… they are the life-blood of this operation, acting as a bridge between the knowledge of the ship crew and science party. Without these individuals our experiments would quickly escalate into a logistical nightmare and any small issue would soon get out of hand. They ensure we know how to use all the computers and sensors provided by the ship and help us to communicate and update the cruise plan with captain and crew. Beyond having an incredible knowledge of the ship, they are fun, hardworking people who are just as enthusiastic about the science as we are. They are also now our friends. And we are so grateful for all they have done for us on this cruise already. So meet the people we really wouldn’t be able to pull all of this off without:
Patrick is our lead resident marine technician. Whether we have a question about an instrument, how to read fluorometer output, or where to find some spare ratchet straps, Patrick is the go-to-guy.
Patrick grew up outside of Washington DC in College Park, MD and later went on to get a Master of Science in Oceanography at the University of Washington. While a student at UW, Patrick went on his first and most memorable cruise from San Diego to Seattle. He remembers that on the first night, leaving San Diego there were a pair of dolphins playing in the bow wave during a bioluminescent algae bloom; quite a memorable image and a great way to start off a cruise. After graduating UW, Patrick applied to be a marine tech but wasn’t able to break into the field and so he worked elsewhere until several years ago when the University of Washington again began looking for marine techs and approached him to take a temporary position. This led to Patrick being hired full time by UW and he now lives in Seattle where he works in the main office when he is not out to sea or on vacation. When he is working in Seattle, Patrick maintains the sensors that are used on cruises and ensures they stay calibrated and serviced. In addition he takes care of the scientific equipment logistics for cruises, orders new equipment when needed and works on improvements for the UW cruise program.
When Patrick is out to sea he enjoys getting to travel and learning about the ocean science at work though sometimes he can find the work quite stressful when trying to fix problems out at sea. His favorite work he has been a part of on the R/V Thomas G Thompson has been building an observing system for hydrothermal vents off the coast of Oregon. Hydrothermal vents were a hot topic when Patrick was getting his masters and still finds the science quite interesting, while this project up to now has mostly focused on infrastructure for real-time observations.
Right now Patrick is reading a book on the history of connecting the United States via roads, railroad lines, telephone cables and the internet. His favorite pie is cheery and he enjoys chocolate and pastries. When he is off the ship he likes to hike and sea kayak in his free time and generally be outdoors.
Tina is our second marine tech. While not a permanent resident on the R/V Thompson, Tina has a great relationship with the ship’s crew and is full of knowledge about the instruments used on deck.
Tina hails from Beaufort, NC where she still lives when she isn’t out to sea. She attended Marquette University getting a BSc in Biomedical Engineering and after worked for a year making biomedical devices that simulated tissues for testing cat scans and radiation treatments. Once at her old job she even made fake babies for ultrasound testing. She soon realized that biomedical engineering was not for her and eventually was hired by Duke University at a resident marine technician for the R/V Cape Hatteras and accepted the position as it sounded too good to pass up. Her work on the Cape Hatteras eventually ended when the ship was sold to make room for new research vessels, however the National Science Foundation created a pool for marine technicians that has allowed Tina to get contracted out to many ship over the last years.
One of the most interesting ships Tina has been on was Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s R/V Langseth, which has a set of “air-guns” on the hull that release high pressure bursts of air, sending pings to the sea floor. On this cruise, the scientists used hydrophones (underwater listening devices) to track the reflections of the pings from the sea bed. As Tina finds herself most interested in the cruises where geology tends to be the focus, she has also enjoyed experiencing the cable laying portion of the Ocean Observations Initiative where communication and power cables were laid from Oregon out to underwater stations to measure seismic activity on the ocean floor and the water properties in the region. Tina enjoys working as a marine tech as it allows her to travel the world (her favorite place so far was the Bahamas) and meet interesting people along the way, though after long periods of time the twelve hour days can be a bit taxing on her. She’s also enjoying getting to try foods from all over the worlds during her cruises. On this trip alone she tried breadfruit, starfruit, and quinoa. This cruise will also be Tina’s longest research cruise.
When Tina isn’t at sea she is still out on the water; enjoying the beach, floating on a river, kayaking or riding her beach cruiser. She is currently reading “In a Sunburned County”, which is about Australia in preparation for her upcoming trip there, and likes the show “Orange is the New Black”. Tina’s favorite pie is apple.
Nick is our intern marine tech during the moorSPICE cruise. As an intern, Nick is still learning a lot but has a great understanding of the ship, a positive attitude and is always looking to learn more about his job and the science we are doing.
Nick is a recent graduate of Kutztown College where he received a BSc in Oceanography. While at Kutztown, Nick participated in a student cruise sparking his interest in ocean sciences and leading him to apply for a six month internship as a marine technician aboard the R/V Thompson and the R/V Kilo Moana. He is also interested in computer science and hopes to combine his interests in oceanography with computer science, especially to improve public outreach for oceanographers. Nick has thoroughly enjoyed observing the ocean processes during his time at sea that he studied at school. He particularly enjoyed the previous cruise where the focus was on observing mixing near the ocean bottom in the Samoan Passage. In addition to learning about research, Nick enjoys getting to meet new people and travel, though the long workdays for extended periods of time can be tiring. After this cruise Nick will be joining the science crew on the R/V Kilo Moana for 3 months before his internship ends in July. This time at sea has inspired Nick to look for further opportunities to work on a research vessel and he is also considering continuing his education.
After this cruise he plans to spend some time in New Zealand and hike. Nick also enjoys swimming and being outdoors. He is currently reading “Longitude”, a book about the technological advances in seagoing, and “Programing the Web”. Nick also likes apple pie.