Life as a Wrigley Institute SPOT Intern

USC Wrigley Institute

By: Yao Guang Hoh

As an electrical engineering major, I’ve always been interested in oceanography, but I’ve never had a chance to participate in depth because of my lack of background in the environmental sciences. However, as a Wrigley Institute SPOT intern, I’ve been able to learn so much about oceanography while also developing important data analysis skills.

SPOT stands for the Wrigley Institute’s “San Pedro Ocean Time-series“, and provides a wealth of information from the San Pedro Channel dating back to 2000. Not only do I get to create beautiful graphs with this data, but I also get to understand the correlation between different environmental values, and try to analyze the “bigger picture” and see seasonal patterns.

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The labeled points on the graph represent where the deep chlorophyll maximum occurred for that month in 2001.

I’ve also had the opportunity to examine data in completely different ways, such as using Google Earth to view the chlorophyll concentrations every month. Using different programs to visualize data can lead to new insights, and ensures that you can double check the processed data multiple times using the same raw data.

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Google Earth image of chlorophyll concentrations on Jan 2014

Being a SPOT intern isn’t all about sitting down and analyzing data, although that itself is extremely rewarding. There are so many hands on opportunities to be involved in, such as going on the SPOT cruise itself, or attending the intern retreat on Catalina Island. Between analyzing the data collected and collecting data firsthand, I have reaffirmed my belief that no matter where one may be, we are all connected to the ocean.

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Me on a SPOT cruise this fall.

Yao (Ignatious) is a Fall 2016 SPOT Intern with the USC Wrigley Institute, and a USC undergradaute majoring in electrical engineering.

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