can be viewed in real or near-real time, provides an opportunity to bring these authentic data into undergraduate classrooms. The TOS article highlights existing educational resources derived from OOI data that are ready for other educators to incorporate into their own classrooms, as well as presents opportunities for new resources to be developed by the community. Examples of undergraduate introductory oceanography OOI data-based lessons using existing interactive online data widgets with curated OOI data on primary productivity, salinity, and tectonics and seamounts are presented, as well as ways to use OOI data to engage students in undergraduate research. The authors provide a synthesis of existing tools and resources as a practical how-to guide to support new resource development and invite other educators to develop and implement new educational resources based on OOI data.

Matthew Iacchei, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, presented how he has been integrating OOI data explorations to supplement his upper division oceanography lecture and labs with real data from around the world. Last semester, he had students explore patterns of dissolved oxygen and impacts of anoxia at the coastal endurance array in Oregon and compare that data to dissolved oxygen data the students collected in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi. This semester, students are working through two exercises with OOI data as part of their primary productivity lab (perfect, as it is now online!). Students will compare vertical profiles from Hawaiʻi with seasonal variations across the world, and will compare latitudinal drivers of primary production using data from a time-series from the Southern Ocean Array.

Strengthening OOI data usability

Wu-Jung Lee, a senior oceanographer at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, is using data collected by the OOI to develop new methodologies for analyzing long-term ocean sonar time series. In a project funded by the National Science Foundation, she and her colleagues show that unsupervised matrix decomposition techniques are effective in discovering dominant patterns from large volumes of data, which can be used to describe changes in the sonar observation. Their preliminary analysis also show that the summaries provided by these methods facilitate direct comparison and interpretation with other ocean environmental parameters concurrently recorded by the OOI. A parallel effort that spun out of this project is an open-source software package echopype, which was created to enable interoperable and scalable processing of biological information from ocean sonar data.

As part of the Rutgers Ocean Modeling Group, in conjunction with University of California Santa Cruz, John Wilkin and Elias Hunter are delivering a high-resolution data assimilative ocean model analysis of the environs of the Pioneer Coastal Array, including a systematic evaluation of the information content of different elements of the observing network. The project uses the Regional Ocean Modeling System with 4-Dimensional Variational data assimilation. To produce a comprehensive multi-year (2014-2018) analysis required them to assimilate all available Pioneer CTD data, with quality checks, in a rolling sequence of data assimilation analysis intervals. They used three days of data in each analysis, which required queries to with a time range constraint and relevant platform (i.e. glider, profiler, fixed sensor), migrating  all Pioneer CTD data (wire following profilers, gliders, fixed sensors, plus ADCP velocity) to an ERDDAP server. The simple graphing capabilities in ERDDAP allow quick browsing of the data to trace quality control or availability issues, and ERDDAP provides a robust back-end to other web services to create more sophisticated graphical views, or time series analysis. Using the ERDDAP Slide Sorter tool, they operate a quick look Control Panel to monitor the data availability and quality.

Mitchell Scott and colleagues Aaron Marburg and Bhuvan Malladihalli Shashidhara at the University of Washington, are studying how to segment macrofauna from the background environment using OOI data from the Regional Cabled Axial Seamount Array. Their long-term goal is to use an automated approach to study species variation over time, and against other environmental factors. Their initial step focuses specifically on scale worms, which are very camouflaged, making them difficult to detect. To address this, the researchers initially used a deep learning model, called U-Net, to detect and localize the scale worm locations within an image. To address the high rate of false positives using this model, they added an additional classifier (a VGG-16 model) to verify the presence of scaleworms.  This combined, applied approach proved feasible for scale worm detection and localization. Yet because the environment of the Axial Seamount is so dynamic due to the growth and decay of chimneys at the site and resulting changes in bacteria and macrofauna present, they found the performance of the model decreased over time.

Weifeng (Gordon) Zhang of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been using Pioneer Array data to understand the physical processes occurring at the Mid-Atlantic Bight shelf break, including the intrusion of Gulf Stream warm-core ring water onto the shelf and the ring-induced subduction of the biologically productive shelf water into the slope sea. His findings were reported in a Geophysical Research Letters paper where data from the Pioneer Array moorings and gliders demonstrated the anomalous intrusion of the warm and salty ring water onto the shelf and revealed the subsurface structure of the intrusion. Zhang also shared findings reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans where data from the Pioneer Array showed a distinct pattern of relatively cold and fresh shelf water going underneath the intruding ring water. These results show the subduction of the shelf water into the slope sea and a pathway of shelf water exiting the shelf. In both instances, Zhang and his colleagues used computer modeling to study the dynamics of these water masses. These two studies together suggest that shelf break processes are complex and require more studies in the region.

Hilary Palevsky of Boston College presented results from an ongoing project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Chemical Oceanography program, using biogeochemical data from the OOI Irminger Sea Array. Analysis of dissolved oxygen data on OOI Irminger Sea gliders and moorings from 2014-2016 showed the importance of biogeochemical data collected over the full seasonal cycle and throughout the entire water column, due to the influence of subsurface respiration and deep winter convection on biological carbon sequestration. The OOI Irminger Sea array is the first source of such full-depth year-round data in the subpolar North Atlantic. To quantitatively evaluate the annual rate of carbon sequestration by the biological pump and the role of deep winter convection, Palevsky and colleague David Nicholson of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution collaborated with OOI to improve the calibration of oxygen data at the Irminger Sea array by modifying the configuration of glider oxygen sensors to enable calibration in air each time the glider surfaces, which improves the accuracy and utility of the data collected both from gliders and from moorings. Palevsky presented preliminary results demonstrating successful glider air calibration at the Irminger array in 2018-2019 as well as work by student Lucy Wanzer, Wellesley College, demonstrating the importance of well-calibrated oxygen time series data to determine interannual variability in rates of subsurface respiration and deep winter ventilation in the Irminger Sea.

 

 

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The spring 2020 OOI Endurance Operations and Management (O&M) turn cruise has been delayed for at least 30 days due to travel and personnel restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the virus COVID-19.

The 16-day cruise was set to depart on 31 March from Newport, Oregon aboard the R/V Sikuliaq to service the array off the Oregon and Washington coasts. The R/V Sikuliaq is part of the US academic research fleet managed by UNOLS (the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System). UNOLS imposed a 30-day suspension in fleet operations on 13 March to help ensure the safety of the ship’s crew and science party and to mitigate the risk of virus spread. Rescheduling of activities will commence once the situation stabilizes and UNOLS sees a path forward to re-start research vessel operations safely.

Upcoming O&M cruises for the Pioneer, Irminger, and Papa Arrays also are scheduled aboard UNOLS vessels (R/V Neil Armstrong and R/V Sikuliaq). These cruises fall outside of the UNOLS current 30-day suspension so cruise preparation continues.

We do not anticipate that cruise schedule changes will affect the collection nor dissemination of OOI data, which will continue to be available for users here.

 

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