Sampling Tools: Generating Data 

There are a wide variety of tools used by CSESP to sample the environment. The buoys and moorings are only the tip of the iceberg. The Conductivity, Temperature and Depth device (CTD) is used to examine salinity and temperature at varying depths and can take samples of sea water at proscribed depths for the chemical oceanography team to inspect. The double Van Veen Grab Sampler is used by the benthic team to scoop up a sample of the sediment from the ocean floor, including any of the critters living in it. These are just two examples of the large ecosystem of data generating tools we use on board each vessel.

Bongo Nets for Sampling Plankton

The Bongo nets are used to sample plankton. The nets are towed with the ship or can sample plankton in a vertical column using the ship's crane. Advanced flow meters gauge how much seawater went through the net to provide a calculation known as effort, which helps researchers understand the distribution and density of plankton throughout the study area.


CTD devices are used to record and sample the conductivity and temperature at depth, as well as capture water samples from varying depths to be brought back to the surface to study nutrients and carbon intake. The CTD can assess chlorophyll content and water-column turbidity as well. It is carefully calibrated with the vessel-mounted ADCP.

The device used during the 2012 cruise season is a Seabird CTD Profiling Instrument. More information can be found here:

Double Van Veen Grab Sampler

This strange looking contraption actually takes a great deal of engineering to ensure the sediment samples it collects are representative of the population at each depth of the sediment. The open jaws of the sampler grab the sediment and are able to prevent seawater from washing it away as the device is hoisted to the vessel's deck. After it's on deck, the muddy looking sample is examined by the benthic team and the benthic organisms are rinsed out of the mud.

Photographs of the benthic organisms found using the Van Veen Grab Sampler can be found here:

A plankton Bongo net deployed off the Westward Wind
CTD with Rosette. The containers remain open and are closed in sequence as the rosette is returned to the surface
The Van Veen Grab deployed off the starboard side of the Westward Wind