Lab 1.4 – OOI Science Highlight

Fundamental concept: Identify scientific methods and conclusions in OOI data case study
Estimated time to complete: 20 minutes
Materials needed: None

Certain scientific questions about the ocean led to the design and placement of each of the OOI arrays. In this activity, you will read about research conducted with OOI data and practice identifying the arrays, platforms and sensors used by the scientists.

map showing path of 2017 eclipse across Oregon shelf

Figure 1.4.1. Path of August 2017 eclipse across the Endurance Array. “Path of Totality” is the area in which the sun was completely blocked by the moon. The eclipse totality reached the red star on the Oregon shelf at 10:15 am local time on August 21, 2017. [Figure reproduced with permission from Barth et al. (2018)]

In the late morning of August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse passed over the ocean near the coast of Oregon (Figure 1.4.1). Scientists took advantage of this event to observe something neat about animal behavior. Small zooplankton in the ocean often undergo diel vertical migration behavior, in which they swim up to the ocean surface at night to graze and swim down to darker, deeper depths during the day to avoid predators. Scientists hypothesized that the zooplankton would respond to the darkness of the eclipse by swimming toward the surface as they do at night. Did that happen? View two resources below to find out!

Diel Vertical Migration during a solar eclipseby University of Washington Oceanography students who were aboard a research vessel during the eclipse.

After reviewing these descriptions, take the quiz below to see if you can identify the components of the OOI system used to conduct the observations of zooplankton changing their behavior during the eclipse.

Application Questions:

Now answer these questions about the scientific findings:

  1. Describe the zooplankton behavior during the eclipse.
  2. The LA Times article mentioned that land animals experience a drop in air temperature during an eclipse. Why do scientists know that the zooplankton reacted to light and not to a change in water temperature or some other factor?
  3. The video and article both displayed a graph of zooplankton diel vertical migration data. What does the graph look like? What was the difference in appearance on the day of the eclipse compared to the day before the eclipse?
  4. In the previous Lab 1 activities, you have learned about other types of platforms and sensors. Pick one other platform or sensor and explain how it could be used to study zooplankton behavior or solar eclipses in general.