Tuesday, August 27, 2013
San Diego's marine research and resources have long been used to educate the world on what's happening below the surface. In La Jolla, a new facility gives scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a brand new playing field.
SAN DIEGO From tiny fish and sea creatures to crabs and endangered abalone, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have been studying the ocean floor off Southern California for decades. They were the first to identify many species of baby fish or plankton to determine what they would become.
"Nobody knew what they grew into just by looking at the planktonic version, and our scientist figured that out years ago and the legacy of that research is carried forward," said Lt. Fionna Matheson with the NOAA Corps.
She got her early training at the laboratory in La Jolla and said the new facility brings all of that research and archival information into a more efficient space. Most of the science starts in the dissection area where they look at individual fish to determine age, health and species.
There's the experimental aquarium where fish are spawned and tested to see how they react to different environments, and then there's the Tech Tank or ocean within a building for developing new sampling vehicles, platforms and testing sensors.
"And our scientists not only are using technology, they're inventing it, their developing it," Matheson said.
Such as optical tools which allow them to take samples without disturbing endangered marine life so the intellectual information gained here can be shared with scientists around the world.
The new building is a stone's throw from the 50-year-old facility it replaces.