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I am interested in oceanography. I am looking forward to learning first hand about this interesting career. Can anyone answer for me the question "What motivated you to go into oceanography?"
Question Date: 2002-04-02
Answer 1:

I originally got interested in oceanography when I took a "biological oceanography" course in college. I was struck by looking at zooplankton under the microscope. They looked like creatures from another planet and were both beautiful and bizarre.

What are you studying at the moment (field work)? (I would like to present what you are studying to the rest of my class so that we can all get a general feel for the types of tasks an oceanographer performs.)

I am studying how zoo plankton (specifically krill which are like little shrimp) affect carbon cycling in the ocean. I am looking particularly at how krill swimming behavior breaks apart particles of detritus which form in the ocean. If you have ever seen TV shows with videos from submersibles you may have noticed many large particles in the water column. These are called "marine snow" and may be made up of many different kinds of detritus (such as dead algae, fecal material, mucous) and are an important way that carbon is transported from the surface of the ocean to deeper waters. For my research I go on one research cruise each year in the Santa Barbara Channel which lasts for two weeks. Otherwise most of my research takes place in the laboratory. On a more regular basis (once per month) we go out in a small boat to collect animals using a net (similar to a fishing net but with a smaller mesh size).

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