Saturday, November 12, 2011


Oceanographers frequently work in teams to carry out both laboratory and field research. At sea, everyone on the ship must do their job well to ensure the safety of everyone and the success of the mission. For US Antartic Program (USAP) vessels, the Raytheon Polar Support Co. (RSPC) provides extensive technical and logistical support. This support is absolutely critical to the success of research on ships in the Southern Ocean and at research stations and camps on Antarctica. Here is a bit about the people on the LMG11-10 RSPC technical support team.

The RPSC team on our cruise on the LM Gould consists of the Marine Projects Coordinator (MPC), four Marine Technicians (MTs), one Marine Science Technician (MST), and two Electronics Technicians/Marine Computer Instrument Specialists (ET/MCIS).

Marine Projects Coordinator (MPC)

Jullie Jackson is the MPC for LMG11-10
The Marine Project Coordinator for our cruise is Jullie Jackson. She is the senior RPSC person on board and the liaison between cruise scientists, the RPSC staff, the ship’s Captain, and the port agent. She coordinates the support effort among the various parties involved. The MPC is the first contact for issues related to on-board operations, cruise plans, etc. Jullie stands a 12-hr watch everyday, but she is always on call and usually puts in very long days at sea.

MST Melissa Paddock brings extra sample jars for us – saves the day!
Marine Science Technician (MST)

Melissa Paddock is the Marine Science Technician. She is responsible for vessel lab operations and will assist cruise scientists with lab instrument set up, hazardous waste disposal, and sample packaging. The MST is responsible for ensuring that we follow proper safety procedures are followed at all times. Melissa helps us with all aspects of our laboratory work at sea.

Marine Technician (MT)

The Marine Technicians are responsible for deck safety and the safe rigging and deployment of all over-the-side operations. A well-equipped workshop is available for equipment repair, troubleshooting, and limited construction.

On our cruise, there are four MTs and they are very busy with a very wide range of tasks. The MTs are on deck during any gear deployment and recovery. They are responsible for checking the gear before it goes over the side. Between stations, the MTs have designed and built racks for our sample jars and water bottles, repaired nets that ripped during tows, and millions of other tasks that keep us in business.

Marine Technicians (MTs) for our cruise LMG11-10 are (left to right): Alan Shaw (at right in photo), Kelley Watson, Kari Anderson, and Krista Tyburski
Electronics Technicians (ET)

The Electronics Technicians (ETs) are responsible for all electronic scientific equipment and some ship’s operational systems. Our ETs are George Aukon and Kris Merrill.  They help with equipment set up and troubleshoot the electronics of all scientific. For our cruise, the ETs have worked hard to upgrade and trouble-shoot the MOCNESS, calbrate our acoustic profiler, setup a freezer van on the deck for our experimental observations of living zooplankton (think: cold!), and designed and rigged up recording temperature probes for our planned salp cultures. 

Left: ET George Aukon (left in photo) prepping the MOCNESS for deployment. Right: ET Kris Merrill getting the Biosonics echosounder ready for field calibration
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)

RPSC sails a minimum of one EMT on each cruise, and for our cruise both MPC Jullie Jackson and ET Kris Merrill are EMTs. Once the cruise is underway the EMT is the primary medical care provider onboard.  They are available to consult with anyone on aboard for any health or injury-related matters.


The RPSC operational and technical support team has been of invaluable assistance in every aspect of our cruise activities. As individuals and as a team, they are our source of expertise, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, as well as lots and lots and lots of hard work!  Hats off and a big “thank you” to the entire team!

-- Ann Bucklin, University of Connecticut

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