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The Mokelumne Current - Lodi Watershed pt.2

What is a Van Doorn (Van Dorn) bottle?

We are so fortunate to work with children from all over the greater SF Bay. Students from Lodi participate in a program called City of Lodi Watershed Program and explore different aspects of their watershed. Read on to hear their words as they explore the Bay topside from our Big Blue Boat!

Written by: Jade Ambriz and Aaron Trejo


Have you ever heard of a bottle that can collect water samples? It’s called a Van Doorn bottle! Its scientific name is oceanographic bottle. Another name people use for the Van Doorn bottle is the Nansen bottle. The Van Doorn bottle allows samples to be taken at different water depths. It is designed/modeled horizontally because it makes it easier to collect water samples. It makes it easier to collect the water samples because when it is lowered into the water, the water goes straight into the Van Doorn bottle. There is a rope attached to the Van Doorn bottle so it can be lowered into the water without losing the bottle. To close the bottle you need to drop a metal thing (which is also attached to the rope) down onto the Van Doorn bottle.

Now let us tell you about our experience while using the Van Doorn bottle. It was confusing and awesome. It was confusing because our instructor had us figure out how to use it instead of her just showing us. There were a lot of steps to figure it out but in the end, we ended up figuring it out. Our instructor also let us help collect water samples after we figured out how to use it. Overall, it was an amazing experience being able to go on the MSI trip and be able to use it. The person who designed a water sampling bottle was Fridtjof Nansen in 1894, and Shale Niskin improved it more in 1966. It’s a big year gap because it took time to improve the Van Doorn bottle and they didn’t have the right products or materials to improve it


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