OOI Data Nuggets

A curated collection of OOI datasets, ready for use in educational activities.

What is a Data Nugget?

Data Nuggets represent exemplary datasets curated from data collected by the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). Datasets were selected based on their quality and alignment with a broader OOI Science Theme.  The nuggets explore various concepts common in upper-level high school and introductory college courses and are designed and packaged to be readily accessible to educators to integrate into their existing curriculum.

The following materials are included with each nugget:

  • Description and Scientific Relevance
  • High Resolution Graph
  • Data File (.CSV)
  • Links to Data on OOINet
  • Links to Data Review Pages
  • Python Code to Pull Data via Machine-to-Machine Interface
  • OOI Infrastructure Details and Graphics
  • Topical Relationship to Intro to Oceanography Textbook
  • Connection to High School Next Generation Science Standards
  • Related Publications and Additional Resources

What is the OOI?

The OOI is composed of science-driven platforms and sensor systems that measure physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the air-sea interface and from coastal to open ocean environments. Through the OOI, the oceanographic community can now study ocean processes in unprecedented ways in real-time — without the need to secure ship time — making the OOI a critical asset for the evolution of the ocean science community.

For more information on the components and science supported by the OOI, check out the 2018 Special Issue of Oceanography Magazine.

Why a Nugget?

The OOI represents a ground-breaking approach to ocean science research, with high resolution, long-term observations openly accessible online. The OOI represents a tremendous opportunity for teaching faculty, whether at institutions located at or away from the coast, to incorporate real-time data into their oceanography lessons to help students understand and visualize oceanographic concepts and events. However, as many educators have found, there is often a barrier of entry for educators to integrate OOI data into their curriculum as the data are high-resolution and served in real time with minimal processing and quality control. This requires an initial investment by the educator in order to find, select, quality control, and translate data into usable formats.

While there are a number of challenges, there are also many benefits to using real data, such as data provided by the OOI, in science education.  For a good overview of both, check out Using Authentic Data from NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative in Undergraduate Teaching: An Invitation.

Data Nuggets are designed to break down barriers of entry and provide easily accessible, quality-controlled data that can easily be integrated into an existing curriculum. For example, particularly dense datasets have been downsampled and made available as CSV files for easy use in a classroom setting. Our goal is to facilitate the use of data for education and training purposes to engage the next generation of scientific researchers in oceanographic research and the OOI.

Who can benefit from these Data Nuggets?

Anyone interested in OOI data who has not had the time and/or the skillset to mine the online data portal or figure out the OOI API. Data nuggets are designed to overcome the access barriers to OOI data, while highlighting some of the neat phenomena being captured by the instruments and platforms deployed at the OOI Arrays. Though these nuggets were selected to exemplify various concepts common in upper-level high school and introductory college courses, they can be tailored for formal and informal education across many levels.

What about Data Quality?

These datasets were reviewed and evaluated for issues with data quality prior to their inclusion as nuggets. Data Nuggets are designed to be readily accessible to educators to integrate into their existing curriculum. Most of these nuggets were selected from data collected during the initial operational phase of the OOI (July 2013 to September 2018) that received additional review and evaluation. For more information, check out the OOI 1.0 Data Review project.

How should I use these Nuggets?

Data Nuggets are well suited for illustrating and teaching concepts common in upper-level high school and introductory college courses. Nuggets are presented as an online resource for educators.  They do not (yet) include lesson plans or curriculum, but we hope they can support educators as they design their own activities. These nuggets also facilitate the use of OOI data in lessons by ensuring that the data presented are free of serious data quality issues, clear and easy to use.

Explore the Data Nuggets

Explore seafloor deflation on the Axial Seamount during the 2015 eruption with data from the OOI Regional Cabled Array.

Explore annual cycles of chlorophyll in the North and South Atlantic with data from two OOI Global Arrays – Irminger Sea & Argentine Basin.

Explore air-sea exchange of CO2 in three different ocean regions – coastal upwelling in the NE Pacific (OOI Endurance Array), the productive coastal NW Atlantic (OOI Pioneer Array), and the cold, high latitude Argentine Basin (OOI Global Array).

Explore the formation of hypoxia off the coast of Oregon as it corresponds to shifts between periods of upwelling and downwelling at the OOI Endurance Array Oregon Inshore Surface Mooring.

Explore seasonal cycles of water column mixing and primary production in the Gulf of Alaska at the OOI Global Station Papa Array Flanking Mooring.

Explore what happens to coastal New England waters as an extratropical storm passes over the OOI Pioneer Array.

Explore seasonal deep mixing of the water column in the Irminger Sea (OOI Global Array), a key process in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

Explore water column profiles of nitrate, temperature, oxygen, and other parameters at two open ocean locations in the NE Pacific on the OOI Regional Cabled Array.

Explore the relationship between wind and waves across an annual cycle at the Endurance Array Oregon Offshore Surface Mooring Surface Buoy.

Explore changes in the local environment around two OOI Pioneer Array Moorings as a warm-core ring passes by.

Explore the semidiurnal fluctuation of flow from a diffuse vent as it corresponds to the rise and fall of the tides at the OOI Regional Cabled Array ASHES Vent Field site on the Axial Seamount.

Explore what happens to zooplankton during a total solar eclipse using Bio-acoustic Sonar data from the Endurance Array Oregon Offshore Shallow Profiler Mooring.

Explore coastal upwelling along the northern California Current with glider profiles and surface buoy wind data from the OOI Endurance Array.

Explore what happens when an eddy sweeps past the OOI Argentine Basin Array.

Meet the Team

Lori has the critical role of mining thousands of data streams for high quality datasets that highlight neat oceanographic phenomena.

She has a Master’s in Marine Science and has spent her career developing software tools to access, analyze and visualize oceanographic datasets in addition to working hands-on in the laboratory and field.

Leslie’s job is to take the awesome datasets that Lori extracts and help to tell their story – creating visualizations, adding background context, and linking the data to curriculum and other ocean research.

She has a PhD in oceanography and has spent the last decade focusing on translating ocean science to educational and non-science audiences.


These Data Nuggets were created as part of the NSF-funded OOI Synthesis & Education project conducted by Rutgers University and led by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Exemplary datasets curated from data collected during the initial operational phase of the OOI (July 2013 to September 2018) received additional review and evaluation by a data team member as part of the broader OOI 1.0 Data Review.