CTEMPS Intall in the South China Sea

Austin Hall lead the CTEMPs team in June for a challenging installation in the South China Sea in a support project for the team of Dr. Kristen Davis (see attached photos).  This effort reflects the hard work of CTEMPs team members Austin Hall, Rebecca Hotchreutener, Chadi Sayde, and John Selker.  

Dr. Davis writes:

Larger tower in the middle of the ocean

A team of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic, University of California - Irvine, University of Texas - Austin, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, and Oregon State University are headed to a remote coral atoll (Dongsha) to better understand the interactions between the unique oceanographic environment of the atoll and the calcifying organisms - corals and coralline algae- that build the reef.  The South China Sea is home to some of the world's largest internal waves (waves that propagate within the ocean) and as these waves shoal on the slopes of the atoll, they bring cool, nutrient-rich, and low pH water to the shallow coral communities.  Exposure to this water may enhance coral nutrition, and help buffer the corals from heat-induced bleaching.  The internal waves potentially make Dongsha Atoll a unique coral reef, well suited to be resistant and resilient to the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.

To test how corals on Donghsa Atoll are affected by internal waves we will deploy a series of instruments on the reef to track how internal waves bring deeper water towards the surface and onto the reef, including a 4-km fiberoptic cable which acts as a distributed temperature sensor, several current meters, and instruments which measure salinity, oxygen, pH, nutrients, and pressure.  We can test how the corals respond to the internal waves with a variety of tools - tracing chemical changes in the seawater, examining the structure and chemistry of coral skeletons, and studying coral population genetics.

More photos from the trip can be found at the BEE Flikr site and Facebook site.

Dongsha Blog