A few weeks back, I went to Yaquina Bay on the central Oregon coast. An arch bridge galloped across the bay and a couple hundred boats lined the piers. I was visiting an Oregon-based company called Wetlabs. The team there designs and builds instruments that use optics (that is, lenses and light) to measure all kinds of things in ocean water.
Corey Koch, a chemist and post-doc with Wetlabs, said, “We really can see the whole story of what’s going on in this ecosystem right here with this suite of sensors.”
I learned how light can say a lot about liquid. Have a listen, and check out the (new!) puzzler below.
One big challenge of making sensors that stay in the ocean for a while is keeping critters from growing all over them. It's called biofouling.
The Yaquina Bay Bridge spans the patch of water where the Wetlabs Pontoon Boat of Science, a 27-foot catamaran, resides year round.
Wetlab company members encircle the 'moonpool' on the aft deck of the Pontoon Boat of Science where they suspend and test their instruments. L to R: Corey Koch, Ron Zaneveld, Alex Derr and Ian Walsh.
National Science Education Standards Grade 5 to 8
National Science Education Standards Grade 9 to 12
Ocean Literacy Principles
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Send us your answer to the puzzler, your guess for the Sonic Stumper, or your questions for the Wetlabs team: