Biological Sampling by Physical Oceanographers

OOMG’s Joe Zambon and MEAS technician Marco Valera pouring sea water samples for analysis. Photo credit: John McCord (UNC Coastal Studies Institute)

MEAS technician Marco Valera from Dr. Astrid Schnetzer’s Plankton Ecology Lab has been collecting plankton samples by filtering hundreds of liters of water from various depths of CTD casts. Marco’s water samples are time-sensitive and need to be filtered immediately after arriving on the ship. OOMG’s Joe Zambon and NCSU Marine Science undergrad Lauren Ball have been happy to help out. After attending a few training sessions on-shore, they have spent some night shifts in the wet-lab filtering out hundreds of liters of sea water. These filtered samples will then be analyzed for DNA and chlorophyll to determine plankton concentrations at different depths along the east coast. The typical toolbox of the physical oceanographer does not include graduated cylinders, glass-fiber filters, test tubes, hydrochloric acid and syringes. However with any research cruise, everyone’s science is a priority and Joe, Lauren, and Marco have all had a hand in each other’s research.

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