HMSC volunteers return to sea – and blogging

Michael Courtney and Annie Thorp aboard the RV Wecoma, 2011NEWPORT – Michael Courtney and Annie Thorp, longtime volunteers at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, return to sea this week as support crew for Dr. Clare Reimers, an ocean ecologist and biogeochemist with OSU’s Colleage of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, who is studying the role of seafloor processes in ocean chemical cycles, the influences of low oxygen conditions on ocean biology, geology and chemistry, and new electrochemical tools for ocean observing networks.

Courtney and Thorp, who are husband and wife, have been volunteering at the HMSC Visitor Center since their retirement and have offered their services to shipboard research teams since 2009. They plan to once again chronicle their adventures in words and photographs through their blog, Buoy Tales.

As they wrote at the end of last year’s cruise with Dr. Reimers’ team, “Science is not just sitting in a warm, stable lab. It is also hard, hard work. Collecting the necessary data means being cold, wet, getting dirty, laying on a rough, rolling deck adjusting sensitive equipment, taking samples in an enclosed van under a dim red light, and working in a lab that won’t stand still.”

This voyage will be on board the R/V Oceanus, OSU’s new research vessel. The research team is loading and setting up equipment today, and expects to depart tomorrow for a cruise lasting until Oct. 15, taking the science team to the waters of the the continental shelf off the Pacific Northwest coast.

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