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Team Data

Category: General Article

Back to Creep into the DEEPEND

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summary: Dr. Matthew Johnston describes how he’s meshed his love of computers and technology with a career exploring the deep sea.

Hello from Team Data! What is ‘data’ you ask? All of the stuff that our DEEPEND team is collecting while at sea is data. What kinds of fish, shrimp, and squid they scoop up in their nets, the temperature of the water, the way the water flows when they are collecting the critters, even the direction and speed of the boat — that’s all data. To scientists, data is very important and is what we use to help make new scientific discoveries and learn more about the animals we study.

As part of the data team and a marine biologist who loves the ocean, I know how important it is to organize our data so future scientists (like you!) can use it. I take everything that is collected while at sea, help organize it, and make it available to future scientists to use. Our DEEPEND team collects a lot of data when they are on the boat and they are very busy with their jobs helping us to understand what is happening out there in the deep ocean. Because of this, they need someone to help them out that is not on the boat. We all need some help when we have such an important job. Plus, all those waves and saltwater are not good for computers!

All of our data is collected by the scientists at sea and then entered into computers when they get to land. These data are then posted on a website for anyone to see and use. We want future scientists to use what we have collected to make science better! Maybe you can discover something new from these cool things we have found?

As part of the data team, I also manage the DEEPEND website so you can see what we are up to when the Team is at sea and what happens in the labs between cruises. On the website, you can see where the ship is during our cruises and we even have a DEEPEND Facebook page and a blog for our scientists and teachers when they are at sea. On our website, on Facebook, and in our blogs, you can meet Squirt (our mascot!) and learn more about all of the cool stuff DEEPEND is doing. Make sure you check it out and ‘Like’ us!

Besides working with the DEEPEND scientists, I am also a computer programmer. I write programs that help predict the spread of invasive species, like the lionfish. I also help put tags on sharks (like makos, tigers, and oceanic whitetips) with scientists at the Guy Harvey Research Institute to track the sharks with satellites. I wrote a website (ghritracking.org) that you can visit to see where they are right now in the ocean. I love programming and marine biology and we need future scientists that love them both too!

Let me know if you have any questions about data, websites, computers, or programming!

Dr. Matthew Johnston, Marine Biologist, Data Manager, and Deep-sea Explorer

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A Cooperative Program

Creep Into the DEEPEND is a WhaleTimes, Inc. Virtual Research Mission, in cooperation with the DEEPEND Consortium and the Oceanscape Network. For more information visit whaletimes.org

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During the duration of our online event, DEEPEND scientists will be answering questions from the public. To submit your inquiry, email us at seamail@whaletimes.org