Ocean Circulation Models

Ocean circulation models are three-dimensional representations of the ocean which are used for studying ocean circulation, climate change, organism distribution and dispersal, marine chemistry, and the distribution and transport of substances in the ocean, including sediments and marine pollutants. These models include factors such as surface air temperature, water temperature and salinity, wind forcing, ocean eddies, and realistic coastline and seafloor features in their calculations. Numerical models can include real-time oceanographic data from ships and satellites to produce forecasts of oceanic conditions, including the El Niño in the Pacific, and the position of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic.

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Plankton Analysis

For many years, Ocean Ecology performed marine plankton identification and enumeration (both phytoplankton and zooplankton) in its laboratory. Samples were collected using either a water bottle or a plankton net. After preservation, the samples were examinined using a microscope. Depending on the particular study being performed, analysis ranged from simply identifying and enumerating harmful algal species to a full analysis of all species present.

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Conservation Planning

Conservation planning attempts to identify the best course of action to provide long-term protection for conservation targets identified at specific sites. It builds on an ecological summary of the site by adding the identification of conservation targets, threats (stresses and sources of stress), and recommended protection strategies and actions.

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Geographic Information Systems

Geographical information systems (GIS) consist of computer-based methods of recording, analyzing, combining, and displaying geographic information such as shorelines, bathymetry, habitat types, sensitive areas, or any other feature that can be mapped. GIS are especially useful in management planning and resource-use decisions.

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Current Studies Using an ADCP


Current studies were performed using a 0.4 MHz Nortek Aquadopp acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). The ADCP was mounted in a downwards-looking orientation on a retractable ADCP boom attached to the side of the research vessel. The retractable ADCP boom-mount used by Ocean Ecology was a highly modified adaptation of the concept presented by Hench et al. (2000) (A portable retractable ADCP boom-mount for small boats).

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