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Project Costa Rica: Introducing The Scientists

Project Costa Rica will commence THIS Sunday, January 2nd! The project offers a berth on Pelican for a student or graduate with interests in a discipline within the  marine sciences. These are the six which have been chosen by our Head of Science, Charlotte Braungardt.

Jeremy DeMoss

Jeremy is employee of Fleetweather, a company that provides recommendations of course and speed to vessels across the world  with the aim to optimise emissions and promote decarbonisation of the marine industry. He will bring an automated weather station to the Pelican and take frequent meteorological and oceanographic observations during the voyage. He will record weather model data and analyse the accuracy of the models against his own observations. Some of this analysis will be done on board, part of it post-voyage, with the overall aim to investigate how weather conditions experienced onboard a vessel compare to the weather model and human forecasts that are provided. On my behalf, Jeremy will also introduce the NASA GLOBE Observer: Cloud app to the crew/voyage crew. This is a citizen science project that supports scientific research and school education around the world with provision of data. He may need help from the ship’s engineer for installation of the weather station and also make use of some of the instrumentation already on board. Please see attached table for detail.

Thomas Stone 

Thomas studies marine biology at Oxford University. He, along with Frank Garita (a marine mammal expert working for a Costa Rican conservation project named SPLASH) will undertake dedicated marine mammal surveys with the aim to collect data on the mammal population and diversity, as well as get photo ID by getting closer to the animals and photographing the fluke of diving whales (especially humpback). The ideal conditions for photo ID work is calm seas, with the camera operator in the RIB, while other scientists continue surveying from the Peli is moving and in radio contact with RIB.

Hannah Gibbs

Hannah will be investigating micro and macroplastics in the water column, sediments and on beaches with the aim to investigate the extent and nature of plastic pollution in the ocean. For this she’ll be sampling with a plankton net while on anchor and perhaps trawling while moving slowly, as well as from a RIB if the opportunity arises. She will also work ashore for beach surveys of macroplastics and taking sediment samples. She’ll investigate samples using a microscope on board.

Megan Derrick

Megan will study the spatial distribution of zooplankton abundance in the relation to the Costa Rica Dome, an oceanographic feature off the Pacific coast. She will use plankton nets and the niskin bottle (Ocean College) to take samples while stationary, and also will deploy the CTD (Ocean College) and TriLUX instrument to investigate physical and biological parameters in the water column. She’ll use  a microscope (Ocean College) to identify zooplankton.

Emily Murphy Gray

Emily is planned to investigate spatial and temporal differences in ocean pH and relate any sub-optimal pH due to ocean acidification to the potential health impacts of the ecosystems, for example coral reefs and phytoplankton. The project plan includes regular measurements of pH, salinity and temperature (CTD, pH meter) and investigation of phytoplankton abundance with the TriLUX while stationary.

Sari Ponnet

 Sari is planned to investigate whether oceanographic (turbidity, salinity, temperature, pH, depth, currents), meteorological (wave height, rainfall, wind speed), geographical (population, river outflows, land use, maritime industires) and biological parameters (chlorophyll a and phycoerythrin pigments) are correlated along the coast of Costa Rica. The overall aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of natural and anthropogenic factors on the water quality and ecosystem in the region. The deployment of instruments (CTD, TriLUX, pH meter, Niskin bottle) and met obs are planned while the ship is on anchor.


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