Mekong field work part 1

Just a quick update from the field -

Week 1 of Mekong field work went well; after plan­ning meet­ings, the chan­nel group (UW + Tulane + VNU) started multi­beam and water col­umn sur­veys, the man­grove group (UW + U. of Waikato + WSU + Boston U + VNU) began instru­ment deploy­ments, and the shelf group (UW + NSCU + IMGG) loaded the boat & departed from Saigon.

Saigon shopping

Aaron manning the small boat for an instrument deployment

Emily & Robin in the small boat in the channel

Andrea on the channel boat

The river boats, side-by-side for loading

Chuck and Dan work to deploy an instrument along the channel


Shelf boat

Saigon port seen from the shelf boat





Katie finishes her dissertation

Con­grats to Katie who com­pleted her dis­ser­ta­tion, enti­tled “Fjord sed­i­men­ta­tion dur­ing the rapid retreat of tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers: obser­va­tions and mod­el­ing.” Katie is leav­ing for an excit­ing new posi­tion as a Research Geol­o­gist in the Upstream Research Com­pany at Exxon. Way to go Katie!

Update from Saigon

Dan C. spent the end of August in Saigon orga­niz­ing logis­tics for the Sep­tem­ber field work. The sci­en­tific equip­ment has arrived, and we are excited to start in the field in a cou­ple weeks. Here’s a view of the Saigon River from down­town Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), about 130 km north­west of our study site on the tidal Mekong River:


Rip Hale, PhD

A big con­grat­u­la­tions to Rip Hale, who suc­cess­fully defended his dis­ser­ta­tion on August 22! Rip’s dis­ser­ta­tion was titled “Inves­ti­gat­ing sed­i­ment trans­port on the Waipaoa mar­gin: link­ing in situ obser­va­tions with pre­served deposits.” Areas of focus included river-ocean coher­ence of sed­i­ment trans­port events, sig­nal prop­a­ga­tion in Poverty Bay, mechan­ics of wave-supported fluid muds, and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of past event deposits through dig­i­tal analy­ses. Rip is now headed to Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity in Nashville for a post-doctoral posi­tion focus­ing on the Ganges-Brahmaputra River dis­per­sal sys­tem. Way to go, Rip!!!

CB1021 — another successful Elwha cruise!

August 17–21 saw the com­ple­tion of another suc­cess­ful Elwha cruise. After an excit­ing (i.e. rainy!) March, the sum­mer was rel­a­tively quiet in terms of river dis­charge. The pri­mary goal of the cruise was to remove, refur­bish, and re-deploy the pri­mary seabed instru­ment sys­tem, which we did in record time (36 hours!) after an ini­tial fail­ure of one of the release mech­a­nisms (thanks APL for loan­ing us a backup con­trol unit!). Mean­while, ship-based sur­vey efforts focused on col­lect­ing grab sam­ples from the Fresh­wa­ter Bay deposit to track any changes in extent through­out the sum­mer. On the final day of the cruise, we also recov­ered 6 box cores from Fresh­wa­ter Bay, which will be x-rayed, ana­lyzed for grain size, and mea­sured for radioiso­topes in the lab.

Many thanks to every­one who helped make this a suc­cess­ful cruise! Bob and Todd of the Barnes, Aaron, Dan N., Wen­hua, Julia, and Bri­anna from our lab group, Mag­gie McK­eon from UW Civil Engi­neer­ing, Bethany Nagid from UCSC, and Jacob Melly from Penin­sula Col­lege pro­vided invalu­able assis­tance and no short­age of pos­i­tive, cre­ative think­ing. We also enjoyed host­ing guests from UW Advance­ment and the Seat­tle com­mu­nity on the box cor­ing & and re-deployment por­tion of the cruise, and appre­ci­ated the oppor­tu­nity to share the excit­ing research hap­pen­ing at the Elwha.

Maggie attacks the 4-month-old algal growthTeam ShipekCleaned and ready to redeploy

Summer container packing

Dan Culling, Research Sci­en­tist joined the lab in March, and spent an inten­sive spring and sum­mer coor­di­nat­ing field logis­tics for upcom­ing Mekong Delta field work. Together with Aaron and Emily, Dan orga­nized and packed a 20’ con­tainer, which arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in late August. The field work, due to start in Sep­tem­ber, will focus on sediment-transport process and deposits in the tidal river, man­groves, and con­ti­nen­tal shelf. This work is an excit­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion between UW, Viet­nam National Uni­ver­sity, VAST Insti­tute of Marine Geol­ogy & Geo­physics (Viet­nam), NC State Uni­ver­sity, Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­sity, Tulane Uni­ver­sity, Boston Uni­ver­sity, Uni­ver­sity of Waikato (NZ), Uni­ver­sity of Miami, and UNSECO-IHE.Dan & Aaron packing Loading the container Ready to go

Salish Sea Conference

On May 1st, Andrea & Emily teamed up to give two pre­sen­ta­tions on mud dis­per­sal down­stream of the Elwha River dam removals at the Sal­ish Sea Con­fer­ence in Seat­tle. This con­fer­ence, which is held every other year, rotates between Van­cou­ver BC, Belling­ham, and Seat­tle. Talks and posters focus on a range of sci­ence and cul­tural top­ics sur­round­ing the Sal­ish Sea, the water­body formed by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and Strait of Geor­gia to the north. This year’s con­fer­ence included a ses­sion about the Elwha River restora­tion, which cov­ered a range of top­ics from export of reser­voir sed­i­ment to recov­ery of salmon species. It was a great oppor­tu­nity to hear updates and col­lab­o­rate with fel­low researchers.


Ocean 546 class, spring quarter

Willapa trip video clip

This spring, Chuck taught Con­ti­nen­tal Mar­gin Sed­i­men­ta­tion (Ocean 546) to Oceanog­ra­phy grad­u­ate and under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, and stu­dents in the Earth and Space Sci­ences pro­fes­sional mas­ters pro­gram. The class cov­ered key papers on sed­i­men­tary envi­ron­ments span­ning marshes to car­bon­ate plat­forms, and included inten­sive stu­dent involve­ment in class dis­cus­sions and pre­sen­ta­tions. Field trips to south­west Wash­ing­ton and the Skagit River delta high­lighted the con­tin­uum of trans­port processes from large and medium rivers to the coastal ocean, as well as sed­i­ment trans­port on tidal flats (and also the impor­tance of a good, water­proof tent!). This class comes highly rec­om­mended for any­one inter­ested in sed­i­ment trans­port and the coastal envi­ron­ments where we live.

Ocean 492 class, spring quarter

Ocean 492 class, Spring 2014; field trip to former Lake Mills, Elwha River

Ocean 492 class, Spring 2014; field trip to for­mer Lake Mills, Elwha River

It was a busy spring quar­ter for the lab. Andrea, Rip, and Ian Miller from WA Sea Grant led the Ocean 492 Marine Sed­i­men­tary Processes Appren­tice­ship at Fri­day Har­bor Labs (FHL). This was Andrea’s fourth time teach­ing the class, which offers under­grad­u­ate stu­dents from UW and beyond an expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing oppor­tu­nity focused on the Elwha River restora­tion. This year, 9 stu­dents — Han­nah Besso, Isabelle Cisco, Julia Dolan, Atinna Gunawan, Carol Hol­man, Mol­lie Holm­berg, Kelly Lawrence, Mor­gan Mack­aay, and Sarra Tekola — con­ducted indi­vid­ual research projects focused on sed­i­ments, habi­tats, and chem­i­cal con­stituents. Stu­dents col­lected data on two cruises (from UW’s R/V Barnes and FHL’s R/V Cen­ten­nial) and toured the water­shed — includ­ing the dra­matic land­scape of now-drained Lake Mills — fol­lowed by tire­less hours spent pro­cess­ing sam­ples, ana­lyz­ing results, and writ­ing indi­vid­ual research papers. This course encour­ages stu­dents to under­take sci­en­tific inves­ti­ga­tion both as indi­vid­u­als and as a group, while edu­cat­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists about impacts from the nation’s largest-ever dam removal project and second-largest ecosys­tem restora­tion project.

Katie Boldt defends PhD

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Katie Boldt, who suc­cess­fully defended her PhD research on 12 June 2014! Katie’s dis­ser­ta­tion is enti­tled “Fjord sed­i­men­ta­tion dur­ing the rapid retreat of tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers: obser­va­tions and mod­el­ing.” Before she moves on to her next adven­ture, she’ll be around the hall­ways this sum­mer fin­ish­ing up final the­sis edits and enjoy­ing the Seat­tle summer.