A team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was onboard the R/V Neil Armstrong at the Pioneer Array, about 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in the Atlantic, deploying equipment and collecting data. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of the science party onboard was limited. These limits prevented participation by the Northeast U.S. Shelf Long-Term Ecological Research (NES-LTER) team, whose members would have been onboard under normal circumstances.
But through an innovative use of onboard technology, WHOI’s Shipboard Scientific Services Group made it possible for the NES-LTER team to receive data and images of phytoplankton and microzooplankton in near-real-time along the cruise track. The data were collected by Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCBs), which provide long term, high-resolution measurements of phytoplankton abundance and their cell properties. The data can be viewed here.
Said WHOI researcher Taylor Crockford from her research laboratory on land, who beta-tested the data transmission with the WHOI onboard team, “In this challenging time of the Coronavirus, we are thankful for this opportunity to continue long-term research into the productivity and food web on the Northeast U.S. Shelf while the cruise was underway.”
The Ocean Observatories Initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation.Read More
OOI data team members have developed a new toolbox for downloading data from the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) interface using MATLAB, making data access as easy as 1, 2, 3. The work expands on the existing tools available on OOI. This new toolbox covers data from moorings, gliders, and profilers in the OOI Coastal Arrays and can easily be extended to other research platforms. A video tutorial on how to use this new tool is provided above. (A pdf of the tutorial is provided below).
In three short steps – define the mooring, node, and instrument – users can easily and quickly access relevant OOI data. “This new approach eliminates some steps and makes it easy for anyone to find and access data they are looking for, “said Jonathan Fram, OOI Endurance Array Project Manager at Oregon State University (OSU). “We found this new approach really streamlined data access using the M2M interface and we are certain other OOI data users will find it similarly helpful.”
Developed by OOI OSU team members, Craig Risien and Russ Desiderio, these new tools are part of our ongoing effort to simplify access to OOI data to encourage its broader integration into scientific research and classroom content. A tutorial showing how to use MATLAB to access OOI data can be viewed here.
Other members of the OOI OSU team, Chris Wingard and Ian Black, are testing Python and R tools to explore OOI data, as well. Once the tools have been tested and vetted, they will be available along with other community-generated tools here.
This new tutorial adds to others that have been developed to help users integrate OOI data into their science.Read More
“Just like lightning,” in one-minute presentations, 15 scientists shared amazing ways they are using OOI data in scientific investigations and in the classroom. This round of lightning talks capped the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facility Board’s (OOIFB) Town Hall at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting on 20 February, demonstrating the multiple and creative ways OOI data are being used to answer key science questions in a changing environment.
The presentations ranged from how students are using real-life and real-time OOI data to advance their understanding of scientific principles to how researchers are using OOI data to identify the presence of marine life by sound to how modelers are making OOI data more accessible and useable.
“We were simply thrilled by the depth, breadth, and range of applications of OOI data shown during this lightning round,” Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB. “We were pleased so many presenters were willing to accept the challenge. This enthusiastic response clearly shows that OOI data are being used to help answer important science questions.”
Brief summaries of the talks are presented below.
Isabela Le Bras, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, reported on a recent article in Geophysical Research Letters, where she and her colleagues describe how they used data from the Irminger Sea Array moorings (2014–2016) to identify two water masses formed by convection and showing that they have different rates of export in the western boundary current. Upper Irminger Sea Intermediate Water appears to form near the boundary current and is exported rapidly within three months of its formation. Deep Irminger Sea Intermediate Water forms in the basin interior and is exported on longer time scales. The subduction of these waters into the boundary current is consistent with an eddy transport mechanism. The eddy transport process is more effective for the waters cooled near the boundary current, implying that cooling near boundary currents may be more important for the climate than has been appreciated to date.
Since 2017, Clare Reimers and Kristen Fogaren, Oregon State University, have been working to assess seasonal variability in benthic oxygen consumption and the contribution of benthic respiration to the development of hypoxic conditions in the northern California Current, using time series data from the OOI Endurance Array. Reimers and Fogaren measured benthic oxygen consumption rates using in situ eddy covariation techniques and ex situ core incubations, during a series of ten cruises that allowed sampling near the Endurance Oregon Shelf and Inshore stations, in all seasons. During these cruises, the researchers used real-time data provided by the Endurance Array to optimize the settings for their eddy covariance deployments. They are now examining property-relationships in discrete bottom water samples collected during the cruises and using data from OOI assets to help separate influences of mixing and biochemical processes in the water column and sediments. The researchers are also synthesizing benthic flux measurements and placing these rates in the context of cross-shelf glider measurements and benthic node time series.
Adrienne Silver, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth provided details about how she is using Pioneer Array data to learn more about the influence of warm core rings on Shelf break circulation. Results from a 40-year Warm Core Ring census show a regime shift in warm core ring formation at 2000, with the number of rings doubling from an average of 18 rings per year (during 1980-1999) to 33 rings per year (during 2000-2019). This regime shift creates a large increase in the amount of warm salty water being transported northward toward the shelf from the Gulf Stream. The preferred pathway of these rings, or the Ring Corridor seem to indicate their proximity to the shelf break and the Pioneer array during their lifetime. The goal of Silver’s project is to understand how these warm core rings affect the shelf break exchange while traveling along the shelf. A large focus of the study will be on the salinity intrusion events which might be sourced from these warm core rings.
Liz Ferguson, CEO and founder of Ocean Science Analytics, is using data from OOI’s Coastal Endurance and Regional Cabled Arrays to determine the variables that are most useful for assessing the ecosystem of this region and obtaining baseline information on marine mammal acoustic presence for use in monitoring. Using long term physical and biological data provided by these arrays, Ferguson is assessing long-standing shifts in the ecology of this coastal and offshore environment by associating physical oceanographic variables with the vocal presence of marine mammals using the broadband hydrophone data. Temporal changes in the occurrence of marine mammal species such as killer whales, sperm whales and dolphins can be used as an indicator of ecosystem shifts over time. She is analyzing passive acoustic data provided by the OOI arrays to determine the presence of vocally active marine mammal species, identify their spatial and temporal use of these sites, and combining this information with the physical oceanographic variables to assess the ecological characteristics associated with marine mammal occurrence.
Sam Urmy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) also is using OOI acoustical data in his research. Using an upward-looking echosounder and a high-frequency hydrophone at MBARI’s Monterey Accelerated Research System, Urmy showed how small animals in the epipelagic and mesopelagic altered their behavior in response to predators. These responses included abrupt dives during bouts of foraging by dolphins, changes in depth to avoid predatory fish schools, and dramatic alterations to daily vertical migratory behavior. Continual observations of the mesopelagic with active and passive acoustics are revealing several dynamic predator-prey interactions in an ecosystem that is typically thought of as relatively slow and static.
Veronica Tamsitt of the University of New South Wales used the OOI’s Southern Ocean mooring and the Southern Ocean Flux Site (SOFS, in the Southeast Indian) to study the Sub Antarctic Mode water (SAMW) formation. Tamsitt’s and her colleagues findings were reported in the Journal of Climate in March 2020. Using data from the two mooring locations, the researchers were able to compare and contrast characteristics and variability of air-sea heat fluxes, mixed-layer depths, and SAMW formation. The researchers found that inter mixed-layer depth anomalies tended to be intermittent at the two moorings, where anomalously deep mixed layers were associated with anomalous advection of cold air from the south, and conversely shallow mixed layers correspond to warm air from the north. Both the winter heat flux and mixed-layer depth anomalies, however, showed a complex spatial pattern, with both positive and negative anomalies in both the Indian and Pacific basins that Tasmitt and colleagues relate to the leading modes of climate variability in the Southern Ocean.
Editor’s note: The Southern Ocean Array was decommissioned in January 2020. Its data, however, are still available for use by researchers, students, and the public.
Bringing OOI data into the classroom
Sage Lichtenwalner, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey reported on the progress of the Ocean Data Labs Project. This project is a Rutgers-led effort to build a “Community of Practice” to tap into the firehose of OOI ocean data to support undergraduate education. To date, the project has hosted four “development” workshops that introduced participants to the OOI, conducted data processing with Python notebooks, and shared effective teaching strategies, in addition to a series of introductory workshops and webinars. As part of the development workshops, 56 university, college, and community college faculty designed 19 new “Data Explorations,” featuring web-based interactive “widgets” that allow students to interact with pre-selected data from the OOI. The project also sponsors a series of webinars, a fellowship program, and is compiling a library of resources (including coding notebooks, datasets, and case studies in teaching) to help the community.
Cheryl Greengrove, University of Washington Tacoma, summarized an article in the March issue of Oceanography that she and colleagues from across the United States wrote detailing ways to integrate OOI data into the undergraduate curriculum. The wealth of freely-accessible data provided by OOI platforms, many of which can be viewed in real or near-real time, provides an opportunity to bring these authentic data into undergraduate classrooms. The TOS article highlights existing educational resources derived from OOI data that are ready for other educators to incorporate into their own classrooms, as well as presents opportunities for new resources to be developed by the community. Examples of undergraduate introductory oceanography OOI data-based lessons using existing interactive online data widgets with curated OOI data on primary productivity, salinity, and tectonics and seamounts are presented, as well as ways to use OOI data to engage students in undergraduate research. The authors provide a synthesis of existing tools and resources as a practical how-to guide to support new resource development and invite other educators to develop and implement new educational resources based on OOI data.
Matthew Iacchei, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, presented how he has been integrating OOI data explorations to supplement his upper division oceanography lecture and labs with real data from around the world. Last semester, he had students explore patterns of dissolved oxygen and impacts of anoxia at the coastal endurance array in Oregon and compare that data to dissolved oxygen data the students collected in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi. This semester, students are working through two exercises with OOI data as part of their primary productivity lab (perfect, as it is now online!). Students will compare vertical profiles from Hawaiʻi with seasonal variations across the world, and will compare latitudinal drivers of primary production using data from a time-series from the Southern Ocean Array.
Strengthening OOI data usability
Wu-Jung Lee, a senior oceanographer at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, is using data collected by the OOI to develop new methodologies for analyzing long-term ocean sonar time series. In a project funded by the National Science Foundation, she and her colleagues show that unsupervised matrix decomposition techniques are effective in discovering dominant patterns from large volumes of data, which can be used to describe changes in the sonar observation. Their preliminary analysis also show that the summaries provided by these methods facilitate direct comparison and interpretation with other ocean environmental parameters concurrently recorded by the OOI. A parallel effort that spun out of this project is an open-source software package echopype, which was created to enable interoperable and scalable processing of biological information from ocean sonar data.
As part of the Rutgers Ocean Modeling Group, in conjunction with University of California Santa Cruz, John Wilkin and Elias Hunter are delivering a high-resolution data assimilative ocean model analysis of the environs of the Pioneer Coastal Array, including a systematic evaluation of the information content of different elements of the observing network. The project uses the Regional Ocean Modeling System with 4-Dimensional Variational data assimilation. To produce a comprehensive multi-year (2014-2018) analysis required them to assimilate all available Pioneer CTD data, with quality checks, in a rolling sequence of data assimilation analysis intervals. They used three days of data in each analysis, which required queries to with a time range constraint and relevant platform (i.e. glider, profiler, fixed sensor), migrating all Pioneer CTD data (wire following profilers, gliders, fixed sensors, plus ADCP velocity) to an ERDDAP server. The simple graphing capabilities in ERDDAP allow quick browsing of the data to trace quality control or availability issues, and ERDDAP provides a robust back-end to other web services to create more sophisticated graphical views, or time series analysis. Using the ERDDAP Slide Sorter tool, they operate a quick look Control Panel to monitor the data availability and quality.
Mitchell Scott and colleagues Aaron Marburg and Bhuvan Malladihalli Shashidhara at the University of Washington, are studying how to segment macrofauna from the background environment using OOI data from the Regional Cabled Axial Seamount Array. Their long-term goal is to use an automated approach to study species variation over time, and against other environmental factors. Their initial step focuses specifically on scale worms, which are very camouflaged, making them difficult to detect. To address this, the researchers initially used a deep learning model, called U-Net, to detect and localize the scale worm locations within an image. To address the high rate of false positives using this model, they added an additional classifier (a VGG-16 model) to verify the presence of scaleworms. This combined, applied approach proved feasible for scale worm detection and localization. Yet because the environment of the Axial Seamount is so dynamic due to the growth and decay of chimneys at the site and resulting changes in bacteria and macrofauna present, they found the performance of the model decreased over time.
Weifeng (Gordon) Zhang of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been using Pioneer Array data to understand the physical processes occurring at the Mid-Atlantic Bight shelf break, including the intrusion of Gulf Stream warm-core ring water onto the shelf and the ring-induced subduction of the biologically productive shelf water into the slope sea. His findings were reported in a Geophysical Research Letters paper where data from the Pioneer Array moorings and gliders demonstrated the anomalous intrusion of the warm and salty ring water onto the shelf and revealed the subsurface structure of the intrusion. Zhang also shared findings reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans where data from the Pioneer Array showed a distinct pattern of relatively cold and fresh shelf water going underneath the intruding ring water. These results show the subduction of the shelf water into the slope sea and a pathway of shelf water exiting the shelf. In both instances, Zhang and his colleagues used computer modeling to study the dynamics of these water masses. These two studies together suggest that shelf break processes are complex and require more studies in the region.
Hilary Palevsky of Boston College presented results from an ongoing project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Chemical Oceanography program, using biogeochemical data from the OOI Irminger Sea Array. Analysis of dissolved oxygen data on OOI Irminger Sea gliders and moorings from 2014-2016 showed the importance of biogeochemical data collected over the full seasonal cycle and throughout the entire water column, due to the influence of subsurface respiration and deep winter convection on biological carbon sequestration. The OOI Irminger Sea array is the first source of such full-depth year-round data in the subpolar North Atlantic. To quantitatively evaluate the annual rate of carbon sequestration by the biological pump and the role of deep winter convection, Palevsky and colleague David Nicholson of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution collaborated with OOI to improve the calibration of oxygen data at the Irminger Sea array by modifying the configuration of glider oxygen sensors to enable calibration in air each time the glider surfaces, which improves the accuracy and utility of the data collected both from gliders and from moorings. Palevsky presented preliminary results demonstrating successful glider air calibration at the Irminger array in 2018-2019 as well as work by student Lucy Wanzer, Wellesley College, demonstrating the importance of well-calibrated oxygen time series data to determine interannual variability in rates of subsurface respiration and deep winter ventilation in the Irminger Sea.
OOI’s data teams have just completed an extensive, year-long review of critical metadata to ensure the quality and usability of data for OOI data users. The review covered data collected through the end of 2019 and included instrument calibration coefficients, instrument deployment assignments, and deployment dates. Moving forward, all metadata verification will conform to the standards established during the review.
“Our reason for undertaking this review was no more complicated than to make the data better for our data users,” explains Jeffrey Glatstein, Senior Manager of Cyberinfrastructure and OOI Data Delivery Lead. “It is the first time since the inception of the program that we’ve really gone in and looked at the metadata from top to bottom. If there was a calibration that was off, a depth missing, or something misspelled, we found it.
“This intense and deliberative review process brought historic metadata up to current standards to ensure continuity, completeness of records, and consistency in how metadata are reported now and moving forward.”
The data teams used a combination of human review and an automated script development process to identify and correct data issues. The human-in-the-loop (HITL) process ensured that two sets of eyes verified each metadata product, whenever possible, while the scripts performed automated verification and generated reports to pass back into the HITL workflow.
“This initiative is part of ongoing OOI efforts to make its data more accessible, user friendly, and integrated into ongoing science,” adds Glatstein.
Check Previously Downloaded Data
The OOI Data Portal operates on a process-on-demand model, which means that data downloaded prior to the end of 2019 should be checked to see if relevant metadata has been modified.
Users can check to see if changes were made to relevant metadata by clicking here. This link provides a searchable database by array, platform, and instrument to help ensure that previously downloaded data are correct or if they need to be re-downloaded so users are working with the best available data. The OOI data teams are continuing to verify the historical deployment assignments/dates, and the results will be updated accordingly[feature]
A Gargantuan Effort
As part of the transition of OOI to 2.0 in October 2018, the RCA data team initiated a comprehensive audit of all critical metadata to ensure that data products served by the OOI Cyberinfrastructure system meet Quality Assurance/Quality Control standards set by the program and expected from the user community. This daunting task included the examination of over 700 calibration files from 2013 to the present. The results of this audit were used to aid in evaluation of current processes and guide in adapting workflows to improve QA/QC efforts and communication to the users, a vital component to building confidence in the OOI datasets as reliable and valuable resources that can be used in scientific research and education.
Wendi Ruef, Research Scientist, Regional Cabled Array
The CGSN Data Team worked carefully and methodically through thousands of files containing over 30,000 calibration coefficients and other critical metadata. We now have a high level of confidence in past metadata and a strong process for continued review going forward.
Al Plueddemann, Chief Scientist, Coastal Global Scale Nodes
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The Ocean Observatories Initiative Facility Board (OOIFB) will host a workshop focusing on current and future science addressed by the OOI infrastructure in the northeast Pacific. The workshop is aimed at researchers and resource managers who are using or are considering using OOI data, researchers interested in adding instrumentation to the OOI infrastructure, and educators at all levels interested in OOI’s Cabled, Endurance, and Station Papa Arrays.
The workshop will inform the oceanographic community of the science capabilities and new technologies offered by the OOI and other observatory arrays located in the northeast Pacific. An overview of OOI data products, user interfaces, and system features will be provided along with hands-on demonstrations using a suite of data access tools. OOI Program team members and NSF representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on OOI operations.
This community workshop will provide a forum to facilitate science collaborations and identify strategies for engaging future users of OOI. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences in working with the OOI systems and data.
The workshop will be held at the OSU Portland Center in Portland, OR on June 23-25, 2020. To apply for the workshop, please complete the on-line application form. Travel support is available, but limited. Broad representation from institutional, geographic, and disciplinary groups is desired and will be considered in participant selection. The deadline for applications is April 5, 2020.
To apply, click here.
Participation by Web Conference will be offered
Please note if you are unavailable to attend this workshop, participation by web-conference will also be possible. Individuals interested in participating virtually are encouraged to complete the on-line application form. This will help us to better understand our participant interests.
Special note: Although we plan to hold the workshop on June 23-25 in Portland, OR, we will continue to monitor news and guidance regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Plans for the workshop will be adjusted as needed in consideration of any Center for Disease Control guidance in the coming weeks.
Additional details about the workshop are available here.