Science Diary: Underwater Discoveries – Launch

Science Diary: Underwater Discoveries – Launch

Music; Ambience: Foghorn

JJ: “That’s a foghorn in the background. It’s pretty foggy out here.”

JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. After months of preparation and planning, Oceanographer Jules Jaffe and his team are finally launching their new instrument into the sea to study the ocean’s microbes. The optical device is about the size of a Volkswagen and is equipped with a laser and cameras. As it sinks slowly to the ocean floor, the hope is that it will reveal some of the secrets about the viscosity, or thickness, of the water. Jules Jaffe thinks that the underwater world might be gooier, more viscous, than we imagine, thanks to microbes.

JJ: “We’ll put this thing in the water. It’ll just go down in the water at maybe a speed of three to five inches per second. We’ll be getting images of this plate and hopefully the laser light reflecting off particles. And we can actually measure how fast stuff is moving across the plate face as a function of a distance from the plate, and that’ll hopefully give us some hints about viscosity. Anyway, this is the first time we’re trying this idea. It may be totally bogus, but there’s only one way to find out”

JM: Although they’re responsible for producing half of the world’s oxygen, ocean microbes are exceedingly difficult to study in the lab. One estimate says that 97percent of ocean microbes cannot be cultured, or grown, in the lab. Designing and deploying instruments that can study microbes where they live is the key to understanding the ecology of this crucial component of the ocean environment.

JJ: “Pulls away, and there it goes. Hopefully we’ll get it back.”

JM: To hear more about Jules Jaffe’s work, visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Underwater Discoveries - Launch

Science Diarist Jules Jaffe launches a one-of-a kind instrument into the depths of the sea.
Air Date:08/20/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Underwater Discoveries - Launch

Music; Ambience: Foghorn

JJ: "That's a foghorn in the background. It's pretty foggy out here."

JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. After months of preparation and planning, Oceanographer Jules Jaffe and his team are finally launching their new instrument into the sea to study the ocean's microbes. The optical device is about the size of a Volkswagen and is equipped with a laser and cameras. As it sinks slowly to the ocean floor, the hope is that it will reveal some of the secrets about the viscosity, or thickness, of the water. Jules Jaffe thinks that the underwater world might be gooier, more viscous, than we imagine, thanks to microbes.

JJ: "We'll put this thing in the water. It'll just go down in the water at maybe a speed of three to five inches per second. We'll be getting images of this plate and hopefully the laser light reflecting off particles. And we can actually measure how fast stuff is moving across the plate face as a function of a distance from the plate, and that'll hopefully give us some hints about viscosity. Anyway, this is the first time we're trying this idea. It may be totally bogus, but there's only one way to find out"

JM: Although they're responsible for producing half of the world's oxygen, ocean microbes are exceedingly difficult to study in the lab. One estimate says that 97percent of ocean microbes cannot be cultured, or grown, in the lab. Designing and deploying instruments that can study microbes where they live is the key to understanding the ecology of this crucial component of the ocean environment.

JJ: "Pulls away, and there it goes. Hopefully we'll get it back."

JM: To hear more about Jules Jaffe's work, visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.