Friday, May 22, 2009

Undersea Science 1000 Feet Above the Water

Photos from todays flight above East Sound, WA. Looking for plankton. We ran about 20 tracks up and down the sound, profiling the water to about 15 meters depth. Two flights today for a total of 3 hours in the air and 250 miles of distance covered. Most plankton are in layers between 8 and 12 meters deep.

There are many jellie blooms in the sound. This is understandable given the abundant plankton in the are. It's a spectacular sight from a plane.

Pilot Jay and myself on taxi.

Looking across the islands at the south end of the sound.

At work.

Jellies in a bloom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I like articles like this. This is one of my favorite sauces--since 1995.


Seeking Plankton

East Sound, WA.

East Sound and Orcas Island. (google maps)

It's an aquatic laboratory with the narrow sound on Orcas Island having the essence of the open ocean with a slower changing environment. Excellent for studying ocean life.

Looking south down the sound from the town of Eastsound.

Thus we come here with our lidar that detects scattering in shallow waters to study the plankton dynamics and compare it to in situ observations by biologists sampling and profiling the waters from a boat. It's an exciting study. It's a beautiful place.

The idea is to get ground proof that a lidar can detect and profile plankton remotely using aircraft in a short period of time. Not only mapping the area, but completely enough that the dynamics of the biology can be observed and tracked.

Our lidar (light detection and ranging) system fits nicely in a Cessna Cardinal.

Testing of the lidar before flight.

A little cramped for the operator but it works.

The plankton detecting lidar as seen from the operator.

We have a boat of biologists making measurements of the water where we see layers of stuff from the lidar.

Boat where in situ verification is performed.

Scientists recover an ocean profiler

A microscopic view of a critter in the sound.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009