Nickols takes the helm as part of ocean observatory network

CSUN marine biologist Kerry Nickols will take responsibility for an automated observatory on the Santa Monica Pier, part of a network of sensor stations along the southern California coast that collect real-time measurements of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and water level to monitor the health of the region’s oceans.

The appointment makes Nickols the newest principal investigator for the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), part of a nationwide effort to measure oceanographic parameters and make them publicly available. SCCOOS has been collecting data since 2005, with a network of automated shore stations on piers along the state’s coast which record measurements taken by sensors moored nearby, underwater. In addition to the Santa Monica Pier shore station, SCCOOS has sites at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, Newport Pier in Newport Beach, and Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Data collection at all four sites began in 2005. Nickols will be enlisting students to help her maintain the shore station’s equipment and ensure the continuous collection of data. She also hopes to tap into their creativity in identifying what additional data they can collect.

Nickols expects to start recruiting students to help maintain the Santa Monica station, work with the data it collects, and develop ideas for new informative measurements, she told CSUN Today.

Image: Sunset over the Santa Monica pier, where the station is located. (Flickr: Colin Zhu)