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  Dale Stokes - Researcher Profile

Dale Stokes

Associate Research Oceanographer

Profile | Curriculum Vitae | Scientific Publications

Dale Stokes started as a Postgraduate Researcher at MPL in 1998. His unique qualifications to undertake any research is based on his extensive experience in ocean-based field research. He expertise lies in the design, construction and deployment of numerous in situ sensor systems related to studying both the benthic and pelagic marine environment.

Dr. Stokes also has extensive oceanographic field experience and has participated in various research expeditions dedicated to the study of pelagic and benthic environments around the world. In 1995 he participated in the NSF Polar Program "Cold temperature adaptations in Antarctic marine organisms" at McMurdo Station and has since spent three additional seasons in Antarctica to serve as the scientific liaison and support diver for the Office of Polar Programs, "Life under the Ice" PBS Nature Documentary, as well as collecting data on polar benthic habitats. His field work also includes three seasons of studying impact crater lakes in the high Canadian Arctic with a group of scientists from NASA and the British Antarctic Survey.

His range of research interests is eclectic and includes, in addition to his professional research activities in the fields of Biological and Physical Oceanography, diving and oceanographic sensor and instrumentation development.

Dale is also an avid underwater photographer with a portfolio which includes images and text that have appeared in National Geographic, Science, Nature, Skin Diver and Outside Magazine among others.

Current Projects:
The major current research focus in concentrated in the following areas: a) air-sea gas exchange and bubble formation; b) high pressure gas and environmental sensor systems; c) polar biology d) mesoscale physical forcing on benthic communities.

Some of the current research involving Dr. Stokes and the IMT Laboratory includes laboratory work investigating the use of bioluminescent plankton for use as microscopic flow sensors to explore turbulent mixing beneath breaking waves. This study should help improve the way scientists model the flux of gas between the ocean and the atmosphere. Current field work includes an investigation of internal wave mixing of nutrients and bulk water movements across coral reefs in Florida (with Jim Leichter at SIO) that utilizes new technology developed in the IMT Laboratory. Other field work includes working as part of an international team of scientists studying the nearshore physical and acoustic environment influencing the migration of Humpback whales off the east coast of Australia.

A few of the major collaborating research institutions he has worked with include the NASA Ames Research Facility, the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of Rhode Island, Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. He feels that close collaborations with other researchers are of great benefit because they increase the opportunities and resources available to study difficult or isolated environments. And, he enjoys the close camaraderie that develops among researchers with different specialties that have come together to combine their expertise to study a particular problem.

In addition to work specific to past and present research programs, Dale reviews manuscripts for the Journal of Experimental Biology, Limnology and Oceanography, and Polar Biology. He also has been fortunate to share his field research exploits with primary and high- school children across Canada and in California by serving as a 'scientist/mentor' via the Ontario Education Network and serving as a marine science curriculum advisor in San Diego County.

"The atmosphere at MPL and in the IMT Laboratory is dynamic and exciting. In our group we bring a great range of expertise and experience to focus on projects that are both intellectually stimulating as well as fun. Grant, James and Cary are not only great researchers but we are also all great friends, so working together is a pleasure, not a chore. The IMT Laboratory is unique in its ability to combine novel oceanographic instrument design and fabrication with immediate application to scientific study. This provides an ideal working environment for someone like myself who has a broad range of interests. Life as a scientist is often grueling and boring in the details, but, punctuated with brief periods of excitement. Working extensively in the field provides a high level of satisfaction and having a hands-on-approach to experimentation yields a different perspective to many scientific problems".