Rutgers University
  • RUCOOL Updates: January – April 2023

    Posted on May 5th, 2023 Mike Crowley No comments

    The new semester is well under way for our students and faculty, while our operations teams gear up for the summer research season ahead. That said, it seems like it’s always research season here at RUCOOL, just check out the numerous things we have been working on below.


    • RUCOOL welcomed Associate Professor Daphne Munroe to the team! Daphne has been at Rutgers since 2010, but now joins the team with her expertise in larval ecology, sustainable shellfisheries and aquaculture, climate changes, population ecology and marine conservation.
    • Rutgers has launched the Offshore Wind Collaborative to coordinate and build expertise in offshore wind research across the university community and to support workforce development pathways to employment in this industry. Leading the establishment of the collaborative is Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, director of the Office of Resource and Economic Development at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, along with RUCOOL’s Josh Kohut,, and Wade Trappe, professor and Associate Dean for Academics, School of Engineering. This group of more than 40 faculty members from across Rutgers’s campuses brings a wide range of disciplines and expertise including marine sciences, environmental science, engineering, materials science, supply-chain, and public policy, as well as economics, psychology and other social sciences. Rutgers is well positioned to establish the collaborative environment and knowledge-sharing needed to foster the growth of a wind-based economy in New Jersey.
    • RUCOOL PI Josh Kohut was one of the lead organizers of the first Rutgers Offshore Wind Symposium held at the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering on January 12, 2023. Over 100 guests attended this meeting hosted by the Rutgers Offshore Wind Collaborative, whose goal was to provide a forum for industry, government, and academic leaders to discuss challenges, collaborate on solutions, and build community engagement. Several members of the RUCOOL team including our students presented talks and posters and led breakout sessions. A summary report will be prepared based on the information shared at the symposium that will serve as an action plan to advance the growing offshore wind industry in New Jersey.
    • Grace Saba won this year’s Faculty Scholar-Teacher Award. The award honors tenured faculty members who have made outstanding synergistic contributions in research and teaching. This award recognizes those who make visible the vital link between teaching and scholarship by contributing to the scholarship of teaching and by bringing together scholarly and classroom activities. Congrats Grace!
    • Masters of Operational Oceanography (MOO) students have successfully completed their Spring glider mission off NJ, allowing for a seasonal comparison of the NJ shelf waters against their Fall mission, and serving as vital experience of working with operational technologies as part of an ocean observing lab. These two deployments are the foundation of a new student-led sampling effort along this transect over subsequent cohorts of MOO students – an opportunity unique to the MOO program of Rutgers University. The Endurance Line has been sampled for decades by COOL across various grants and projects, and now the MOO students will lead the effort across cohorts, monitoring the real-time seasonal dynamics and changes to the NJ shelf waters.
    • MOO Program Advisor Alexander López has been selected to be in the 2023-24 cohort of the Provost’s Teaching Fellows Program.
    • As Chair of the Marine Technology Society New Jersey Student Section, PhD Candidate Joe Gradone recently hosted a research symposium at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station and Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tuckerton, NJ. This symposium brought together over 25 undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff from Rutgers University, Stockton University, Princeton University, and the New Jersey Institute of technology for a day of networking and student presentations.
    • New Jersey’s First Lady, Tammy Snyder Murphy, joined our RUCOOL education team in April, learning about the new NJ climate change curriculum, research with ocean gliders and the Explorers of the Deep 4H STEM Challenge. A very COOL day!
    • It was a bit wet at Rutgers Day this year, but our DMCS team, led by our students, education team, RU American Fisheries Society and the Haskin Crew, was out in force for Rutgers day. Community members of all ages were engaged and eager to become “Ocean Explorers” with our touch tank, density demonstration, glider display, ocean fossils, and the “Great Plankton race.” Some even became “Fish (and Shellfish) Fanatics!”
    • The Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences hosted an open house for incoming first year students and their parents. Department Chair, Oscar Schofield, gave a program overview, but then our current undergrads and grad students came in to give an awesome overview of their experiences, helped with tours and spoke 1 on 1 with our visitors. Thanks so much to our students. This is why we are here!
    • The R/V Rutgers continues to be busy! Rutgers had 13 trips during the semester with a total of 120 passengers. Five undergraduate classes and one graduate class performed research in the Raritan and in Raritan bay studying physics, biology and ocean chemistry as well as a class trip performing seal observations. Of course there is also the work performed for research supporting our glider deployments, AUV training and helping BOEM on the deployment and recovery of a hydrophone array. And winter/spring is the quiet season! Looking forward to a very busy late spring and summer.
    • Our faculty are teaching eight classes this semester including 1) Biological Oceanography: Ocean Boundary Ecosystems, 2) Topics in Marine Science, 3) Ocean Methods and Data Analysis, 4) The Biology of Living in the Ocean: Boundary Ecosystems and Processes, 5) The Role of the Polar Regions in the Earth System, 6) Integrated Ocean Observations 2, 7) Field Laboratory Methods 2, and 8) Polar Systems.


    • The RUCOOL education team held 18 video conferences where we connected kids in grades 5-9 live with researchers in Antarctica as part of the Palmer Station Long-term Ecological Research Program (PAL LTER) project. State representation includes New Jersey, Alaska (including Utqiaġvik and Anchorage), Washington, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Michigan, Iowa, Arkansas, Florida, and California. We worked with a broad range of young people from diverse backgrounds including: school programs that serve Native Americans, homeless youth, and those with special needs (blind and deaf).  We engaged approximately 1,080 young people in grades 5- to 9 from January 2023-March 2023.  Each implementation ended with a Video Teleconference to Antarctica speaking with an early career polar researcher:
    • The RUCOOL education team attended the Advancing Research Impacts in Society (ARIS) Summit (March). We presented several workshops for our NSF funded ARIS Toolkit project (see with ten universities. The Implementation and Evaluation of the ARIS Broader Impacts Toolkit project is designed to advance the understanding of mechanisms and supports needed to develop effective Broader Impacts (BI) statements. In the toolkit project, we are partnering with ten universities to pilot test a suite of tools developed by the NSF-funded ARIS Center and conduct research on use cases of the ARIS Toolkit. The ARIS Toolkit is a suite of digital documents and interactive web stools designed to provide guidance and effective practices aimed at improving BI outcomes and impacts for researchers and their collaborating partners. The kit includes the a) BI Wizard, b) BI Checklist c) Guiding Principles, and d) BI Evaluation Rubric. The toolkit can be used by researchers who are proposing to NSF and those acting as panel reviewers; BI professionals who assist researchers in BI work; and partners who participate in BI work with university researchers.
    • In January, Sage Lichtenwalner participated in an 8-day STEAM SEAS project cruise aboard the R/V Armstrong to present a series of talks on data literacy and the classroom materials available form the NSF’s Ocean Observatory Initiative to a group of HBCU faculty participating in the STEM SEAS workshop.


    • Oscar Schofield and Josh Kohut host an all-hands science meeting for the NSF Palmer LTER and SWARM projects studying climate change induced changes in ecosystem processes. The meeting hosted over 30 participants here at Rutgers with another 15 participants joining us virtually.
    • Grace Saba and PhD student Lauren Cook co-organized, co-hosted, and presented at a 3-day international workshop “Fish, Fisheries, and Carbon” funded by the Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry Program: Grace and Lauren presented the following talks:
      • Cook, L., Saba, G.K. 2023. Closing the fish carbon export gap: Laboratory-based approaches in creating a full carbon production suite for an abundant North Atlantic forage fish. Talk presented at the 3-day international workshop on Fish, Fisheries, and Carbon. March 2023
      • Saba, G.K. 2023. New insights on the role of fishes in ocean carbon flux. Talk presented at the 3-day international workshop on Fish, Fisheries, and Carbon. March 2023
    • The Antarctic Science Season is done, and it was very successful! We had three teams working in the field including:
      • Our HF-Radar team led by Josh Kohut and Ethan Handel, recovered a CODAR site buried in ice and snow on a remote island. The site was used to measure surface currents that impact penguin foraging zones along the western Antarctic peninsula.
      • Our glider team completed 3 deployments with our partners at the University of Delaware. They were studying the impacts of melting fresh water from ice pack on the entire ecosystem and formation of deep water masses.
      • Nicole Waite completed six weeks on a cruise offshore of Antarctica. Nicole was the PI on the Palmer LTER cruise studying the polar marine biome with research focused on the Antarctic pelagic marine ecosystem, including sea ice habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators. Oh, and if you think a “cruise” sounds nice, try a month on a boat with 15-40 foot seas, constant rain with little sleep. Not exactly the Pacific Princess.

    Newly Funded Research

    • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection: Development of Guidance for Municipal Environmental Justice Action Planning, Jeanne Herb & Grace Saba ($82,025 for 6 months).
    • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection: Research Monitoring Initiative Observing Systems, Josh Kohut, ($282,289 for 2 years).
    • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection: Glider Deployment for Water Quality Monitoring, Josh Kohut ($95,609).
    • John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab: Ship Detection Upgrades for Rutgers 5Mhz HF-Radar Sites, Hugh Roarty ($131,794 for 14 months).
    • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority: GLIDE: Glider Based Ecology and Oceanographic Surveys of the New York Bight, Josh Kohut ($338,709 for 2 years).
    • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (WHOI CINAR): Ocean Acidification Synthesis, Grace Saba ($23,166).
    • University of Connecticut: Quantifying Linkages Between Sea Ice, Phytoplankton Community Composition, and Air-Sea Carbon Fluxes, Oscar Schofield ($151,443).
    • Office of Naval Research: Passengers, Travis Miles ($150,000).
    • NASA Rapid Response SOCCUM, Oscar Schofield ($250,000).
    • California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Lab: Surface Water and Ocean Topography, Oscar Schofield ($252,000)

    Proposals Submitted

    • Northeastern University: A Mesophotic coral reef observatory for climate change. Oscar Schofield, $1,531,768.
    • Biodiversity Research Institute: BRI-Projecting the effects of OSW-mediated benthic changes on marine ecosystems. Oscar Schofield, $31,764.
    • National Science Foundation: MRI Track 1: Acquisition of an underwater Bio-Sentinel Glider. Oscar Schofield, $1,147,896.
    • National Science Foundation: Providing a holographic imaging capability for Slocum gliders. Oscar Schofield, $988,866.
    • National Science Foundation: Fish Caron and Flux. Grace Saba, $511,682.
    • Creare, Inc.: Integrated Optical Imaging of the Environment on Underwater Autonomous Vehicles. Travis Miles, $9,888.
    • National Science Foundation: Supplement for Polar Literacy: A model for youth engagement and learning. Janice McDonnell ($39,950).
    • National Science Foundation: Collaborative Research: Strengthening the OOI Data Labs Community of Practice (CoP) to enhance undergraduate data literacy. Janice McDonnell ($465,011).
    • Rider University: Improving Undergraduate Scientific Explanations: Exploring the Role of Data Literacy Skills in Scientific Reasoning. Sage Lichtenwalner, ($19,663).

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Cimino, M., Conroy, J., Connors, E., Bowman, J., Corso, A., Ducklow, H., Fraser, W., Friedlaender, A., Kim, H., Larsen, G. D., Moffat, C., Nichols, R., Pallin, L., Roberts, D., Roberts, M., Steinberg, D., Thibodeau, P., Trinh, R., Schofield, O., Stammerjohn, S. 2023. Long-term patterns in ecosystem phenology near Palmer Station, Antarctica, from the perspective of the Adélie penguin. Ecosphere DOI: 1002/ecs2.4417
    • Nardelli, S. C., Stammerjohn, S. E., Waite, N., Schofield, O. 2 Coastal phytoplankton seasonal succession and diversity at Palmer Station, Antarctica. Limnology and Oceanography. DOI: 10.1002/lno.12314
    • Saba, G.K., Schwartzman, B. 2023. Recommendations for Developing a Statewide Ocean Acidification Monitoring Network for New Jersey. Access document here.
    • Rutgers University. Green Climate Fund SAP20: Climate Resilient Food Security.
    • Miles, T., Munroe, D., Kohut, J., and others. 2023. NOAA Tech memo? 1.3 Interactions of Offshore Wind on Oceanographic Processes. In Hogan, F., Hooker, B., Jensen, B., Johnston, L., Lipsky, A., Methratta, E., Silva, A., Hawkins, A. (Eds.) Fisheries and Offshore Wind Interactions: Synthesis of Science. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE-291, p. 50-55.
    • Seidel, D., J.E. Simon, R. Govindasamy, O. Schofield, original co-authors. 2023. Rutgers University, Green Climate Fund SAP20: Climate Resilient Food Security.
  • RUCOOL Updates: October-December 2022

    Posted on February 1st, 2023 Mike Crowley No comments

    Field Campaign & Science Updates

    And just like that, 2022 is done and we are starting a new year. There was quite a lot happening in the last quarter of 2023, but the big highlight for us was our 30th anniversary celebration in late October with Rick Spinrad, head of NOAA, RU President Jonothan Holloway, and former NOAA Research Lead, Craig McClean. Here’s to the next 30 years of scientific research!


    • New Masters of Operational Oceanography students worked together to ensure the successful deployment and recovery of glider RU23 in October. For 3 weeks, the students piloted the glider on their own mission: to transect along the Endurance Line and back, and to learn while doing so. With guidance from the RU COOL glider team, the students completed a successful mission in mapping the Mid-Atlantic cold pool.  
    • The R/V Rutgers continues to maintain its status as an asset to Rutgers and the local oceanographic/hydrographic community.  In addition to supporting classes such as Oceanographic Methods and Data Analysis and Analytical Environmental Chemistry Lab, Captain Chip Haldeman has increased efforts toward expanding access throughout the University and beyond.  From connecting the Institute for Women’s Leadership and the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership to conducting trawl surveys with Monmouth University students, the R/V Rutgers has become integral to education.  Short historical tours were conducted along the Raritan River during the Raritan River Festival.  R/V Rutgers participated in multiple glider deployments and recoveries for both Rutgers and the University of Delaware, moored hydrophone array deployments/REMUS AUV surveys for BOEM projects, and performance testing for the first multi domain air/water drone, the Naviator.
    • Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway took a class from RUCOOL Professor Grace Saba on how to prepare an underwater glider for a deployment off the NJ shore…. with a camera crew from CBS in tow during a photo shoot. 
    • RUCOOL continues to support the renewable energy industry through work with NJBPU, NJDEP, Orsted and Atlantic Shores. Offshore wind developers have and will continue to visit our undergraduate and Masters of Operational Oceanography classes as we support workforce development. In our work with NJDEP and NJBPU, we are focused on improving the sea surface temperature (SST) data that is assimilated into atmospheric weather forecast models, such as RU-WRF, as SSTs have significant impacts on the available offshore wind resource.
    • The RUCOOL Education Team, led by Janice McDonnell, won the annual SEBS Team Excellence Award for their work on the Explorers of the Deep 4-H STEM Challenge. It was a great day to celebrate RUCOOL education!
    • RUCOOL continues to expand our afterschool library programs.  We have reached approximately 18 libraries with marine science themed programs from Cape May to Sussex Counties.  Graduate and undergraduate students participated in teaching the programs with our education and outreach team.  The undergrads are participating as interns from the Science Communication minor here at SEBS under the direction of Dr. Mary Nucci and students mentored by Janice McDonnell.      


    • RUCOOL CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF OCEAN RESEARCH EXCELLENCE! National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Rick Spinrad; Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway; Distinguished Professor Scott Glenn, co-director of Rutgers Center for Ocean Observing Leadership; and Craig McLean (RC ’79), former assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at NOAA, toured the ocean glider lab during a celebration marking RUCOOL’s excellence in ocean research and education over the last 30 years.
    • RUCOOL’s Julia Engdahl won two Director’s Team Awards from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). These awards were for work on automating quality control on NOAA’s Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Data System (PORTS) current meter data and work on the 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report. Congrats Julia!
    • Lauren Cook won the Mid Atlantic Chapter of the American Fisheries Societie’s best student Presentation at their November 2022 Annual Meeting.
    • RUCOOL’s Travis Miles was interviewed by @foxweather regarding our use of gliders to help the National Weather Service forecast hurricane intensity.
    • Congrats to Cassidy Gonzalez-Morabito, an RUCOOL Alumna now at L3 Harris, for receiving the Ocean News & Technology Young Professional Award: Presented to an Marine Technology Society member, 35 years of age or younger, who has demonstrated leadership in the Society and works in a professional capacity in management, engineering, or research and development in a marine technology field.
    • Rutgers Cooperative Extension teamed up with Cooperative Extension at Cornell University to bring educators from across two states to the New York Aquarium for an immersive full-day professional development experience. They were introduced to the 4-H Stem Challenge Explorers of the Deep through a hands-on activity demonstration of the Ocean Explorers Augmented Reality board game that includes a mini working glider. 
    • The United Nations endorsed the above Ocean Decade activity submission for the 2022 STEM Challenge. The learning goals and efforts surrounding the STEM challenge are in accordance with the United Nations proclamation of a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to; “support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.”
    • The RUCOOL education team is  supporting 18 schools from across the country in our Virtual teleconferences with scientists from Antarctica. We have schools from Utqiaġvik, Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between! Over the course of the next month we will reach approximately 1,000 middle school age youth. 


    • At the International Oceans Meeting sponsored by the Marine Technology Society and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, Rutgers had 3 of the 26 finalists in the student poster competition, with Jackie Veatch winning the competition. Her poster, paper, and presentation was selected as the winner among an impressive set of scientific and engineering posters!!
    • The Antarctic Science Season Begins! RUCOOL has multiple projects performing research, with the cornerstone being the NSF Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) project at Palmer Station. The Palmer LTER studies a polar marine biome with research focused on the Antarctic pelagic marine ecosystem, including sea ice habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators. Our first science team led by Nicole Waite, left to focus on underwater glider deployments off Palmer on December 21. Another NSF funded project team led by Josh Kohut, is headed down in February to recover our CODAR HF-Radar station, deployed 3 years ago. That site is under several feet of snow and ice. Should be a fun recovery!
    • Sweden’s Consul General Camilla Mellander and her team visited RUCOOL in December for a glider lab and coolroom tour as well as some in depth discussions on marine science and climate. 

    Newly Funded Research 

    • University of Delaware: Accelerate Improvements in Hurricane Intensity Forecasting Through Underwater Glider Field Campaigns: Mid Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) (Travis Miles, $343,183, 14 months)NASA: Rapid Response: Improving Our Understanding in Situ Carbon Dynamics to Ocean Color in the Southern Ocean by Adding Bio-Optical Instrumentation to the SOCCUM Float-Based Observing System (Oscar Schofield, $250,000, 1 year).
    • Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind: Atlantic Shores Cup Anemometer Installation at Tuckerton Field Station (Michael Crowley, $40,141, 1 year).
    • Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System: The Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System: A responsive stakeholder-driven observing system addressing regional and national needs in the US Caribbean (Hugh Roarty, $28,188, 1 year).
    • University of Delaware: HF-Radar Hardware Improvements (Hugh Roarty, $80,220, 1 year).
    • JASCO: South Fork Wind cod spawning monitoring plan (Grace Saba, $90,082, 1 year).

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Pallin, L. J., Kellar, N. M., Botero-Acosta, N., Baker, C. S., Conroy, J. A., Costa, D. P., Johnson, C. M., Johnston, D. W., Nichols, R. C., Nowacek, D. P., Read, A. J., Savenko, O., Schofield, O., Steinberg, D. K., Friedlaender, A. S. 2022. A surplus no more: decreased krill availability impacts Antarctic baleen whale reproductive rates. Global Change Biology DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16559
    • Seidel, D. K., Morin, X., Staffen, M., Ludescher, R. D., Simon, J. E., Schofield, O. 2023. Building a Collaborative, University Based Science-in-Action Video Storytelling Model that Translates Science for Public Engagement and Increases Scientists’ Relatability. Frontiers in Communication DOI: 10.3389/fcomm.2022.1049648
    • Guzik, M., Saba, G.K., Wright-Fairbanks, E.K. 2022. Observing winter carbonate chemistry dynamics throughout the Mid-Atlantic Bight shelf using novel glider technology. Aresty Rutgers Undergraduate Research Journal 1(4): DOI: 10.14713/arestyrurj.v1i4.203
    • Wright-Fairbanks, E.K., Saba, G.K. 2022. Quantification of the Dominant Drivers of Acidification in the Coastal Mid-Atlantic Bight. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 127(11): DOI: 10.1029/2022JC018833.
  • RUCOOL Updates: July-September 2022

    Posted on November 17th, 2022 Mike Crowley No comments

    2022 has passed by at lightning speed as we enter the final quarter of the year. It was a busy summer of field work followed by the start of another school year. Things have returned a bit back to normal as travel and meetings are once again underway both nationally and internationally. 


    • Our new cohort of six Masters of Operational Oceanography students started in early August and they hit the ground running with Glider School, HF-Radar School, and Software Bootcamp. They have already performed field work with HF-Radar maintenance and Glider deployments. 
    • Grace Saba presented her collaborative efforts with NJDEP to develop a statewide ocean acidification monitoring network at the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and New Jersey Shellfisheries Council (Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay) meetings.
    • RUCOOL faculty are teaching seven courses this fall including Topics in Marine Science, Sea Monsters, Oceanographic Methods & Data Analysis (Bio & Chem), Integrated Ocean Observations, Biology of Living in the Ocean Water Column Ecosystem, Operational Ocean Modeling, and Dynamics on the Continental Shelf.
    • Rutgers University was awarded 12 Fellowships by the NJ Wind Institute. RUCOOL students were awarded three of these fellowships including graduate student Samantha Alaimo, and undergraduates Khalid Mujahadeen and Jeury Betances. Congrats!
    • Three of our Masters of Operational Oceanography students successfully defended their theses this summer. Congrats to Tim Stolarz, Casey Jones and Courtney Dreyfus! 
    • RUCOOL welcomed our 3rd new employee this year. Julia Engdahl will be using her Python data analysis skills in supporting hurricane intensity research, and ocean heat content analysis in the Caribbean. Welcome Julia!
    • The R/V Rutgers continues to be used from the Raritan down to Tuckerton and offshore. Captain Chip Haldeman, hosted our Masters of Operational Oceanography Students on multiple training trips for gliders and instrument operations as well as MTS glider camp, numerous glider deployments, and work with the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership. We had 77 passengers in addition to our captain and crew. 
    • We still have to check our 25 year history of upwelling, but this summer may very well have been the longest upwelling event in our existence. Upwelling of cold water from the ocean floor to the beach occurs when southwesterly winds bring hot air into our areas during the summer. Air temps were hot, which made the coastal ocean cold. It will be a dataset to study for years to come. It’s interesting when temperatures at Atlantic City are 10oF higher on October 10 than they were on August 10. 
    • Seven STEM Ambassadors spent the day with Dr. Hugh Roarty from RUCOOL to learn about the High Frequency radar network that is used to measure ocean surface currents and how drones are used to calibrate the radars.  The STEM Ambassadors will take the knowledge they have gained this past week back to their respective communities and teach-back to their younger peers at local YMCAs, libraries, and afterschool programs.
    • RUCOOL Grad Students Sam Alaimo, Malarie O’Brien and Emily Busch showed off the latest technologies in ocean observing at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station’s (RUMFS) 50th Anniversary celebration in September. Hundreds of people attended this weekend celebration.
    • RUCOOL grad student Joe Gradone received the 2022 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Award which began in September.  
    • Travis Miles gave an invited presentation on the state of Offshore Wind at Princeton Agricultural Society supporting NJAES.


    • Several RUCOOL faculty and students attended the NYSERDA State of the Science Workshop in Tarrytown, NY : Josh Kohut and Grace Saba chaired a panel entitled Autonomous Solutions responding to the oceanographic and ecological monitoring needs of offshore wind development. Grad Students Courtney Dreyfus and Sam Alaimo presented posters, and Rutgers PhD student, Jacquelyn Veatch, presented a poster entitled Assessing the role of ocean currents on prey concentration from hourly to seasonal scales using lagrangian coherent structures.
    • Nicole Waite and Kaycee Coleman, traveled to Sitka, AK to deploy glider RU26d for ocean acidification research in the Gulf of Alaska funded by the Alaska Ocean Observation System  (Grace Saba PI). While in Sitka, Nicole and Kaycee joined the local radio station, KCAW, to talk about the pH glider mission. They also hosted a meet and greet with the Sitka community to talk about RUCOOL, ocean acidification, and RU26d – where everyone was very excited for and welcoming to our cool ocean robot!You can listen to the full radio interview here.
    • REU RIOS summer internship Topics ranged from underwater volcanoes, oysters physiology, Antarctic krill and ancient oceans.   Additionally, the interns participated in weekly workshops that develop their career and research aptitude.  The program was co-coordinated by Josh Kohut, who, along with 2 other RUCOOL faculty, directly mentored three of the students.  The summer program concluded with a science symposium in which the students shared their work and celebrated their success. 
    • Grace Saba, Josh Kohut, and Travis Miles were invited to be members of the Habitat & Ecosystem Subcommittee for the Regional Wildlife Science Collaborative for Offshore Wind.
    • In August, the 4-H National STEM Challenge “Explorers of the Deep” was launched and is now available for sale on the 4-H site.  The kit features a mini-glider that kids can use to learn about density and ballasting, an ocean literacy board game, and communicator activity. Each year, approximately 25,000 STEM Challenge kits are sold, with the potential to engage many more times that number of 4-H club members, after school programs and K-12 students.  Janice McDonnell and the education & outreach team have spent much of the past year developing the kit.  To learn more, visit 
    • This spring, the ARIS Broader Impacts toolkit project solicited a call for participants for our second cohort.  Over the summer, a team of reviewers selected 7 institutions from a pool of 18 applicants to join the project with a $25K subcontract to support their efforts..  Cohort members will spend the next 2 years utilizing the ARIS Toolkit at their home institutions, and researching how the toolkit impacts the development of BI projects and proposals at their institution.  
    • Hugh Roarty, Rick Lathrop,  and Janice McDonnell received a 17K grant from the NASA Space Grant Program to work with diverse youth in the 4-H STEM Ambassador program.  Youth will be introduced to ecological studies at Duke Farms looking at climate change in agriculture. 
    • In August, Travis Miles and Joe Gradone took two summer RIOS intern undergraduates to Teledyne Webb Research (TWR) to expose them to a professional career environment in marine technology. Additionally two representatives of TWR aided in glider training for our summer glider training.


    • As part of our deep and enduring partnership, the U.S. Embassy Kolonia welcomed scientists from Rutgers University, including RUCOOL’s Oscar Schofield, who are currently conducting a baseline assessment in support of Green Climate Fund-resilient food security for farming households across the FSM.   The United States has contributed one billion dollars to date to the Green Climate Fund.
    • Several members of the RUCOOL team attended the Underwater Gliders Meeting in Seattle in September. Mike Crowley and Travis were on the meeting steering committee, while Scott Glenn hosted a two day session on using gliders for tropical cyclone prediction. Grad student Joe Gradone presented a talk on glider measurements and estimations of velocities in the tropics in a session chaired by Mike. 
    • Grace Saba and Josh Kohut presented a talk entitled An autonomous-based oceanographic and ecological baseline to inform offshore wind development over the continental shelf off the coast of New Jersey at the ICES Annual Science Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. They were joined by several Rutgers and Monmouth University members of their collaborative offshore wind research team.
    • Oscar chaired the Long Term Ecosystem Research at Palmer Station meeting while Grace and Josh were in Ireland and the rest of the glider crew were in Seattle. It was quite the week! 

    Newly Funded Research 

    • NOAA IOOS (University of Delaware): Mid Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observation System (MARACOOS). (Oscar Schofield, $1.4 million, 1 year).
    • NJ Board of Public Utilities: BPU Wind Resource Evaluation Modification. (Scott Glenn, Travis Miles, Josh Kohut, $500,581 for 1 year).
    • Department of Energy (Duke University): Wildlife and Offshore Wind: A Systems Approach to Research and Risk Assessment for Offshore Wind Development from Maine to North Carolina. (Josh Kout, $31,031, 1 year)
    • US Department of Agriculture  National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Hatch. (Kohut, $84,026, 2 years)

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Nardelli, S., Gray, P., Schofield, O. 2022. Developing a convolutional neural network to classify phytoplankton images collected with an Imaging FlowCytobot along the West Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Technology Society Journal 56:45-57. DOI: 10.4031/MTSJ.56.5.8.
    • Hak Soo Lim, Dongha Kim, Hee Jun Lee, Minwoo Kim, Seung Hwan Jin, Travis N. Miles, Scott Glenn; Typhoon-induced Full Vertical Mixing and Subsequent Intrusion of Yangtze Fresh Waters in the Southern Yellow Sea: Observation with an Underwater Glider and GOCI Ocean Color Imagery. Journal of Coastal Research 1 September 2021; 114 (SI): 171–175. doi: DOI: 10.2112/JCR-SI114-035.1.
    • Miles, T.; Zhang, D.; Foltz, G.; Zhang, J.; Meinig, C.; Bringas, F.; Triñanes, J.; Le Hénaff, M.; Aristizabal Vargas, M.; Coakley, S.; et al. Uncrewed Ocean Gliders and Saildrones Support Hurricane Forecasting and Research. Oceanog 2021, 34, 78–81, DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2021.supplement.02-28.


  • RUCOOL Updates: April – June 2022

    Posted on July 19th, 2022 Mike Crowley No comments

    Welcome summer! For a lot of college researchers, summer is their quiet time, but this is oceanography and it’s our busiest season. Field research along the NJ shore, summer student research projects and the arrival of our new crop of Masters of Operational Oceanography students add to an already loaded schedule. Going to be a busy July and August, but first, here’s what we were up to this spring…



    • No doubt that the greatest news for RUCOOL the last few months was that Associate Professor Grace Saba received her tenure in April. For those that know Grace, this will come as no surprise as her bio-geochemistry work has been referenced world wide, and she has mentored a long list of heavily decorated grad students. Congrats Grace!
    • Congratulations to Emily Slesinger (and Grace Saba) who received the School of Graduate Studies Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award. The Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award is the School of Graduate Studies’ most prestigious honor. Awarded to a student who demonstrates the highest possible level of academic excellence and achievement, this award celebrates extraordinary scholarship and research.
    • Speaking of awesome students, RUCOOL had several grad students graduate in May including Liza Wright Fairbanks, Ted Thompson, Emily Slesinger, Sam Coakley, Schuyler Nardelli and Ailey Sheehan. Congrats!
    • Senator Robert Menendez staff visited RUCOOL in April to discuss our work in the offshore wind industry, as well as our research focusing on improving hurricane intensity forecasts for New Jersey and the nation.
    • RUCOOL’s Travis Miles, Josh Kohut, and Alex López were joined by graduate students Casey Jones and Tim Stolarz  at the NJDEP celebration of Earth day at Liberty State Park. The fearless group manned a Rutgers booth that saw over 1,000 visitors come through where they spoke about our graduate student program, offshore wind energy and hurricane research. 
    • RUCOOL welcomed two new additions to the team: Kaycee Coleman and Brian Buckingham. Kaycee will be focused on program management of the Orsted Fisheries research project while Brian is the newest addition to our expanding glider team as the fleet continues to grow. Welcome to both of them!
    • Operational Oceanography master’s degree students Courtney Dreyfus and Casey Jones joined Josh Kohut and others at the 2022 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) conference in Atlantic City in late April
    • Oscar Schofield joined other Rutgers faculty to design and develop the Rutgers Climate Initiative which will be presented to the Chancellor Provost’s office in July.
    • Grace Saba and colleagues conducted a cruise May 2-5 focused on sampling microplastics in and around the Delaware Bay plume.



    • In June, RUCOOL’s Scott Glenn testified in front of the US Congress’ Subcommittee on the Environment, headed up by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, regarding the Priorities for Weather Research report he co-led for the NOAA SAB.  The House version of the 2023 Appropriations Bill contains the language “The Committee applauds and thanks NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) for the report it produced titled, Priorities for Weather Research, which will be a useful guidepost for future investments in the weather enterprise”.
    • In April, the AMS President-elect, an AMS Past-President, and Scott Glenn co-lead a panel discussion on the future of weather research and forecasting at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Washington Forum in DC.
    • Travis Miles was interviewed by Accuweather in the RUCOOL ocean glider lab regarding his research in improving hurricane intensity forecasts for the nation.
    • Oscar Schofield was interviewed by Science Friday about changing life at the poles, and what to expect in the coming years. 
    • Scott Glenn and Oscar Schofield were invited keynote speakers at the  Lifetime Achievement Award for Doug Webb by Teledyne Marine Inc. in Falmouth.  This award recognized Doug’s impact and how it changed the field of oceanography through the new technologies he invented and commercialized. Scott and Oscar were asked to provide commentary of how important those changes have been over the last 30 years.  During the events Teledyne Marine announced a 3-year gift to Rutgers for the Teledyne Marine Doug Webb Graduate Student Fellowship to continue Rutgers history of student exploration with underwater glider technologies.
    • In June, we welcomed 12 undergraduate students from across the country to participate in our NSF funded REU program, RIOS.  These students are working with mentors over a 10 week program that supports their independent research.  Topics this year range from underwater volcanos, oysters physiology, Antarctic krill and ancient oceans.   Additionally, the interns are participating in weekly workshops that develop their career and research aptitude.  The program is co-coordinated by Josh Kohut, who, along with 2 other RUCOOL faculty, directly mentored three of the students.  The summer program will conclude with a science symposium in which the students shared their work and celebrate their success.  
    • PhD candidate Lauren Cook conducted a 3-week experimental study at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center to determine the amount of different sources of carbon released from Atlantic menhaden, a dominant forage fish in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.
    • Grace Saba presented two invited talks at the Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry annual summer meeting: New Insights on the Role of Fishes in Ocean Carbon Flux and ‘Eco-gliders’ as novel platforms for ocean health and ecosystem monitoring and research. Saba PhD candidate Lauren Cook also presented their research at the meeting “Closing the fish carbon export gap: Initial laboratory-based approaches in creating a full carbon production suite for an abundant North Atlantic forage fish.”



    • Scott Glenn was awarded a 2022 Rutgers Global Grant entitled “Collaborative Metocean Observing in Cuba: Step 1 – High Frequency Radar.” The project is about building an observatory at a critical choke point in the global ocean circulation that impacts our climate and supports improvements in hurricane forecasting. This project is our first step in a longer term vision co-developed with Cuban scientists to advance metocean (meteorology and physical oceanography) observing in Cuba as a component of a shared Gulf of Mexico strategy. That strategy, characterized as “One Gulf, Two Technologies, Three Countries, For the People” is our plan to expand high frequency radar and underwater glider technologies across the Gulf in the US, Mexico and Cuba to improve weather and climate forecasts for the benefit of all. 
    • Oscar Schofield and Jim Simon have been coordinating Rutgers scientists (across the Departments of Plant Sciences, Agriculture, and Food Resource Economics combined with the Rutgers School of Engineering) and developed a team specializing in the implementation of sustainable food system development including agriculture and marine resources, agribusiness and fresh water engineering.  This has been developed working closely with the government of Pohpnei in the Federated States of Micronesia. This has resulted in a formal MOU for research and food system implementation partnerships.  The team has been developing a holistic vision for Pohnpei State’s sustainable food system development that includes climate smart agribusiness and aquaculture opportunities for capacity building, job creation and increased economic independence. Support for this has been supported with several external and internal grants. To date this includes a grant from Rutgers Global 2022-2023. Food Security for Island Nations in a Changing Climate (Schofield, Seidel, Simon, $10,000) grant and an external award from the Green Climate Fund 2022. Climate-resilient food security for farming households across the Federated States of Micronesia. PIs Simon, Seidel, Schofield ($245,000)
    • Scott Glenn and Travis Miles participated in the 4-day United Nations Ocean Decade Co-Design Workshop, helping NOAA co-lead the Tropical Cyclone Exemplar. Their Exemplar attracted over 60 international experts in tropical cyclone observations, forecasting and warnings to co-design an international U.N. response that includes less developed countries and small island developing states.  Scott and Travis  have been invited to join the overall international Co-Design Team.


    Newly Funded Research 

    • Texas A&M University (National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine):  Improving Loop Current Ocean Observations and Prediction. (Scott Glenn, $172,049, 1 year)
    • National Science Foundation Long Terrm Ecosystem Research Palmer Station:  Ecological Response and Resilience to “Press-Pulse” Disturbances and a Recent Decadal Reversal in Sea Ice Trends Along the West Antarctic Peninsula. (Oscar Schofield, $1,187,258, 1 year)


    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

      • Mathieu Gentil, Claude Estournel, Xavier Durrieu de Madron, Gaël Many, Travis Miles, Patrick Marsaleix, Serge Berné, François Bourrin, Sediment dynamics on the outer-shelf of the Gulf of Lions during a storm: An approach based on acoustic glider and numerical modeling, Continental Shelf Research, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2022.104721.
    • Northeast Fisheries Science Center and contributors. 2022. State of the Ecosystem 2022: Mid-Atlantic. Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Access report here. Grace Saba and Lori Garzio were contributing authors.
    • Northeast Fisheries Science Center and contributors. 2022. State of the Ecosystem 2022 Report: New England. Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Access report here. Grace Saba and Lori Garzio were contributing authors.


  • RUCOOL Updates: February – March 2022

    Posted on April 26th, 2022 Mike Crowley No comments

    Spring has arrived and we are smack in the middle of a busy semester of teaching and research. Offshore wind continues to be a focus for both current and proposed projects as we quickly approach summer. 2022 promises to be the busiest for glider deployments in a long, long time, and the R/V Rutgers will be key to that work, not to mention that the boat will be transporting loads of students out on the water for classes research.


    • Forecasters from the National Weather Service (NWS) met with Rutgers’ graduate student Casey Jones in February to discuss career paths within their agency.  Casey is presently a student in the Masters of Operational Oceanography program. Casey met with Lead Marine Forecaster Sarah Johnson as well as Science and Operations Officer Brian Haines. They shared their career experiences working in the agency and described entry level and internship opportunities for Casey to pursue with the Weather Service.


    • Grace Saba and Dave Aragon, Josh Kohut and Oscar Schofield had two Top Cited Articles in 2020-2021  in Limnology and Oceanography (Wiley Publishers). Grace’s paper was titled “Toward a better understanding of fish-based contribution to ocean carbon flux” ( Dave, Josh and Oscar’s paper was titled “FIReglider: Mapping in situ chlorophyll variable fluorescence with autonomous underwater gliders” was recently recognized as a top cited article (2020-2021).” (
    • RUCOOL was able to assist former NOAA Gulf Stream forecaster Jenifer Clark in research for a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida that occurred when a passenger fell off a Disney cruise line.  Florida law is in effect if the location of the vessel was NOT in the Gulf Stream at the time of death.  If it was in the Gulf Stream, then international waters will try the case. Jen used RUCOOL archived satellite data to locate the Gulf Stream edge on the day of the accident.
    • The RUCOOL education team continues to work on the national 4-H STEM Challenge which will be released in October 2022.


    • The RUCOOL education team is planning a big implementation of the Data to the Rescue: Penguins Need Our Help at Liberty Science Center in Jun 2022 for 200 kids –  see  our example Polar Literacy videos at

    Student Awards

    • Ph.D. student Lauren Cook was awarded the Frank Marmin Memorial scholarship from the International Women’s Fishing Association.
    • RUCOOL grad student Joe Gradone was selected to receive the 2022 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Award.  This fellowship is awarded in recognition of academic excellence and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) achievements, from over 3,000 applicants.  The award will cover all of his graduate school costs for the next 3 years.
    • Liza Wright-Fairbanks gave the Marine Technology Society (MTS) Walter Munk Scholar Award Commemorative Lecture on March 29, with the introduction and moderating by Dean Laura Lawson. This Zoom lecture had 75 attendees and was a follow up to her MTS award and lecture in fall 2021.
    • Congratulations to RUCOOL grad student Sam Coakley on successfully completing his Masters defense entitled “The evolution of a stratified upper ocean under tropical cyclone forcing.” Sam will be moving on to work at the US Climate Variability and Predictability Program.

    Newly Funded Research 

    • Vetelsen, “Challenger Glider Mission,” S. Glenn, O. Schofield and T. Miles ($150,000, 1 year).
    • NJ Department of Environmental Protection, “An ecological and oceanographic baseline to inform offshore wind development over the continental shelf off the coast of New Jersey,”  Grace Saba & Josh Kohut ($2,503,552, 2 years). Press release link:
    • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (NOAA CINAR), “Ocean Acidification Synthesis Products,” Grace Saba ($78,999, 1 year)

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Michael R. Stukel, Oscar M.E. Schofield, Hugh W. Ducklow, Seasonal variability in carbon:234 thorium ratios of suspended and sinking particles in coastal Antarctic waters: Field data and modeling synthesis, Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Volume 184, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2022.103764
    • Schofield, O., A. Fassbender, M. Hood, K. Hill, and K. Johnson (2022), A global ocean biogeochemical observatory becomes a reality, Eos, 103, DOI: 10.1029/2022EO220149
    • Slesinger, E., Bates, K., Wuenschel, M., Saba, G. 2022. Regional differences in energy allocation of black sea bass (Centropristis striata) along the US Northeast Shelf (36°N – 42°N) and throughout the spawning season. Journal of Fish Biology, DOI: 10.1111/jfb.15023
    • Schwartzman, B., Saba, G.K. 2021. Workshop Summary: Developing a Statewide Ocean Acidification Monitoring Network for New Jersey. November 19, 2021 (virtual). Access report here.
    • Gutt, J., Isla, E., Xavier, J., Adams, B., Ahn, I.-Y., Cheng, C.-H., Colesi, C., Cummings, V., Griffiths, H., Hogg, I., McIntyre, T., Meiners, K., Pearse, D., Peck, L., Piepenburg, D., Reisinger, R., Saba, G.K., Schloss, I., Signori, C., Smith, C.R., Vacchi, M., Verde, C., Wall, D. 2022. Ten scientific messages on risks and opportunities for life in the Antarctic. Antarctic Environments Portal:
    • Thompson, T., Wright-Fairbanks, E., Barnard, A.H., Branham, C.W., Saba, G.K. 2021. Best Practices for Sea-Bird Scientific deep ISFET-based pH sensor integrated into a Slocum Webb Glider. OCEANS 2021: San Diego – Porto. San Diego, CA, 2021, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.23919/OCEANS44145.2021.9706067.
    • Sheehan, A., Saba, G., Nardelli, S., Beaird, N. 2021. Developing open-source analysis pipeline for a glider-based Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP). OCEANS 2021: San Diego – Porto. San Diego, CA, 2021, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.23919/OCEANS44145.2021.9706028.

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences 

    RUCOOL attended several conferences this February and March, however, one stands out amongst the rest.  Every two years, the oceanography research community comes together at the Ocean Sciences meeting, which was held virtually in February 2022 due to COVID-19. In addition to 10/12 Rutgers RIOS students giving talks, the  RUCOOL team contributed to 26 presentations, including:

    • Ackleson, S. G., Schofield, O. 2022. Regional size distribution and morphology of particles suspended in ocean waters adjacent to the West Antarctic Peninsula.
    • Bailey, K., Brenner, J., Glenn, S., Miles, T., etal., Coastal Monitoring Using Underwater Profiling Gliders During the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
    • Bourrin, F., Gentil, M., Durrieu de Madron, X., Miles, T., Suspended Particles Characteristics from Glider Observation in a Region of Freshwater Influence.
    • **Conroy, J., Steinberg, D., **Nardelli, S., Schofield, O. 2022. Trophic ecology of juvenile Antarctic krill: A multi-method approach.
    • ** Diou-Cass, Q., Schofield, O. 2022. Using physiological models to quantify trends in phytoplankton photoacclimation and growth over decades of change in the Western Antarctic Peninsula.
    • **Diou-Cass, Q., Waite, N., Schofield, O., 20 Years of Pigment Data Suggests Regional Shift In Energy Supply To Phytoplankton Communities In The Western Antarctic Peninsula.
    • Gentil, M., Bourrin, F., Estournel, C., Durrieu de Madron, X., Miles, T., Sediment Dynamics on the Outer Shelf of the Gulf of Lions during an Onshore Storm: an Approach based on Acoustic Glider and Numerical Modeling.
    • Gong, D., Wang, H., Kerfoot, J., Miles, T., Crowley, M., Glenn, S., Schofield, O. 2022. Improved thermal lag correction for pumped glider CTD.
    • **Gradone, J., Miles, T., Glenn, S., Wilson, D., Smith, M., Observing Essential Ocean Features in the Eastern Caribbean for a Safe and Predicted Ocean.
    • Hann, A., Bernard, K., Kohut, J., Oliver, M., Statscewich, H., New Insight into Salpa thompsoni Distribution via Glider-borne Acoustics.
    • Kohut, J., Glenn, S., McDonnell, J., Miles, T., Saba, G., Schofield, O., Lopez, A. 2022. Workforce Development Supporting the Blue Economy: A Master’s Program of Integrated Ocean Observing at Rutgers University.
    • Knap, A., Salas de Leon, D., DiMarco, S., Whilden, K., Whelan, C., Glenn, S., Working together; trans-national effort to install and operate 2 HF Radars across the Yucatan Straight.
    • Lin, Y., Cassar, Moreno, Marchetti, A., Ducklow, H., Schofield, O., Delage, E., Meredith, M., Li, Z., Eveillard, D., Chaffron, S. 2022. Decline in plankton diversity and carbon flux with reduced sea ice extent along the Western Antarctic Peninsula.
    • Miles, T., Slade, W., Glenn, S., Particle Size and Concentration Observations from a Glider Integrated In-situ Scattering and Transmissometry (LISST) Sensor.
    • **Nardelli, S., Schofield O. 2022. Assessing the ecological drivers of phytoplankton bloom phenology in coastal Antarctica.
    • Nazzaro, L., Kohut, J., Brodie, J., Morse, L., Baurmgartner, M., Dreyfus, C., Ezzat, A., Mapping North Atlantic right whale distribution relative to coastal ocean features in the Mid Atlantic Bight.
    • Passacantando, M., Kohut, J., **Veatch, J., The Decadal Impact from Suppression of Eddy-Diffusivity on Surface Mixing in the Southern Ocean through ARGO Float Analysis.
    • Roarty, H., Evaluation of the NOAA Operational Forecast System in Delaware Bay.
    • ***Romano, J., Schofield, O. 2022. A Closer look at the pH variability of the Southern Ocean in a Warming Climate.
    • Saba, G., Gangopadhyay, A., Gawarkiewicz, G., Anomalous intrusions of warm core ring water onto the Mid-Atlantic Bight shelf alleviate acidification but increase warming during summer 2021.
    • Schofield, O., Waite, N., Steinberg, D. 2022 Food web dynamics along a changing West Antarctic Peninsula.
    • Stienbarger, C., Smith, E., Goni, G., Kim, H., Le Henaff, M., Miles, T., Thruston, S., Building bridges between the observing and modeling communities: NOAA works toward improving tropical cyclone intensity forecasts.
    • **Turner, J., Dierssen, H., Schofield, O., Stammerjohn, S., Kim, H., Munroe, D. 2022. Interannual variability of satellite derived phytoplankton indices west of the Antarctic Peninsula 1997-2021.
    • **Veatch, J., Fredj, E., Kohut, J., Using Lagrangian Coherent Structures to Quantify Prey Concentrating Features in Coastal Biological Hotspot.
    • Wang, H., Gong, D., Friedrichs, M., Harris, C., Miles, T., Zhang., Y., Canyon upwelling and downwelling in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.
    • *** Zembricki, E., Schofield, O. 2022. Are you krilling me? How humpback whales are impacting a rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula.

    (*** undergraduate student, ** graduate student or postdoctoral researcher)

  • RUCOOL Updates: December 2021 – January 2022

    Posted on February 16th, 2022 Mike Crowley No comments

    Hello 2022! Yes, many of us started the first 30 days of the year remotely, but we are now back in the office and in person for classes. It’s been a busy 9 weeks of proposal writing in addition to all the goings on listed below. RUCOOL will likely be adding to our team in the coming months as our offshore operations expand.



    • Congratulations to Dr. Emily Slesinger (Grace Saba advisor) who successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Black sea bass physiology and life history in the context of seasonal and long-term climate change.” Emily is now working as a NRC fellow at a NOAA NMFS lab in Newport, Oregon. 
    • Congratulations to Dr. Schuyler Nardelli (Oscar Schofield advisor) on defending her PhD thesis entitled “Seasonal dynamics of plankton ecology in coastal Antarctica.” Schuyler is now a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in Washington D.C. working with NOAA IOOS. 
    • Congratulations to Dr. Liza Wright-Fairbanks (Grace Saba Advisor) for successfully defending her dissertation, “Observing seasonal cycles, drivers, and potential biological impacts of ocean acidification in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.” Dr. Wright-Fairbanks is now a  Knauss Marine Policy Fellow working with the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program. 
    • Alex Lopez joined RUCOOL and began his work in heading up teaching/training for our 3rd cohort of Masters of Operational Oceanography students. The students have chosen their areas of theses research that will culminate in summer graduation. 
    • Chancellor-Provost of Rutgers Francine Conway, Vice Chancellor Alex Perex, and SEBS Dean Laura Lawson, visited the COOLroom in December. It was great to see everyone in person, and we are looking forward to more visits this spring.
    • December and January are typically quiet times for our glider team, but this year we had four deployments off the NJ coast focused on right whale detection (Orsted), ocean acidification research (NOAA), and water quality measurements (NJDEP). 



    • NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Priorities for Weather Research (PWR) co-leads Scott Glenn (Rutgers oceanographer) and Brad Colman (Climate Corporation meteorologist) have entered the communication phase of the PWR Report.  So far in 2022, they hosted a community Town Hall (165+ attendees) at the American Meteorology Society (AMS) meeting and have presented to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
    • Hugh Roarty gave a webinar on “Multi-Mission Radar for the US Coast Guard” for 80 homeland security stakeholders.  The webinar series is sponsored by the Maritime Security Center, A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence
    • The RUCOOL Education team has been working on the 4-H STEM Challenge for fall 2022, highlighting climate change research and gliders in three activities:
      • Ocean Robot Lab: In this activity, youth will test an ocean robot to understand how they work. They will look through data collected by ocean robots and scenarios where ocean robots are pivotal to study. Youth may take the glider apart and reverse engineer it to further explore how it works.
      • Ocean Expedition: In this activity, youth will compete in a board game to navigate their ocean robot around the world while learning key ocean concepts. Topics include aquaculture, climate change, innovation, human impacts, and the marine ecosystem. 
      • Ocean Communicator:  In this activity, youth will investigate four ocean challenges that ocean scientists, engineers, and technologists are currently exploring. Each challenge requires collective innovations, technical solutions, and strives to inspire public action.  



    • Grace Saba was invited to participate in the Environmental Defense Fund-Bezos Earth Fund Open Ocean Blue Carbon Workshops focused on natural climate solutions in the open ocean: readiness of four proposed pathways to serve as a source of high-quality carbon credits. These workshops spanned three sessions from December 2021-January 2022.
    • Rutgers has been participating in the NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Palmer Station Antarctica for over 30 years. Graduate students Quintin Diou-Cass and Joe Gradone returned from a successful research season aboard the R/V Nathaniel Palmer which was offshore of the West Antarctic Peninsula. Now it’s time to get to work analyzing the data!
    • The RUCOOL team released the new Palmer LTER website. This website not only serves as the information portal for possible researchers, but also as a data archive for data acquired at Palmer LTER, since 1991.
    • Oscar Schofield coordinated the formation of a technology task team for the Southern Ocean Observing System.
    • Oscar Schofield joins the Resource Strategy Group for the international G7 Future of the Seas and Ocean Initiative, coordinating the development and deployment of the global Bio-Argo array. 
    • The Palmer LTER conducted its research expedition in December, that included a major 31 day cruise as well as deployment and recovery of gliders in Antarctica


    Newly Funded Research 

    • NJ Department of Environmental Protection, “Calibration Experiments for a Novel Clam Survey Dredge and Monitoring Carbonate Chemistry of Surfclam Habitat,” Daphne Munroe PI, Grace Saba co-PI ( $865,440, 1 year).
    • National Science Foundation, “OCB Fish, Fisheries and Carbon Workshop: An emerging research direction in the ocean biological carbon sink,” Grace Saba ($30,000, 1 year).
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Integrated Ocean Observing System (through University of Delaware MARACOOS), “MARACOOS Data to Model Comparisons,” Travis Miles ($143,000, 1 year). 
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Integrated Ocean Observing System (through University of Delaware MARACOOS), “IOOS Glider DAC,” Michael Crowley ($135,500, 1 year). 
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Integrated Ocean Observing System (through University of Delaware MARACOOS), “MARACOOS (Mid-Atlantic IOOS): Powering Understanding and Prediction of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, Coast and Estuaries,”  Oscar Schofield ($1,108,577, 1 year). 
    • University of Puerto Rico, “Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observation System – CARICOOS,” Hugh Roarty ($51,000, 1 year).
    • NASA Rapid Response Program. 2022-2023. “Improving our understanding in situ carbon dynamics to ocean color in the Southern Ocean by adding bio-optical instrumentation to the SOCCOM Float-based Observing System” Oscar Schofield ($271,000, 1 year).
    • CODAR Ocean Sensors, “Wind Turbine Interference Mitigation,” Hugh Roarty ($25,000, 1 year).


    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Sipps, K., Arbuckle-Keil, G., Fahrenfeld, N., Walsh, K., Garzio, L., Chant, R., Saba, G. 2022. Pervasive occurrence of microplastics in Hudson-Raritan estuary zooplankton. Science of the Total Environment 817: 152812,
    • Miles, T.N., D. Zhang, G.R. Foltz, J. Zhang, C. Meinig, F. Bringas, J. Triñanes, M. Le Hénaff, M.F. Aristizabal Vargas, S. Coakley, C.R. Edwards, D. Gong, R.E. Todd, M.J. Oliver, W.D. Wilson, K. Whilden, B. Kirkpatrick, P. Chardon-Maldonado, J.M. Morell, D. Hernandez, G. Kuska, C.D. Stienbarger, K. Bailey, C. Zhang, S.M. Glenn, and G.J. Goni. 2021. Uncrewed ocean gliders and saildrones support hurricane forecasting and research. Pp. 78–81 in Frontiers in Ocean Observing: Documenting Ecosystems, Understanding Environmental Changes, Forecasting Hazards. E.S. Kappel, S.K. Juniper, S. Seeyave, E. Smith, and M. Visbeck, eds, A Supplement to Oceanography 34(4), DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2021.supplement.02-28
    • Russell, J. L., Long, D. G,  Chang, P., Cowell, M., Curchister, E., Dinniman, M. S., Fellows, C., Goodman, P. J., Hofmann, E. E., Jelenak, Z., Klinck, J., Lovenduski, N., Lofverstrom, M., Mazloff, M., Petroy, S., Polit, A., Rodriguez, E., Schofield, O., Stouffer, R. J., Wanninkhof, R., Weimerr, C., Zeng, X. 2021. Measuring Winds from Space to Reduce the Uncertainty in the Southern Ocean Carbon Budget: An Observing System Design Experiment and Proposed Mission. Geophysical Research Letters doi: DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10506276.1
    • Bascur M, Morley SA, Meredith MP, Muñoz-Ramírez CP, Barnes DKA, Schloss IR, Sands CJ, Schofield O, Román-Gonzaléz A, Cárdenas L, Venables H, Brante A, Urzúa Á. 2021. Interpopulational differences in the nutritional condition of Aequiyoldia eightsii (Protobranchia: Nuculanidae) from the Western Antarctic Peninsula during austral summer. PeerJ 9:e12679 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.12679
    • Kim, H., Bowman, J. S., Luo, Y., Ducklow, H. W., Schofield, O. M., Steinberg, D. K., Doney, S. C. 2022. Modeling polar marine ecosystem functions guided by bacterial physiological and taxonomic traits. Biogeosciences. DOI: 10.5194/bg-19-117-2022
    • Friedland, K. D., Miles, T., Goode, A.G., Powell, E. N., & Brady, D. C. (2022). The Middle Atlantic Bight Cold Pool is warming and shrinking: Indices from in situ autumn seafloor temperatures.Fisheries Oceanography,31(2),217–223. DOI: 10.1111/fog.12573
    • Wang, J., Fu, L., Haines, B., Lankhorst, M., Archers, M., Aragon, D., Bigorre, S., Chao, Y., Farrar, T., Kerfoot, J., Lucas, A., Meinig, C., Ray, R., Sandwell, D., Send, U., Sevadijan, J., Schofield, O., Stalin, S. 2022. On the development of SWOT in situ Calibration/Validation of the short-wavelength ocean topography. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic technology. DOI: 10.1175/JTECH-D-21-0039.1


    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences 

    RUCOOL continues to lead/attend numerous virtual meetings. Here are some meetings which our team attended and/or presented: Hurricane Glider Hotwash (NOAA IOOS), Raritan River Consortium Meeting, US Navy Glider Hotwash (NOAA IOOS), Underwater Glider Usergroup Planning Meetings, Environmental Defense Fund-Bezos Earth Fund Open Ocean Blue Carbon Workshop, ​​Global OceanGliders Steering Committee Meeting, National Academies of Sciences U.S. Committee for the U.N. Ocean Decade meetings, NOAA Science Advisory Board Environmental Information Services Working Group meetings. 


  • Understanding penguin and whale behavior using GPS tags

    Posted on December 20th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    Authors: Megan Cimino, Ross Nichols, Megan Roberts, Darren Roberts

    When we are not surveying from the large research vessel, we conduct our research from small boats (“zodiacs”) to either find whales or take us to islands with penguin breeding colonies. One of our main goals is to understand the foraging behavior of whales and penguin – where they go to find food, how deep they have to dive and how much time and effort they spend foraging. To do this, we use high-tech tags to measure time, depth and location, and some tags can even record video or measure ocean conditions like temperature.

    From left to right: Ross Nichols, Darren Roberts, Megan Roberts, Megan Cimino

    The process for tagging a whale and a penguin is very different but in both cases the tag is relatively small compared to the animal’s body size and so it causes little disturbance to the animal.


    A comparison of tag sizes in relation to a human hand


    Whales, despite being a mammal, have bodies that are mostly hairless and lack small appendages where a tag could be secured. Instead, we use suction cups to attach our tags to their smooth bodies which can stay on their bodies for more than a full day. To attach the tag, we stand at the front of a small boat on a specialized platform called a “pulpit”. From the pulpit we hold a very long pole with the tag clipped into the far end. As we approach a whale in the small boat, we stick the tag onto the animal’s back, holding the tag onto the animal’s body through suction. The tag then records the movement of the animal, the dive depths, as well as recording audio and video.

    After losing suction over time while on the whale, the tag eventually loosens and releases on its own, floating to the surface. The tag then sends us a GPS ping where we can go to recover the tag and download the data! This data is very exciting because we can view the video of the animal and their environment and see how that relates to their behavior.

    To tag a penguin, you first need to choose and capture an adult that has 1 or 2 chicks so that you can make sure the adult will return to the nest and you can get the tag back from the penguin in the same place where you found it. The tag is then attached to the penguins back with tape and zip ties. In a few days, we return to the penguin’s nest to remove the tag, and are then able to download the data! We are always excited to see where the penguin went (usually within 10 km of its colony) and how deep it dove (usually 20-50 meters).

  • Understanding seabird and whale distributions and populations from a big boat

    Posted on December 15th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    Megan Cimino, Ross Nichols, Megan Roberts, Darren Roberts

    During this research cruise, the whale and seabird teams mainly spend the day on the ship’s bridge recording all seabird, seal and whale species. Because we are in Antarctica during the spring, there are very few hours of darkness, roughly midnight to 3 am. Therefore, the seabird team members – Megan and Megan – work in shifts, one person working in the early morning to midday and one member working midday to midnight. We have seen a variety of seabirds ranging from large albatross (the size of a small dog) to tiny storm petrels (the size of a hamster).

    When the ship is near important penguin breeding colonies, the seabird researchers take a small boat to shore to count the number of nesting penguins to understand how their populations change over time in response to environmental conditions. A few days ago, team counted nearly 10,000 penguins in 7 hours using hand clickers, which required hiking over 6 miles in snowy and windy conditions. At this time of year, the penguins are beginning to lay and incubate their eggs that will hatch in late December.

    When a feeding and slow-moving group of whales are spotted from the ship, this provides an opportunity for the whale researchers – Ross and Darren – to go out in a small zodiac boat to take pictures and other biological samples. Pictures of whale flukes allow scientists to identify individual whales because their fluke is similar to a human’s fingerprint- everyone is unique! This allows us to estimate individual animal movements and population size. Small samples of the animal’s blubber can be used to determine if a whale is male or female, and can also identify if a female is pregnant. By monitoring the ratio of males to females and the rates of pregnancy, we can assess the health and growth of whale populations.

    Identify a Whale! Can you tell these whale flukes apart?

    These observations and samples are important because seabirds, seals, and whales are the major predators in Antarctica. These indicator species can tell us a lot about the health of the ocean’s ecosystem. It is difficult to know how many fish and krill are in the Southern Ocean but we can learn a lot by studying the health of larger animals that feed on them. Changes in the health of the animals or changes in species observed can tell us how the ecosystem is changing, especially in the context of climate change. As temperatures are warming rapidly in this polar region, it is very important to understand how these animals are responding to these changes to learn more about the overall health of our oceans.


  • RUCOOL Updates: October-November 2021

    Posted on December 15th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    And just like that, we are approaching the end of 2021. It was good to see students back in the classroom and labs, on beaches and boats, and even traveling south for summer research in Antarctica.  


    • Our 3rd cohort Masters of Operational Oceanography students have almost completed their first semester, which actually started in early August with software and glider training. This fall, in addition to classes and lab work, they have been on glider deployments and recoveries as well as HF-Radar site visits. 
    • The NJDEP Commissioner, Shawn LaTourette, along with Bob Schuster and Megan Brunatti visited COOL in October. Discussions focused on offshore wind development, climate resilience and improving coastal water quality. Shawn posted a video of his visit. 
    • The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) visited RUCOOL in November. The attendees are active in the state’s development of 7.5 GW of offshore wind, as part of its goal to have 100% clean energy by 2050. Several representatives from each agency participated on a career panel with students in the Topics of Marine Sciences class, discussing their diverse career paths that led to their current positions with the state, and the myriad ways that today’s students might play a role in New Jersey’s blue economy. 
    • Grace Saba organized and hosted a virtual workshop on November 19th focused on Developing a New Jersey Statewide Ocean Acidification Monitoring Network.
    • The R/V Rutgers engine issue was fixed by Captain Chip Haldeman. We expect the R/V Rutgers to head to Tuckerton for winter glider deployments and recovery support for Orsted and other projects.
    • Our glider team continued a very busy fall in Oct/Nov supporting 11 deployments from the Gulf of Maine to the Jersey coast all the way down to the Caribbean. These gliders swam over 5400 kilometers and supported grants from NOAA, NSF, Orsted, NJDEP and the Vetelsen Foundation. It will be a busy winter of data analysis.
    • The COOLroom and glider lab were once again open for visits and tours this fall, beginning in late October. Over 40 visitors from NJDEP, NJBPU, Bermuda, Chile, the NJ Wind Institute and Rutgers Open House toured COOL
    • RUCOOL welcomed back Dean Robert Goodman to the COOLroom for a ceremony adding a plaque in his name to our RUCOOL Wall of Fame. The plaque states “For acting on his vision of new academic paradigms, empowering generations of ocean explorers to build and apply ocean observing networks that advance our science and support a global community embarking on a new blue economy.” 


    • Scott Glenn completed an active year co-leading the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) efforts to meet its commitments to the U.S. Congress.  Scott Glenn (academic oceanographer) and Brad Colman (industry meteorologist) co-chair the SAB’s Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) and the SAB’s decadal Priorities for Weather Research (PWR) study. The PWR report, now approved by the full SAB and forwarded to the NOAA Administrator for submission to Congress, was a year-long study involving over 150 subject matter experts to define Federal investment priorities in weather research and forecasting.  The PWR report identifies 11 priority areas, 33 high-level recommendations and 102 critical actions for investment that, taken together, will transform U.S. Earth System forecasting and promote a more Weather Ready Nation that includes historically underserved and socially vulnerable communities. The PWR report is now being used to help inform the largest increase in NOAA’s budget since its formation over 50 years ago. The EISWG’s 2021 annual Report to Congress (RtC) on NOAA progress implementing The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (“The Weather Act”)  was approved by the SAB and forwarded to the NOAA Administrator for submission to Congress.  The RtC includes the EISWG review of the NOAA Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (HFIP) led by Scott Glenn.
    • The hurricane season came to a conclusion at the end of November. Through NOAA funding, our team was involved with numerous glider deployments and a US team measuring the impacts of the storms on the ocean and vice versa throughout not only the mid Atlantic, but the southeast coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as well. Our HF-Radar team tracked the eye of Ida off NJ and Long Island, showing the National Weather Service’s estimated eye track was a few miles east of the true storm center. It will be a long winter of data analysis as we work to improve hurricane forecast intensity models. 
    • RUCOOL Post-doc Jessica Valenti presented her research “Microplastics in the Marine Food Web: Insights from a Larval Fish Collection at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation virtual meeting (oral presentation) and the American Fisheries Society meeting in Baltimore, MD (poster). 
    • PhD student Emily Slesinger gave an oral presentation titled “​​Interaction between shifting fish distributions and migration distances on reproduction: a case study with black sea bass” at the American Fisheries Society meeting in Baltimore, MD.
    • The RUCOOL Education Team received $750,000 from NSF to develop online tools to help university researchers connect their research with society. Their new toolkit will support scientists, engineers and other researchers in planning and developing education and outreach projects that support and explain their work. 
    • Oscar Schofield reappointed to the Federal Advisory Committee overseeing the US Integrated Ocean Observing System


    • Oscar Schofield Chaired a National Academy of Sciences and Medicine Study entitled “Mid-Course Assessment of NSF progress on 2015 Strategic Vision for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research”.
    • Rutgers has been participating in the NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Palmer Station Antarctica for over 30 years. Graduate students Quintin Diou-Cass and Joe Gradone boarded the R/V Nathaniel Palmer to head to the West Antarctic Peninsula. We wish them all well for their summer Southern Ocean exploration.

    Newly Funded Research 

    • University of Delaware through NOAA IOOS, “Mid Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System,” Schofield & Crowley ($1,108,577, 1 year). First of two parts.
    • State of NJ Department of Environmental Protection, “Glider deployments for water quality monitoring,” Kohut ($84,464, 1 year).
    • CODAR Ocean Sensors, “Wind Turbine Interference Mitigation Data Backfill,” Roarty ($24,885, 1 year).
    • National Science Foundation, “Implementation and Evaluation of the ARIS Broader Impacts Toolkit,” McDonnell ($749,866, 3 years).
    • Rider University through the National Science Foundation, “Improving Undergraduate Scientific Explanations: Exploring the Role of Data Literacy Skills in Scientific Reasoning,” Lichtenwalner ($19,099 for 1 year). 

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Miles, T., S. Murphy, J. Kohut, S. Borsetti, and D. Munroe (2021), Offshore wind energy and the mid-atlantic cold pool: A review of potential interactions, Mar. Technol. Soc. J., 55(4), 72–87, DOI:10.4031/MTSJ.55.4.8
    • Schofield, O. (Chair), Barger, A., Brunt, K., Clauer, R., Das, I., Detrich, W., Gooseff, M., Halanych, K., Halpern, M., Murray, A., Rignot, E., Shevenell, A., Takai, H., Wilson, T., Wolff, E. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Mid-Term Assessment of Progress on the 2015 Strategic Vision for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: 10.17226/26338
    • Roarty, H. (2022), Measuring Currents with High Frequency Radar, Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, 2022

    Public Media

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences 

    RUCOOL continues to lead/attend numerous virtual meetings. Here are some meetings which our team attended and/or presented: MARACOOS Board Meeting, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Meeting, American Fisheries Society Meeting, Supporting OA Action Planning and Implementation in the Mid-Atlantic Workshop, Integrated Ocean Observing System Annual Meeting, Hudson River Foundation Continuous Monitoring Practitioner Meeting, Underwater Glider International User Group Meeting, Cakefest PHP Meeting, NJ EDA Wind Institute Meeting.

  • Zoop Soup!

    Posted on December 14th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    RUCOOL is working with the Virginia Inst of Marine Sciences on our National Science Foundation (NSF) Long Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) project in Antarctica.

    Who: The zooplankton team/members of Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Steinberg lab

    What: The zooplankton team has begun to conduct MOCNESS tows

    When: December 2, 2021

    Where: The more southern part of ocean next to the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    Why: We perform MOCNESS tows to collect zooplankton from different depths. This lets us see how animals change as depth changes!

    Finally!! We were able to put the “MOCNESS” in the water! “MOCNESS” is not a sea monster! It stands for “Multiple Opening Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System.” It’s not as complicated as it sounds. It is basically nine nets in one. We send all the nets down at once and then slowly bring the net up. As it comes up, we open one net, collect the animals that are there, and then close the net. Then we open the next net and repeat the process. This lets us see what animals live at different depths. The MOCNESS collects animals as deep as 1000m and as shallow as 50m!

    Now what are these animals we are collecting? They are “zooplankton”! “Zooplankton” are any animal that cannot swim against the ocean currents. This can describe jellyfish, krill (shrimp-like animals), or larval (young) animals like crab and lobster. Zooplankton are everywhere and can come in all different shapes and sizes! In Antarctica the most common animals we catch are krill, copepods (think plankton from Spongebob!), chaetognaths (worms), and pteropods (snails). These animals are typically found shallow in the water column, so we can catch them in our simpler “Metro nets.” Metro nets are single nets that stay open all the time. We send them down to shallower depths and they collect the zooplankton they encounter.

    So, now you know why the MOCNESS tows are special – we get to go deeper and we know where the animal came from! Another bonus is that we see animals that would never show up in our simpler nets because they live in deeper waters. For example, in our MOCNESS tows we may see a lot of red and black amphipods (bugs), big jellyfish, and sea spiders!

    After we conduct Metro tows or a MOCNESS tow, we work as a team to identify, count, and measure the volume of every animal. We may also conduct experiments on the live animals!. One is a “fecal pellet production experiment” – essentially watching and waiting for the animals to poop! We place the animal in a bucket full of seawater, leave it for a few hours, and then collect its poop. We want to learn more about the carbon and nitrogen that goes to the bottom of the ocean when these animals poop! Our other experiment involves larval (or young) fishes. In this experiment we want to measure their “thermal tolerance,” or what is the hottest temperature they can survive at. The fishes in these experiments are typically not found in other parts of the world!

    About the Authors: Maya Thomas and Tor Mowatt-Larssen are graduate students at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Meredith Nolan is a senior at the College of William & Mary. This is all their first time to Antarctica!

    Images: a. The zooplankton team admiring the Antarctic scenery before a net tow. (Left to Right: Maya Thomas, Meredith Nolan, Tor Mowatt-Larssen).  b. A Metro net coming out of the water with all the zooplankton that it has collected.  c. Maya Thomas with a large jellyfish from a Metro tow. These are rare to find in our nets!  d. An example of what a Metro net collects. The large, orange animals that look like shrimp are Antarctic krill!