Postcards from The Field

Have You Submitted To Postcards From The Field

Have you submitted to Postcards from the Field? (If not, you should.)

Do you have great photos from your research?

Contact [email protected] to take over AGU’s Instagram account and share those photos with our followers.

Greeting From The Indian Ocean A Freshly

Greeting from the Indian Ocean!

A freshly deployed NOAA research buoy located at 4°N, 90°E with the Indonesian Research Vessel Baruna Jaya VIII in the background.  The buoy is instrumented with meteorological sensors and ocean sensors down to 500 m depth; all data are transmitted to shore in real time via satellite relay.  This is one of many buoys that make up an array spanning the Indian Ocean basin to advance monsoon research and forecasting.

We are 14 days out on a 17 day cruise. With the work done here, we are heading to next buoy station, located 240 nautical miles to the north in the Bay of Bengal. 

Mike McPhaden

Greetings From Costa Rica At A Hot Spring On

Greetings from Costa Rica! At a hot spring on Irazu volcano, our team is sampling microbes, water, and gases as part of the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Biology Meets Subduction initiative. We’ve been in the field for almost two weeks, and have sampled more than 20 springs and fumaroles throughout the Costa Rican subduction zone. You can read more about our progress on the expedition blog and on Twitter #SubductCR. Photo by Peter Barry. 
Thats Me Looking Out Alvins Viewport On Dive

That’s me looking out Alvin’s viewport  on Dive 4850 near the summit of Matthew Seamount at ~2650 m depth, in the 8 20’N Seamount Chain in November 2016, studying seafloor volcanic processes and magmatism.  Probably the deepest selfie ever taken!

- Dan Fornari

Hi Folks Artist Mike Carroll And I Went To Erebus

Hi folks

Artist Mike Carroll and I went to Erebus under the auspices of the NSF’s Writers and Artists Program, to do a book comparing landscapes on Erebus with those on icy moons. Here I am descending into Hut Cave on the slopes of Erebus, aided by mountaineer Evan Miller, with Mike following behind. These ice caves are truly otherworldly features, and we can imagine that they might exist on Europa or Enceladus. 

Rosaly Lopes

Dear Everyone As The Sun Rises Its Clear Why

Dear everyone,

As the sun rises, it’s clear why this is an exciting time in the Willamette Basin, Oregon. For a brief period, Fall Creek Reservoir is drawn down below its conservation pool to run of river. This 49 meter tall dam normally impedes the downstream migration of juvenile salmon, but the draining of the reservoir helps them continue their migration. We’re working to learn more about the other short- and long-term implications of this novel management strategy.

Going with the flow,

Christina Murphy, PhD Candidate, Oregon State University

Like Stars In The Sky Lake Michigans Microbes

Like Stars in the Sky:  Lake Michigan’s Microbes Glow in their Waterscape

Dear everyone,

Here we are inventorying the microbes in Lake Michigan – the 2nd largest of the Laurentian Great Lakes.  At more than a million cells per milliliter of lake water, microbes stained with a nucleic acid-specific fluorochrome glow like stars under the epifluorescence microscope.  The smallest green specs are viruses, next come bacteria and cyanobacteria, with the largest space ship-like organism ferrying many bacterial aquanauts being a diatom.  These tiny, but abundant microbial plankton, link our planet’s watery “Inner Space” to the atmosphere and geosphere through their collectively massive activities such as photosynthesis and respiration.

Deb Dila, School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI.

Bopi Biddanda, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI.

Our Research Team Remote In Situ And Synchrotron

Our research team, Remote, In Situ and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E,, involves geologists at SUNY Stony Brook University and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center. We’ve been working together in the rift zones of Kilauea Volcano, HI, since 2008 studying the geochemistry of rocks and how they are altered when exposed to volcanic gases that are being released from the summit and along fumaroles. As we conduct this research we are evaluating the use of portable and handheld instruments in helping to make sure that we can conduct the best science possible with limited field time. This effort provides NASA with an understanding about how to build and operate instruments for use by astronauts as we prepare for humans exploring the Moon, Mars and beyond. For more information on RIS4E, check out our online report produced by Stony Brook’s School of Journalism ( Here we are in our most recent field campaign working in the shadow of Kilauea’s plume with our portable XRF, XRD, spectral imager, hyperspectral camera and LiDAR.

- Jacob Bleacher

Sentinel For A Great Lakes Estuary Dear

Sentinel for a Great Lakes Estuary

Dear Everyone,

We are out tending the Muskegon Lake Observatory buoy (MLO).  Muskegon Lake is an urbanized Great Lakes estuary connecting Michigan’s 2nd largest watershed to Lake Michigan, the 2nd largest Laurentian Great Lake.  MLO provides time-series weather, water quality and water circulation data from multiple depths, and is on its 6th year of deployment.  Over the years, MLO has been revealing stunning time-lapse details of underwater phenomena such as mixing, stratification, hypoxia and cyanobacterial blooms in this dynamic coastal ecosystem.  MLO data are freely available on the buoy website ( 

Bopi Biddanda, Anthony Weinke, and Scott Kendall  Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State

Greetings From The Alaskan Arctic We Are Sampling

Greetings from the Alaskan Arctic! We are sampling iron rich soil waters across the tundra to determine role of iron in carbon cycling in the Arctic soil waters. During the survey we can easily spot iron- rich rivers and standing water pools by their characteristic orange color as seen on the picture. 


Adrianna Trusiak, Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan