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The Seasonal Changes of the Ocean’s Properties Near the New England Shelf Break Front Using the Pioneer Instrument Array

by Robert M. Parkes and MarieClaire E. Egbert


Coastal marine ecosystems are profoundly influenced by processes that originate from their boundaries. These include aqueous boundaries with the atmosphere, oceanic boundary currents and terrestrial aquatic systems, as well as physical boundaries with the sea floor and coast. The physical, chemical and biological characteristics were taken measured over the course of a yearlong student inquiry, located at the New England Shelf Break in the North Atlantic Ocean. The area studied is known for enhanced biological productivity due to upwelling the confluence of two different water masses meeting. Data was collected from Ocean Observatories Initiative’s (OOI) Pioneer Array, specifically profiler G. Ocean Observatories Initiative then uploaded their profiler’s data to their site, which was then downloaded and analyzed. We observed the seasonality of the thermocline, pycnocline, and halocline, along with the productivity of phytoplankton.  Our future plans are to collect data from other profilers to tackle future plans.

About the Authors

Robert Parkes is a senior majoring in Ocean and Coastal Studies at Millersville University. Marie Claire Egbert is a returning Millersville Alumni Student, pursuing a second Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies. Her interests are in Chemical Oceanography, Ocean Pollution Remediation and Research Advocacy. She hopes to continue research with the Pioneer Array to better understand the spatial and temporal complexity of the coastal ocean and to better understand strategies for managing coastal resources in a changing climate. Marie Claire joined the research team of Dr. Robert Vaillancourt and Robert Parkes in Spring 2017, and would like to thank her advisor and teammate for their guidance, hard work and excellence.

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