Oceanus Magazine
Back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Homepage

Images: No Day at the Beach

Indie folk-rock band or scientists-in-training? Sean Killgallin, Dana Giffen, and Seth Zippel (l-r) on a rocky point overlooking the Skagit tidal flats in Washington state, where they spent the summer of 2009 studying water flow and sediment transport. 2009 was the last year of the swash zone fellows program. (Photo by Steve Elgar)

A side of research students rarely see: Seth Zippel enlarges a ditch while Britt Raubenheimer (l) and Dana Giffen take a short break. The ditch was needed to protect the electrical and internet lines that ran from a building to the researchers' temporary office, set up in a shipping container nearby. (Photo by Steve Elgar)

Swash zone fellow Sean Kilgallin watches as engineer Dennis Darnell, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, shifts an instrument to prevent it becoming submerged at high tide. The team set up several towers to record weather data such as wind speed and direction, which influence movement of the water and sediment below. Tidal flats such as these in Skagit Bay, Wash. are dominated by tidal flows rather than by large waves and are found in many places around the world, including northern Europe, Kuwait, Korea, and Cape Cod. (Photo by Steve Elgar)

A tripod sampling station on the Skagit tidal flats is fully exposed at low tide. Marker flags on long poles will allow researchers to find it at high tide, when it will be about 13 feet (4 meters) below the surface. Anchored to the ground with a meter-long screw pipe at each foot, the station holds instruments that measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and  flow speed of the water. A pressure sensor is buried in the sediment just below the tripod. (Photo by Steve Elgar)

Swash zone fellows Sean Kilgallin (right) and Regina Yopak (rear) work with Office of Naval Research Program manager David Han (center) clearing gobs of the alga Ulva from a sensor station on the Skagit tidal flats. Algae fouled almost every station almost every day, interfering with the instruments and requiring the team to clean the stations every day. "It was backbreaking work," said project co-leader Britt Raubenheimer. (Photo by Steve Elgar)

When she wades, he wades: Guide dog Whit was with Raubenheimer every step of the way during their 14 weeks at the Skagit tidal flats—except when the work required her to dive below the surface. (Photo by Jim Thomson)

When Raubenheimer dove to check and clean submerged instruments, Whit waited in the boat. (Photo by Erika Ladouceur)

When time and tides allowed, Raubenheimer (r) enjoyed hiking across the flats and letting her hard-working guide dog, Whit, run free. The Skagit tidal flats gave them plenty of room; they cover an area about 5 miles by 5 miles (3.1 kilometers by 3.1 kilometers). (Photo by Steve Elgar)