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  • Today at the microscope: Diatom and Coccolithophore BFFs

    Today at the microscope: Diatom and Coccolithophore BFFs

    Yesterday as I was looking under the microscope at particles collected from the bottom of the ocean, and I came across this beautiful cell(s):   This centric diatom is surrounded by a halo of smaller coccolithophore cells.  The circle in the center is the diatom.  You can see the nano-patterns on the silica valve and […]
  • Plankton bloom at the 2017 MLML open house

    Plankton bloom at the 2017 MLML open house

    At this year’s MLML open housee we set up some microscopes in the biological oceanography lab so that visitors could explore and discover plankton.  In the morning before the open house I stopped at the wharf in Monterey to collect a phytoplankton net tow.  It was a beautiful morning, and an otter with her pup […]
  • Aggregating around Melia’s ASLO poster

    Aggregating around Melia’s ASLO poster

    Congratulations to Melia Paguirigan for being selected by the ASLO Multicultural Program to attend the 2017 ASLO meeting in Honolulu Hawaii. (ASLO = the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography)  Melia presented a poster about the research she conducted in my lab during summer 2016.  Read more about her research and experience here.  […]
  • New microscope, ready to bring out to sea!

    New microscope, ready to bring out to sea!

    This week I received my lab’s first microscope!  It is an Olympus SZX16 stereo microscope. This microscope will be used to image and quantify sinking particles collected in sediment traps.  It also fits easily into a carry-on size bag so that I can safely transport it out to sea.             […]
  • New NSF award to link plankton with sinking particles

    New NSF award to link plankton with sinking particles

    A new project in my lab was recently funded by the National Science foundation. (My first NSF award!) The title of the project is: “Collaborative Research: EAGER: Particle-specific DNA sequencing to directly observe ecological mechanisms of the biological pump” This project is a collaboration with my co-principal investigators Margaret Estapa (Skidmore College) and Melissa Omand […]
  • New publication: Evolution of silicon transporters in diatoms

    New publication: Evolution of silicon transporters in diatoms

    The evolution of silicon transporters in diatoms.  Journal of Phycology (html)(pdf) study co-authors: Julie Koester (UNC Wilmington), Sara Bender (Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), E. Virginia Armbrust (UW) The ornately patterned silica cell walls (“frustules”) formed by diatoms attract attention for their beauty, but also give diatoms a distinct and globally important role in the […]
  • Science and Art: the biological pump

    Science and Art: the biological pump

    It is always exciting when science and art intersect. This summer, science illustrator Natalie Renier created this beautiful image to help CSUMB REU student Melia Paguirigan communicate her research about diatom aggregation: The biological pump is very complex, and this image helped Melia communicate the components of that process that were directly related to her […]
  • Diatom community composition and aggregation

    Diatom community composition and aggregation

    Posted by CSUMB REU student Melia Paguirigan: This summer I participated in the California State University Monterey Bay Research Experience Undergraduate program, with Dr. Colleen Durkin as my mentor. Our project investigated the role of diatom community composition and morphology in aggregation. We collected whole seawater samples from Monterey Bay. Then I used a roller […]
  • Early summer particle flux at the New England continental shelf break

    Early summer particle flux at the New England continental shelf break

    Last week I visited Melissa Omand’s lab at the University of Rhode Island to analyze sediment trap samples collected on the R/V Endeavor.  Unfortunately I was not able to go on the cruise, but I was still lucky enough to look at the exciting samples they brought back. The types of samples collected on this […]
  • Today at the microscope (05/27/2016)

    Today at the microscope (05/27/2016)

    The main reason I enjoy working at the microscope is that I never know exactly what I will see.  Today while counting a preserved phytoplankton sample collected at the Rhode Island shelf break I spotted these cells: This is a chain of diatom cells (genus: Detonula, I think) undergoing a life cycle stage that allows […]
  • New publication: sinking phytoplankton associated with carbon flux

    New publication: sinking phytoplankton associated with carbon flux

    Our study of phytoplankton associated with sinking particles was recently published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. (link to open access publication) The amount of carbon that sinks out of the surface ocean in the form of organic particles is highly variable and difficult to predict, in part because the ecological processes that lead to […]
  • Surface phytoplankton and sinking particles offshore of Rhode Island

    Surface phytoplankton and sinking particles offshore of Rhode Island

    The “EN572” cruise aboard the R/V Endeavor was a success.  My goals on this cruise were to link the phytoplankton communities growing in the surface with the particle types sinking out of the surface.  We observed a very abundant and diverse phytoplankton community, including many different species of diatom and dinoflagellates. The sinking particles were […]
  • Drifting assets

    Drifting assets

    On this cruise we are deploying three different types of sediment traps, a remotely operated vehicle, and are recovering a glider. We are also taking water samples from the ship. One of our goals is to determine how best to coordinate these instruments with one another in order to resolve particle flux and the conditions […]
  • Departure and telepresence

    Departure and telepresence

    This morning we set sail, heading for the Rhode Island continental shelf break.  We are sailing on the R/V Endeavor: Unfortunately, Melissa, the chief scientist had to stay on the dock, because she is beyond the pregnancy threshold for sailing on a cruise. Instead, Melissa will be acting as chief scientist from shore and will […]
  • Preparing sediment traps

    Preparing sediment traps

    This week I am sailing on the R/V Endeavor off the coast of Rhode Island.  The cruise is lead by chief scientist Melissa Omand.  We’ll be deploying three different types of sediment traps and many other instruments that will resolve the physical and chemical  environment over short time periods and small spatial scales.  These types […]