Leah Chomiak, RSMAS

University of Miami-RSMAS, Dept. of Marine Biology and Ecology

Retrieving the CTD rosette off the stern of the R/V Walton Smith in the Gulf of Mexico

Bio: My name is Leah and I am originally from Maryland. I have been pursing my dream of being a marine scientist since the age of 4. I am a recent alum of the University of Miami where I studied Marine Science, Chemistry, and Meteorology, and this research cruise is my first post-grad gig! I enjoy studying all realms of oceanography, more specifically ocean-atmosphere dynamics and both physical and chemical oceanography, and how these factors contribute to understanding the global climate system. I love traveling, being outdoors, adventuring, and doing cool science! I really enjoy working at sea, and I am thrilled to be granted this opportunity to work alongside fellow scientists from NOAA and other institutions for a common goal. As a collective data set, the data collected from this cruise will be compared to that of previous years in similar occupations to see how conditions have changed in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been involved in some interesting field campaigns prior to this cruise; in 2015 I sailed across the South Pacific Ocean studying the biogeochemistry of the region, and last summer I had the opportunity to work in the Arctic studying the summer ice melt season. I am looking forward to what this cruise has to offer; good data and good times are in store!

What I’m doing on this cruise: Myself and another tech will be analyzing the dissolved oxygen content present within water samples taken from various depths in the Gulf of Mexico to understand the availability of oxygen within the water column due to biological activity and other factors. Oxygen is essential to life, therefore it is critical to measure oxygen within the water to assess the productivity of the region, and how food chains can be supported and maintained for ecosystems and fisheries.

Snorkeling in Raivavae, a small island in French Polynesia after sailing 3500 nautical miles in the South Pacific studying the biogeochemistry of the region