Making Plankton into Art

By Mikayla Cote, Master’s student at the University of Rhode Island / UNITED KINGDOM / After flying to the United Kingdom, the EXPORTS scientists were in quarantine for two weeks prior to embarking on a month-long research cruise. While there was still some last-minute work to be done before departure, for most of us this …

Small Bugs With a Big Impact

By Diana Fontaine, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography / NORTHERN ATLANTIC OCEAN / We have about one more week of full science fun left in the North Atlantic NASA EXPORTS campaign. It has certainly been a wild ride at sea given that we’ve experienced about four storms to …

The Effects of Nutrient and Light on Phytoplankton Communities: Implications for Carbon Export

By Delfina Navarro-Estrada and Shannon Burns, oceanography graduate students at the University of South Florida / NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN / In the sunlit portion of the ocean exist single-celled microscopic organisms called phytoplankton. They are called the ‘grass of the sea’ because these tiny plants and algae perform many of the same ecological functions as …

Our Three “Hour” Tour

By Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution /NORTHERN ATLANTIC OCEAN/ For those of us who grew up watching Gilligan’s Island, we all know the fateful story of the “three-hour tour.”  Well, as this oceanographer knows, that TV storm is not that different from the weather we are facing out here in the North Atlantic on …

The Hunt for the Right Eddy

By Zachary K. Erickson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / GREENBELT, MARYLAND / The ocean is full of eddies – swirling water masses that are the ocean equivalent of hurricanes. In comparison with their atmospheric counterparts, eddies are smaller, longer-lived, and far more numerous: at any given moment, well over 1,000 eddies exist throughout the …

What It’s Like to Quarantine Before a Field Campaign

By Sara Blumberg, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Inia Soto Ramos, Universities Space Research Association / GREENBELT, MARYLAND / Pandemics can change the plans of nearly everything, including ocean research. That’s exactly what happened with EXPORTS. In 2019, the original North Atlantic Expedition along with its active research projects were cancelled. Despite the setback, …

NASA Sets Sail to Study the Ocean Twilight Zone

By Sara Blumberg, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Inia Soto Ramos, Universities Space Research Association / GREENBELT, MARYLAND / When we talk about climate change, we tend to think of lush forests with giant trees that passively trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use them for food in a process called photosynthesis. The …

SnowEx: Little Blogs from the Prairie – Part 2

Madeline Beck, Undergraduate Student in Environmental Science, Montana State University Being part of a NASA research team is an exciting experience! Knowing our work will correspond with further research endeavors and help validate remotely sensed measurements makes us feel like part of a greater effort and team. The research site is in a beautiful part …

SnowEx: Little Blogs from the Prairie – Part 1

Like so many other things, NASA’s SnowEx 2021 looks a little different than usual this year. But one thing is business as usual, and that’s the participation of undergraduate and graduate students. Students play a pivotal role in SnowEx, from suiting up for data collection to crunching the numbers afterward. The field sites become a …

Delta-X Field Stories: Traversing the Marshes

By Elena Solohin, Florida International University /NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA/ My colleague, Emily, and I, with Florida International University’s Wetland Ecosystems Research Lab, kicked off our 2021 field season with a trip to the Mississippi River Delta to conduct research for NASA’s Delta-X project. We met up with a team of scientists from Louisiana State University …