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2019 G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award to Oscar Schofield



so welcome to the final awards plenary of presentation of this meeting today it's my pleasure to introduce to you the recipient of the 2019 GE Evelyn Hutchinson award dr. Oscar Scofield whose distinguished professor in the department of marine and coastal sciences at Rutgers University so the Hutchinson award is one of the as one of as loes most prestigious awards and it's given annually to a scientist who's made exceptional contributions to limnology in oceanography in the early and middle stages of their career and who shows promise of continued scientific excellence into the future Oscar's receiving this award for transforming our understanding of the physical and chemical processes that govern marine phytoplankton physiology and ecology through the application of novel ocean observing tools and for his skillful and enthusiastic leadership of the collaborative science necessary for addressing broad scale oceanographic challenges so Oscar's a biological oceanographer who's made important contributions to the understanding of diverse ocean ecosystems from the North Atlantic to Antarctica and beginning with his doctoral research at University of California Santa Barbara where he investigated impacts of the Antarctic ozone hole on phytoplankton a central motivation of his work has been developing new approaches that can collect data on ecologically relevant spatial and temporal scales his pioneering use of remote ocean observing tools to measure phytoplankton dynamics at higher frequency and resolution and at larger scales than traditional ship-based sampling is a hallmark of his career through continual innovation of a range of technologies and by coupling with remote sensing Oscar and his collaborators have developed a more comprehensive approach to understand how marine ecosystems function and are influenced by climate those technologies these technologies have resulted in the deployment of ocean observing networks throughout the world which has been spearheaded by the Rutgers Center for ocean observing leadership which Oscar co-founded and helps to lead the nature of Oscars research is by necessity highly collaborative and demands effective leadership team building and mentorship his commitment to these roles is greatly valued by his colleagues and students and his easygoing nature is a great motivator for those around him in addition to his excellent teaching and mentoring he's highly committed to public outreach and finally it must be recognized that Oscar's innovation is matched by his prolific publication record which includes over 180 publications that have garnered upwards of 10,000 citations so in summary Oscar is a highly deserving recipient of the Hutchinson award who has helped transform the field of Oceanography through his impressive body of work and his enrichment of many people's experience in science and who will continue to thrive and contribute long into the future so please join me in congratulating Oscar Scofield [Applause] I'll be wearing this for the rest of the afternoon first off I want to thank as low it was the first meeting I went to as an undergraduate and it's been sort of the place I go to get recharged from all the meetings I go to so thank you as Lowe for organizing this for all of us and it's humbling to be associated with Hutchinson and it's even more humbling to be associated with a long list of names who've been given the word before because they're my heroes my take-home message is really for the young scientists in the next generation is follow Hutchinson's model of curiosity and be ready to do career changes you know I was trained as a cell biologists oceanographer now people think I'm an engineer which is a total joke and I sort of always default to Doug Webb's quote that he's given us to work by which is work hard have fun and change the world and that generation that's coming is going to change the world and meet the needs I wanted to give it to shout out to my two major advisors at Santa Barbara Barbara presen who got me interested in physiological ecology and how that drives the biogeochemistry and diversity in the ocean at the same time I had a co advisor Ray Smith and he was pretty adamant we all acknowledge we have a sampling problem in the ocean let's solve it you know rather than just acknowledge that it's there and we need to solve it because the oceans are changing and there were there early records of that sort of happening when I was in graduate school and on top of it in the lecture we saw yesterday is we need to translate science knowledge into things that help society immediately we can't have a big lag phase you know not only for the problems they'll solve but also to keep them involved with us to see we're doing important things and at the time in the 90s in the early 2000s there was sort of a recognition yeah and so I pulled out the heaviest hitter I could find Walter monk and he pretty much acknowledged that the physical oceanographers and chemical oceanographers despite lots of hard work did not provide synoptic views of the ocean sufficient to help a biologist you know they and the problem we were having in oceanography is there was a lot of big open questions and we didn't have enough data where we could falsify any of them you know so we could all remain in our little parallel ivory towers and that was good through tenure but then after that it was time to get on and try to move on and so in the 90s there was his work of developing ocean observatories ocean networks and there were all these things and what you've seen globally over the last two decades is the largest investment in ocean infrastructure this century and it's based on all kind of sectarian so how do you build an observatory first thing you do is you draw a cartoon you know and so that's your vision of the future so I was hired by Fred Grassley and that was his cartoon that we all were going to march to took about five years and then with NSF support the leo 15 observatory ecosystem observatory was established and it was a sea floor cable there's a picture of it on the docks it actually sunk the docks down into the mud we had to repair it afterwards it was 11 tons and it went 10 kilometers offshore and I just want to give you an example of how even a single point in the ocean can be so illuminating so when we were installing it there was this experiment looking at benthic stresses and they were putting out Bass tripods the sensor that they're putting is here this is prior to the deployment scientist is unwashed hasn't shaved getting everything ready instruments beautiful and clean you leave it in the ocean for a month it looks like this it's grown a beard the scientist actually wearing the same clothes has shaved and is clean which is great and so they get their date after a year and they compare their theory of the observations and the only time he worked was during extreme storms didn't work at moderate winds didn't work at normal low conditions and they would send divers down there they wouldn't see anything wrong they'd bring the instruments back to the lab they'd look at it looks good calibrations look good so we installed a video camera on Leo 15 looking at the sensors and it really drives home the importance of being present that's the turbulence sensor right in there and so the physical oceanographers realized they needed biologists because they were really looking at turbulence around a fish body and while it's dorky this is what we're experiencing all the time in oceanography and so when we built our Observatory we wanted to look at biogeochemistry along new jersey and so we have these pockets circled here in red the colors of the seafloor and these were regions of recurrent low oxygen in the bottom waters enough where you could kill shellfish and so it's New Jersey so obviously the answer is is there's lots of pollution pouring off the state driving these recurrent hypoxia zones and the entire management scheme of the state was based on that hypothesis and we built our first Network right here in this zone so we wanted to study that and it was a time there was a big technology revolution starting and so my colleagues Scott Glenn and Josh Kohut we started exploring of how you try to network all the technologies at once and so was partnership with NSF NRL and lots of people NASA we established this high resolution sampling grid and we wanted to sample this upwelling event that was going to be all this pollution pouring off first thing we noticed is right in our zone where the low oxygen was was where current upwelling Eddy it formed six times every summer it lived for about five days and it was associated with a lot of organic matter so okay we change our idea it's a typical upwelling scenario we get upwelling in specific zones this location was fixed year after year because it was driven by the seafloor irregular there regular bathymetry and was it a typical upwelling scenario no so we're doing two transects one through the Eddy one to the north of it and here you're looking at a TCP data this was the first time the ADCP had been carried by a robot so that was our big victory but we discovered there's this little check and in this jet was all this organic matter being collected and scavenged from the shelf and being dumped into the Eddy and pumping it full of material things weren't really growing when you measured them directly essentially these dynamics were essentially collecting organic matter for an entire coastal zone and dumping it into these fixed locations and this Eddy this jet was about ten meters deep and three kilometers wide and until we actually got in and measured that whole area soon optically we had no clue even existed and so the message here was he had to touch and be persistent in these regions to figure out the process underlying the biochemical changes and this is if you actually get in a plane and you fly over these Eddy's this is what it looks like yeah and so this idea that New Jersey you know was pumping a lot of stuff that was driving blooms wasn't true at all it was scavenged by physical oceanography and dumped in his own there was enough to explain the low do it's changed the whole management strategy because we invited the state to be part of our experiment and so now the state of New Jersey actually monitors all it's all coastal water quality with gliders you know and you can essentially instead of getting a hundred data points which they used to get you give them about half a million data points over the summer I encourage you all to involve these communities in your experiments they'll be very active and they'll be so grateful to do it as a total pragmatic reason they like this project so much they write the grant for us they send it to us we sign it and send it back so as a young scientist there's a lot of benefit but for for us the nice thing was was here was discovery of these dynamic features that were immediately translated into science policy within a year – and we're into ten years of robotic sampling what ultimately drives all the process I just talked about is this undersea river off new jersey the mid-atlantic coal pool it's a thousand kilometres long it's dynamic it varies in space and what we've discovered over the years is it's actually central if you want to describe phytoplankton productivity biogeochemistry fisheries hurricane intensity ocean atmosphere dynamics and so how do you map a 1000 kilometer feature that drives most of the things you're interested in when you can't see it from space and you have no way of monitoring it and that's where these integrated networks is so I love gliders but you need to use all the tools you have will never replace ships at sea so at you know at that time you mature technologies in your local regions and it's been done all around the country you know if you look at the NOAA I use program there's 13 Ras and then there's NSF sponsored ones and so the great victory is is these networks exist they're being hardened and now we're gonna transport him to areas seeing really large change and so I joined Hugh duck close long-term ecological research project down at Palmer and we're essentially working in this location in Antarctica we just finished I think it was our 27th year down there in the field season and the read when the program was written the idea was with sea ice drew drove all the ecology and so let's do it here because there's Palmer station a lot of assets we didn't know at the time that it was being placed in the area that was going to show the largest sea ice loss in the southern ocean over the last 20 years and so it was completely fortuitous that we ended up in this location but it's allowed us to study how large changes ripple through food webs so here's a picture of a graph you're looking at year winter air temperature it's the fastest winter warming location on the planet so it's almost raised seven degrees in the winter and you're talking about a CI system that drives the ecology we're crossing the melting point is a singular change in the entire system and if you see this how there's a lot of variants in the early years and this transition to low variance is actually as a system is transitioned into being a maritime dominated system and so you would expect a lot of it here's sea ice you can see there's a general decline there's a lot of big oscillations these oscillations are driven by the El Nino La Nina cycles and their interactions with the southern annular mode over the continent so you have these cyclical climate processes interacting that drive these features the two lines ones in the north ones in the south just shows it to go here and over the whole thing so you have actually what ends up being really cool is you have a series of resiliency experiments if we turn to ice back on will the ecosystem or cover so you can use the natural variability to ask cool questions and the other thing that drove the formation of the project was the Penguins had this irregular rookery locations along the peninsula you know there's lots of areas that you don't really find penguins breeding and this was discovered by Bill Fraser and so the question was was why and is it going to changed it have to do with sea ice and so it's been studied for years with visual counts it's transitioned to radio tagged animals so we can actually see where they're foraging and the motivation was well it's changing and it's changing quickly so the Adelie penguin is one of the two polar penguin species there's happy feet to emperor and then the the adele ease the delis are about up to my knee and at Palmer Station when Bill started in the 70s there were 15,000 reading pairs on those local islands there's about a thousand left and you know the we have sort of a standing bet of when the Adelie will disappear doesn't mean the system is shutting down completely it's changing so we have to evasive penguin species subpolar species that are moving in and filling the niche yeah and so we're in this transition we want to know the driver well is it food well what we do know about this system it's a tightly coupled food web so you're looking here at chlorophyll anomalies and black bacterial anomalies and stippled bars and so if you're above zero it's a big chlorophyll year if you're below zero it's a low chlorophyll year this entire time bill has been doing penguin dine samples we do not kill the Penguins that's not what's causing the decline I want to point out you pour some seawater down their throat and they throw up and then you sort the throw up and so he's been doing it for decades and what you want to look at here is these years when you have a positive anomaly the population is dominant by big krill adult krill you have a big party in the ocean what happens lots of food mood music goes on and you have a great recruitment event and you reset the entire population size down to larval species so you can see this recurrent pattern of big chlorophyll years translating into big recruitment events so it's very tightly coupled and so okay phytoplankton the base of the food web or potentially a big driver what's happened over the last thirty years of this well this is where we've been looking at sort of all the ocean color satellites all the lineage and tweaking algorithms and all that stuff and taking the difference so this is really comparing the seventies and eighties to the late 1990s and so if it's red it means that chlorophyll is increased blue is where chlorophyll has decreased so let's look at the South first why is this increased well this used to be covered by sea ice used to have a tabletop over the ocean it was very dark you didn't have much phytoplankton growth if you look to the north there have been substantial decreases and the driver there we hypothesized and they're still working on is this has become ice-free it's exposed to the wind in the winter it's a very windy place on top of it the trends show wind has been increasing and on top of it the atmosphere has become moister and so the cloud cover has increased dramatically and this is a dark ocean already and now you're mixing and you've decreased the amount of light hitting the surface ocean so that doesn't bode well for those animals really tightly coupled so what's the driver you know what's melting what you know we know the atmosphere is cold and the only heat source that can explain the rise in temperatures in the atmosphere is the circumpolar ocean it's down at about 300 meters so you really can't see it it's very very warm it's like 3 to 4 degrees balmy just like Puerto Rico here and it's very large whoops it's very large and it impinges right on the West Antarctic Peninsula and so the idea is is this large ocean current one of the largest on the planet is essentially interacting with the continental shelf delivering heat because we know it's the only thing warm enough to warm the atmosphere the degree we've seen it the two places that are melting in an article right now is this location and this location done around the top of my shelf you know and so where the circumpolar current is close to the continent we see a change and so what's melting Antarctica it's the deep ocean it's one we can't sample there's been a large program called SOCOM trying to get the temperature right on it so here's one of the largest currents on the earth melting Antarctica and we're still trying to get the bottom temperatures right what does that bode for when we do simulations going forward with climate but we're going to solve that the problem is is when that current interacts with the Shelf edge it forms so the currents running around here it forms Eddie's and they're tiny they're about 15 to 30 kilometers wide they have a lifetime of 7.7 days according to moorings and they squirt two to three times a week on to the shelf and over time they dissipate and that's what's warming the system and defusing heat out to the atmosphere so as an observational estoy love going to see how do you sample a 30 kilometer Eddy that's irregular in space and time when you can't see it from space and you have no predictive capacity to say when they're forming and yet it's the fundamental thing warming the whole system from mooring work we realized that they were glacially carved canyons and that there seemed to be some association with these eddies with these canyons coming in at two or three hundred meters deep you can't sample that from a ship so we went to the robots the gliders gliders are great because they can be out there for sustained periods of time and you can constantly adjust what it's supposed to do and so we set up picket lines and when we encountered the water mass which we could fingerprint based on temperature if it's 2 degrees or warmer it had to come from the circumpolar current that's one thing beautiful about this system so you go back and forth back and forth you encounter the water and then you essentially try to surf the Eddy for as long as possible underwater at 300 meters eventually you'd fall out of the Eddy you can jump ahead catch it again and so essentially here we're surfing an undersea small scale feature for about seven days that was science fiction when I was a graduate well actually the robots were the gliders were science fiction at that point Henry Stamm will first introduced the concept in 1989 in the first issue of the oceanography Society of his vision of the future and you can see here this gets bluer greener it's diffusing heat as it's being transported along these glacial canyons and it's becoming more amorphous so we can actually sample these small-scale features and so we've been mapping them over time and so these are all different Eddie's the size in the color indicate the heat and then we track it you know as much as we can and if you sort of look at what these eddies look like when they're going from offshore to ensure they're losing heat they're losing height their radius is getting smaller so now we can actually track where these undersea Eddie's are that's really cool but if you look at where they terminate in these canyons that's where those penguin colonies are and so the thinking is is when this was a completely ice-covered system and you wanted to predict sort of a region where penguin will be happy in wintertime it's where there would be a plenty of forming so it had access to water and the ocean in the wintertime and the polenta's would be formed by these little eddies delivering heat consistently guided by these glacially carved canyons from a long time ago if that happens we should see up weld heat at the penguin colonies so bill Frazer he's one of the last great natural ists if you ever have a chance to have a beer with him take it his stories are amazing and he had wanted to test this upwelling picture and he never had an opportunity well with a glider we do and there's your upwelling heat right beside the colony here's another colony further to the south and it's on the side of the island where a lot of heats being injected you find the colony not on the other side of the island even all the way down to the south you can see this little blip of heat and that heat originated from the offshore deep ocean and so if you want to understand penguin ecology you have to know your physical oceanography and that's a great opportunity so there's other penguins moving in why are they doing well and the delis are doing bad well we've been combining the robotic ones the gliders propeller-driven ones thanks to my colleagues along with radio tagged animals and trying to relate where they're foraging via delis do really well in the early summer that's when the mixed layer depths are very shallow his winds pick up in the late summer only the gentoos are diving deep and these deep dives by the gentoos correspond to where you find peak krill aggregations and chlorophyll maxima and so essentially the sub polar species has a more malleable behavior and it adjusts to the conditions while the a' delis growing up in the antarctic for generation after our super conservative they don't really deviate from what's been hardwired into their system and that seems to be a general strategy you see for a lot of Antarctic life alright so those are two examples where small Jets small Eddie's actually drive the ecology and you couldn't have actually sampled those things without some of these new advances and technology but it's also leading to another generation yeah we can cross whoops we can do scaling experiments that we always dreamed we were going to do but we can change oceanography we can change the definition of an oceanographer if you go to a classroom and you hand them all all the kids a piece of paper give them a pencil and say draw an oceanographer or draw a scientist it's usually a bald man wearing glasses wearing a lab coat and our point is is that actually all the kids in the room are oceanographers we can't wait for them to go through a PhD degree we need them to be scientists from day one and get them entrained because doing science is the funnest part and the revolution is with iridium data is now freely available to anyone who has access to the web it took a cultural change in the beginning I was warned not to give my date away for free it would hurt my career turned out ok but it allows anybody to be an ocean Explorer in real time and get to be in the excitement of science before we know the answer usually we teach it from textbooks where the you know you sit at the fireplace and you're drinking your scotch and the little benzene ring pops up and you go oh epiphany a lot of its failure and a lot of it's an trying to make things work and we can open that up to the community when we form the cool room this is the cool room here we didn't really sort of keep track of stuff we just sort of putting stuff out on the web we got sued and it led to Noah's open sky policy being clarified but then we started looking at web hits right now we get about six thousand unique visitors coming to the web site a month and in summer it's a quarter of a million web hits a day 70% of those web hits are the general public if you look at the domain name and they hit the website at the same times every day right after lunch they've come back to their New York building or in their cubicle they want to go fishing they go in they log into satellites and current maps then there's a lag in the afternoon and then at 5:30 they log back on when they've opened their beer and essentially are deciding whether to whether and where to play hooky the next day people are hungry for data we just need to give it to him and then we were at a meeting in Europe and Rick's PIN rad essentially invited us out and the conversation started with a sentence you have to do something for the good of your country Oh God and his main point is this National Academy and study was saying that had made countries in the developed world very strong was that they were used to taking risks in their science back then and his money's constrained too often we become risk-averse and has become risk-averse we're not very good at selling ourselves with grand visions and we're going to lose a generation of stem scientists so he pretty much told us get a glider modify it flight across the Atlantic and have your students do the flying and at the time this was the red line what he wanted the green line is as far as we had gone on a single mission so we redesigned the whole thing with Teledyne and did it first one got all the way to the Azores was eaten by a shark students were devastated but it drove home the concept that you got to take risks to do good science second one made it all the way to Spain and our class which started with two students grew into anywhere from 50 to 70 students every term and the real thing that we think was important was about 30% were non science majors they were religious studies they were language you know they were gonna be lawyers which meant that they were actually gonna be important as opposed to scientists but now we essentially let them essentially be ocean literate and carry the message for us and here we are in Spain with Ric our Dean and these school kids that started interacting with New Jersey school kids and then New Jersey school kids had put a hundred letters personalized to the Spanish school kids so it was a slowest mail delivery ever so we started looking at the impact on the education it led to a big increase in enrollment of marine science majors it increased our diversity almost doubled it and that hasn't changed and on top of its sort of informal research theses versus formal research theses jumped and we were just doing our normal thing we can do this and not compromise our science and at the same time and train the next generation so in conclusion sampling limitations cripple our interpretation of what we see and while we have a long way to go and that's why I look forward to seeing what all the new generation is going to do we I think are getting the point where we can actually start mapping hutchins and bio types which he would call in space and time and the new technologies are gonna change how the next generation does scientist does experiments they might actually be at sea 365 days a year while teaching their classes and their students being part of it because we have global omnipresence now and these new approaches can also change how we engage Society and we heard a wonderful talk yesterday about the importance of it and changing perception scientist well show him the data is useful to their life today tomorrow and then sort of following the lectures that have happened this entire week and the inspirational stories from Puerto Rico recovering from Hurricane Maria let's follow their lead let's not sort of sit in our ivory towers let's pull together let's be resilient to meet the hard problems let's put the easy ones away let's actually tackle the hard problems risk is good and we're gonna meet those challenges together so I'm gonna stop there again two of my heroes Doug Webb inventor of much of the Argo float thats in the ocean and the gliders that's his mantra and this is from the oceanography article in 1989 of Henry's Tamil thinking about what would it be like to be an oceanographer if we had omnipresence so I'll stop there and I'm very honored and I thank the Society for everything they do [Applause] you [Applause]

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