Postcards from The Field

Dear Agu Greetings From Near Shreveport

Dear AGU,

Greetings from near Shreveport, Louisiana!

This is one of the very first field shots from the ISLA project backdropped against a colorful rainbow. The ISLA project aims to monitor seismicity and study the subsurface in NW Louisiana over the next two years. We first took delivery in Baton Rouge of a whopping 1300 pounds of seismic equipment loaned to us by PASSCAL and then started our installation of 10 broadband seismic stations on June 29-30 near the Texas-Louisiana border, about a five-hour drive north of Baton Rouge. The photo was taken at dusk and shows a hole being dug for one of our sensors. The deployment teams were made up mainly of a diverse group of students from Louisiana State University, Tulane University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We put 6 stations in the ground in a record 24 hours! Our network was up and running just in time to capture recordings of seismic waves from the distant July 6, M7.1 and July 4, M6.4 earthquakes in central California!

Stay tuned for more seismic updates from the field!

Justin Kain, MS Candidate, Louisiana State University

Rasheed Ajala, PhD Candidate, Louisiana State University

Madison Menou, BS Candidate, Louisiana State University

Betina Brockamp, BS Candidate, Tulane University

Samantha Hilburn, BS Candidate, Tulane University

Brennan Brunsvik, MS Graduate, Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mario Ruiz, IRIS international intern, Univ. de la Plata,  Argentina

Alissa Scire, PASSCAL Data Group Supervisor

Patricia Persaud, Cynthia Ebinger & Gabriele Morra

Diving Sinkholes For Microbial Mats That Bury

Diving Sinkholes for Microbial Mats that Bury Carbon and Release Oxygen

Dear everyone:

June 11, 2019: Onboard NOAA’s R/V Storm, Grand Valley State University researcher Tony Weinke is examining an intact 1-foot tall sediment core brought up by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary divers from the Middle Island Sinkhole in Lake Huron at a depth of ~79 feet.  Here, physiologically versatile cyanobacterial mats thrive on the lake floor in ground water emerging from Paleozoic marine evaporites containing high-sulfur and low-oxygen.  The sediment core is topped by bright purple photosynthetic cyanobacterial mats overlying organic carbon-rich sediments.  Preliminary estimates suggest a very high rate of sediment accumulation in the sinkhole of as much as 1 foot in just 300 years!  We’re are trying to figure out if the microbial communities thriving in such high-sulfur, low-oxygen modern-day refugia provide a window into the distant past when microbial life began burying organic carbon and oxygenating the ancient Archean and Proterozoic seas.  

—Bopi Biddanda and Ian Stone, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, Mich. (;

—Wayne Lusardi and Phil Hartmeyer, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Alpena, Mich. (

Dear Agu Hello From The Luquillo Critical Zone

Dear AGU,

Hello from the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory in Puerto Rico! After hauling 700+ pounds of luggage to the airport and paying $1300 in bag fees, we finally made it here. Now we just have to schlep it all up into the mountains and through the jungle, no big deal right? This year we brought along seismic refraction equipment, a magnetometer, an ohmmapper, and a multitude of ground penetrating radar antennas to investigate variations in bedrock depth between different geologic terranes. To follow along on our journey and to learn more about the work we do in Puerto Rico, check out the AGU Instagram page between June 24-June 28 where I will posting as part of the guestgrammer series. 

iHasta luego!

Matt Sirianni, PhD Candidate, Florida Atlantic University

Hello From Indonesian Seas Here Is The Area

Hello from Indonesian Seas!Here is the area crossed by Indonesian Throughflow (ITF)- the only one low-latitude ocean current system connecting the Pacific and Indian Ocean. The variability of ITF suggested has an important role on affecting regional and global climate variability. Mooring instrument contains sets of Accoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), Recording Current Meter (RCM), and Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) are needed to observe the ITF continuously. In this picture is the weight used as the anchor of oceanography deep-sea mooring instrument. It is one of the most important part, used to hold the mooring instrument stay at the exact position.

See you soon with another amazing picture from our oceans!

Regards,C. Corvianawatie - Research Center for Oceanography, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)

Hello From Louisiana What A Beautiful Day To Be

Hello from Louisiana!

What a beautiful day to be out on the water! We’ve been hard at work in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana monitoring the waves that drive coastal land loss. Out in the marsh, we collect sediment samples and deploy instruments underwater that measure waves over many months.  

We are hoping that with our measurements that we can better predict land loss and provide more effective and cost-efficient strategies for coastal restoration and protection here in Cajun Country.

Wish you were here!

Kendall Valentine, PhD Candidate, Louisiana State University

Twitter: @mariotti_lab @k_valentine7  Instagram: @mariotti.lab.lsu

Greetings From Panama Here Is A Snapshot Of One

Greetings from Panama!

Here is a snapshot of one day of nearly thirty of postdocs Dr. Hugo Candido and I (Dr. Luiza Aparecido) collecting gas exchange data from mature tropical trees at the STRI Sherman/San Lorenzo crane site in Panama. To compensate my fear of heights and vertigo (we were usually around 45 meters above the forest floor with constant windy conditions!), the dry season is also blooming season. So, measurements from that day were extra pleasant with that beautiful, blooming Jacaranda!

This field consisted of us taking photosynthesis, transpiration and stomatal conductance of 26 mature tropical trees from early morning until mid-afternoon during the dry season. Measurements were done using a portable photosynthesis system (LI6800, Li-Cor Inc. - as seen in the image). We also collected micrometerological data for that month and thermal images (A613, FLIR) of tree canopies to obtain their leaf temperature. We are investigating if tropical trees adopt different hydraulic strategies in response to drying, warmer conditions. Findings from this work will help improve current land surface models and stomatal regulation models under a changing environment. This work is a collaboration between Arizona State University (Dr. Luiza Aparecido, Dr. Benjamin Blonder), University of British Columbia (Dr. Hugo Candido, Dr. Sean Michaletz) and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Dr. Martijn Slot, Dr. Klaus Winter and Dr. Brett Wolfe).

Stay tuned for our papers possibly coming out Spring/2020. For sure a submission to AGU 2019 Fall Meeting ;)

- Luiza Aparecido

Photo credit: Edwin Andrade, our fantastic crane operator and plant identifier!

Dear Agu Greetings From The Middle Of The Amazon

Dear AGU,

greetings from the middle of the Amazon Rainforest! We’re here at the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory, short ATTO. I’m standing on top of the tall tower, the heart of the observatory. It’s 325 m high (slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower) and looking down onto the rainforest below is quite a sight! The purpose of ATTO is to get a better understanding of how the Amazon rainforest interacts with the atmosphere. We also want to know how the forest influences weather and climate on different spatial and temporal scales and what impact climate change has. We measure greenhouse gases, meteorological data, VOC emissions from the forest biosphere and soils and observe cloud formation processes, among many other things. ATTO is in an ideal location to do so because it was built in an undisturbed section of the Amazon. The project is a cooperation between Brazil and Germany, and our scientific team includes people from many different countries and scientific fields, ranging from atmospheric physics over biology to ecology. It’s really cool to work with people from so many different backgrounds!



P.S.: I hope the fog clears out soon, so I can see the full glory of that sea of trees below, stretching to the horizon in all directions!

Whos Observing The Observatory Dear Eos

Who’s Observing the Observatory?

Dear Eos:

Today, numerous globally distributed time-series observatories monitor our home planet.  However, data streams flowing out of these ecosystem observatories are only as good as the people who are keeping watch on the data quality and making timely field runs to check drifting sensors and fix faulty equipment.  Here, we are on one of our maintenance runs to the Muskegon Lake Observatory in the North American Great Lakes basin (  Visiting Professor Manuel Villar-Argaiz (University of Granada, Spain), Research Technician Tony Weinke and Graduate Student Jasmine Mancuso have hauled out the underwater buoy equipped with multiple water quality sensors for onboard testing, repair or replacement, and cleanup – a messy, but necessary job.  With the observatory team standing watch, these sensors can reliably measure environmental parameters day and night, tracking distinctive ecosystem changes such as daily oscillations in photosynthesis and respiration, and the seasonal dynamics of eutrophication, cyanobacterial blooms and hypoxia in this model Great Lakes estuary.

Bopi Biddanda

Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, Michigan, USA.

Pneaerose Team Near Praia Cape Verde Hello From

PNE/AEROSE team near Praia, Cape Verde

Hello from the dusty sea, just off the coast of Praia, Cape Verde!  We just completed servicing the 11.5N, 23W PIRATA mooring. The hazy atmosphere is due to a recent Saharan dust storm for which the team is also investigating the chemistry and atmospheric microbiome.

The primary goal of the PIRATA Northeast Extension (PNE) project is to recover and redeploy the PNE moorings and to sample oceanic and atmospheric variables along the cruise track.  The purpose of the PNE moorings is to provide real-time data of the upper ocean temperature, salinity, current structure and heat fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Atlantic. These data are used for climate research and weather forecasting. Shipboard observations collected during the cruise, as well surface drifters and Argo and profiling floats deployed during this cruise, will provide an improved picture of seasonal-to-interannual oceanic and atmospheric variability in the tropical Atlantic. The PNE team included two student volunteers. 

The Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE) constitute a longitudinal measurement-based study of the impacts and evolution mineral dust during long-range transport over the tropical Atlantic. During the 2019 cruise, a comprehensive suite of in situ, ground truth data were collected in the remote, tropical Atlantic Ocean for the purpose of validating satellite sensors and model forecasts under the conditions of the SAL, wind-blown mineral dust, and biomass burning outflows.  Another objective of this project is to test and evaluate decision support materials from the NUCAPS suite for scientific field campaigns.  In particular, these satellite data products will be used to strategically inform rawinsonde and ozonesonde deployments during the AEROSE 2019 campaign.  In fulfillment of a longstanding obligation to student training and the development of the future STEM workforce, the AEROSE team included five students, who assisted in all scientific endeavors.

This cruise brought together scientists from NOAA/AOML, HU/NCAS, NOAA/NESDIS, NOAA/PMEL, UMBC, VUU, and the Brazilian Navy.

-  Drs. Renellys C. Perez & Vernon Morris