In the same way a doctor can monitor a patient’s health by analyzing their blood chemistry, scientists can assess the “health” of a river watershed by studying the chemical composition and other properties of the water. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Research Center, and their international colleagues founded the Global Rivers Group to monitor the health of major rivers worldwide, from the Fraser to the Congo.
In May 2011, when the Fraser swelled to overflowing with meltwater and rain, Dr. Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink and graduate students Britta Voss and Sarah Rosengard traveled the length of the river, from the delta to the headwaters, taking samples from both the main stem and critical tributaries along the way. Their data, supplemented by more frequent measurements made by students from the University of the Fraser Valley, will be used to assess how the river and its watershed are changing—for better or worse—over the coming years.
Chris Linder specializes in communicating science to the public using photography and multimedia. Chris holds a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program and maintains a part-time affiliation with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a Research Associate. Since 2002, Chris has focused on communicating the stories of scientists working in the Arctic and Antarctic. His education and training as an oceanographer give him a special insight into photographing marine science. He has spent over a year of his life on expeditions to the polar regions.