Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Salty Ship

Our wake up call!
A humpback whale breaching on the port side of the R/V Melville.

Trey Joyner's video of the playful sea lion pup.

The day started with a humpback whale breaching off the port side of the R/V Melville.  We were now far offshore from Washington.  The skies were grey and cool -- the waves were rolling, making it challenging to walk across the deck. Throughout the day, we got work to get caught up on reading samples and entering data. Shortly after dinner, we saw a sea lion pup showing off its acrobatic swimming skills Trey Joyner used a pole to lower his Go Pro into the water to get some video of the playful pinniped.  During this chance encounter, we believe the pup may have hit the camera, causing the housing to take in water.  While we are not sure if the camera is still usable, we were able to get the video off of the it and onto a computer.  There we stood in the lab, watching the sea lion bounding about in water no deeper than three meters.


Rear Admiral George Wallace Meville, USN
Namesake of the R/V Melville
As the oldest and longest operating research ship in the UNOLS fleet, the R/V Melville is the current holder of Order of the Ancient Albatross. A Scripps Institution of Oceanography-UCSD vessel, it is based out of San Diego, California. With only three more cruises until it is retired, it is a well traveled vessel, having conducted hundreds of research cruises since 1969. There have been many mariners that have worked the deck of the R/V Melville.  Unfortunately, most people will never get the opportunity to live or work on a ship and experience the adventure that comes with being at sea.  I would like to use this post to recognize the hard work and dedication of the "Salty Ship's" crew.

Portrait of the R/V Melville in the ship's library.
Not only is the R/V Melville a research vessel, it is also home to her crew for months at a time.  Crew members may work two or more cruises in a row before they are able to return home to their family and friends.  It is not an easy job, and in most cases it can be very dangerous.  They operate heavy equipment such as winches and booms, all while contending with an unforgiving sea.  They get us to where we need to be, feed us three times a day (very well I might add) and help us carry out the science.  They are just as important as the scientists when is comes to successfully completing a scientific mission.  

Supper time.
When the crew members are not involved in helping the science party, they are operating the ship, maintaining the vessel, and repairing equipment. They work in four hour shifts (four hours on, four hours off).  During their off hours, they try to get caught up on personal matters such as getting rest, doing laundry, or paying bills. Others may decide to work out at "Steel Beach," a small gym on the upper deck. Crew members meet there in the early morning to lift, exercise, and bond.  If you thought working out in a gym was tough, try bench pressing while the ship is moving. As a runner, I have already felt a difference in my body from not running for more than three weeks.  It is simply too dangerous to try to run on the deck of a moving vessel and is not permitted.  For cardio workouts, crew members will either ride the stationary bike or walk around the deck and climb its stairs. 

The laundry room.
Daily tasks that you might do at home are done differently on a ship.   Laundry can be taken care of at any time, but we must keep in mind that there are 33 crew members (in addition to 21 scientists). There are only two washers and dryers aboard 

During chow time, we have to keep in mind that they need to get in and get out to their jobs.  The crew will mix in with the science party to find out more about our backgrounds and what we are trying to accomplish. We try not to "sit on our plates" when we are done with our meals.  When they are not preparing meals, the R/V Melville's cooks, Bob Seeley and Mark Smith, are cleaning the mess hall and going over future menus.  

OS Paul Martin and 
Hannah Glover (NOAA-PMEL)

At the end of the day, some members of the crew will congregate in the mess hall for a friendly game of poker. Others may join the scientists in watching a late night movie in the lounge. There is also a community guitar for anyone to play.  Rob Ball is a musician and when not working on a ship plays in bands. He owns ten guitars and is an Iron Maiden fan.  

I got the opportunity to talk with several members of the crew, to get their perspectives on working and living at sea.  All five of these members represent a crew that is by far, the best that I have ever had the privilege of working with.  The crew of the R/V Melville's are personable, hard working, and exhibit the highest level of professionalism.  Here's a little background on some of the people I get to interact with on a daily basis.

ResTech Keith Shadle and Oiler Tom Brown.
Keith Shadle is the R/V Melville's ResTech.  He serves as the liaison between the ship and the science party.  His job includes assisting with cruise planning and overside deployment of scientific equipment. Originally from Indiana, he now lives in San Diego.  After graduating from college, he started working on vessels and has continued to do so for the past 11 years.  He describes "deck experience, problem solving and the ability to work well with groups of all backgrounds" as requirements to successfully execute his duties. 

Thomas Brown is an oiler in the engine department and works as a winch operator during the deployment of scientific equipment. He is 25 years old and resides in San Diego.  He finds traditional work to be boring and would rather work at sea where he is able to save money for his extended vacation times on land.    When on land, Thomas enjoys riding his motorcycle and spending time with his girlfriend.  A good natured guy, he often talks about Southern California sports with me.

2nd Mate, Heather Galiher.

Paul Martin is also 25 years old, and hails from Maine.  As an Ordinary Seaman, he takes care of day maintenance and takes part in small boat operations.  He describes the R/V Melville's crew to be a tight community.  He says that unlike being on land, it is not possible to separate home and work while being at sea.  "Being on land is our vacation."  He adds, "Working here is about a lot more than just doing the job. It's about  exploring the world and being a part of many interesting projects that take place on board."

Trey Joyner shows AS Cletus W. Finnell his
sea lion video.
Heather Galiher is the R/V Melville's 2nd Mate and is from Chicago, Illinois. After taking a trip to sea while in high school, she knew that she wanted to travel the world.  While visiting with her today during her watch on the bridge, she shared with me some images on her cell phone of a recent to trip to Papua New Guinea.  In one photo, she is standing beside the stern of the R/V Melville with an erupting volcano behind her in the background.  She finds commanding the vessel at night "calm and relaxing."  

Cletus W. Finnell is an Able Seaman from Kansas City, Missouri.  His responsibilities include keeping the ship clean and safe, and keeping a lookout for floating objects and ships in distress.  He finds life at sea to be peaceful and a time for reflection. He's traveled all of over the world and speaks Spanish and a little Japanese.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, kids, and grandchildren.  His favorite hobby is dancing.

Having traveled the world, they've seen places that we could only dream of.  They were kind enough to share some words of wisdom for high school kids that might be reading this.

ResTech Keith Shadle assisting 
with the deployment of the 
Go Flo bottle.
"Don't let school get in the way of your education.  You don't have to go into science to go to sea." -Keith Shadle, ResTech

"Pay attention, stay in school and listen to your parents.  It takes you far in life."  -Thomas Brown, Oiler

"Some lessons that you are taught today might not seem useful or important.  But today, I use many of the skills I learned in high school."  -Paul Martin, Ordinary Seaman 

"Learn as much as you can and never be afraid to do something that is difficult.  Practice makes perfect and it's worth it."  -Cletus W. Finnell, Able Seaman


I hope that you enjoyed this small insight to life at sea with the crew of the R/V Melville.  Kids...they are always looking for hard workers!  They are a great group of people, and I thank them for their time and hospitality.  You can follow the "Salty Ship" on Twitter.   Below are some extra photos of the ship and her crew from this cruise.

Check back tomorrow for more updates!  Six more days to go...

Chief Engineer Alex Rodriguez
grilling steaks for dinner.
Bud Hale is the R/V Melville's 
computer tech.

2nd A/E Rob Ball (far right) of the R/V Melville
attempts to repair a broken chiller.

ResTech Keith Shadle secures the Rosette
for the evening.

Captain Wes Hill enjoys watching the science take place.  
He is seen in the center, wearing a green jacket.

An example of a shower on the R/V Melville.
Some of you have asked, 
so here it is,an example 
of a "head" on the ship.

A view of the bridge.
A hallway on the berthing level.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Aloha Friday

This photo was taken by Andrew Kalmbach (RTC-SFSU) from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Andrew snapped this photo as we sailed under the bridge on May 13th. 

Heather Richard (RTC-SFSU)
and Dr. Mark Wells (Univ. of 

Maine) are looking at her plastic
pollution experiment.
It is now 21:46, and I have finally sat down to write my entry for today.  Today is Aloha Friday, a celebrated by wearing Hawaiian shirts.  I started the day wearing my old long sleeve University of Hawaii shirt. Chris Ikeda offered up a shirt for me to join in on the aloha.  I am still wearing a green Hawaiian shirt with pride. 

Today marked a change in our normal schedule. The day started off with our routine CTD profile cast at 08:00, followed by a transect line starting near the mouth of the Columbia River.  

Trey Joyner and Charles Wingert
(RTC-SFSU) talk about ocean
As the day progressed, we moved away from shore into deeper water. By the end of the day (around 20:00), we conducted six CTD casts at five different stations.  For each cast, Trey and I collected and filtered water samples.  In between casts, I slipped into the dark room to read chlorophylls from the previous day; Trey remained on deck for most of the day.  In addition to the day's CTD casts, Dr. Mark Wells (Univ. of Maine) collected water (from a depth of seven meters) for trace metal analysis.  Dr. Charles Trick (Western Univ.) also assisted Dr. Wells in collecting samples from the Terminator's continuous growth experiment.

L to R: Andrew Shellenbach (Western 
Univ.), Maribel Albarran (RTC-SFSU), 
Brian Bill (NOAA-NWFSC) and 
Kathryn Ferguson (NOAA-NWFSC/FSU) 
discuss what they found in the seawater 
near the Columbia River.
After today, we will conduct four more transect lines before reaching Seattle on June 6th.  The purpose for conducting the transect lines is to monitor areas for hypoxia, which occurs when low oxygen concentrations are present in seawater.  Hypoxia leads to massive crab and fish kills.  This condition occurs when organic matter , such as phytoplankton, sinks in the water column and is decomposed by bacteria. When decomposition occurs, oxygen is consumed, leaving very little of it left dissolved in the water.  While hypoxia can be a natural, seasonal event--it seems to be happening more often, and closer to shore.  Our transect lines are designed to gather data to help better understand why this is happening.  Could there be a link to ocean acidification?  

The deck crew is set
to deploy the CTD.
Another reason for conducting transects is to collect carbon samples for NOAA.  They are interested in amount of carbon available in seawater.  Ocean acidification presents a specific problem to marine organisms that rely on carbon, especially in carbonate ions.   "Calcifiers" are organisms that make shells or skeletons from calcium carbonate. With increased ocean acidification, there will be a reduction in the availability of carbonate ions, creating calcification problems. The effects of ocean acidification on calcifiers has not been studied in detail, which is why we are out here conducting this research. Calcifiers include clams, crabs, snails, larval organisms, and coccolithophores -- organisms that leave fossilized scales of chalk, such as those found on the "White Cliffs of Dover." A reduction in available carbonate ions will result in weakened shell (and structural) development.  How do you think this might affect marine food webs.

Your teachers at sea.
Our last CTD cast was a deep one: 1,250 meters.  Prior to leaving Houston, my wife and I, had our students sign their names on sixteen ounce styrofoam cups. Julian had his son, Kai, do the same thing on a Styrofoam head.  We packed our styrofoam objects into small nets and secured them to the Rosette's metal frame.  The Rosette was dropped just above the seafloor and was brought back up to the surface after Rachel Vander Geissen (UW-APL) fired the bottles.   We gathered around the Rosette after it was secured on the deck to check out the effects of pressure on our styrofoam.  Pressure increases by one atmosphere (14.7 pounds per square inch) for every 10 meters (33 feet) of water.  Including an atmospheric pressure of about one atmosphere, the styrofoam was subjected to almost 39 atmospheres of pressure. That's almost 573 pounds per square inch!  What do you think would happen if we sent you down on the Rosette?  It's amazing to think that there are creatures that live at those depths!

Hannah Glover (NOAA-PMEL)
is taking samples from a
Niskin bottle.
It is now about 23:00. Dr. Wells, Julian Herndon, Andrew Shellenbach, and Charles Wingert have been working with Rob Ball of the R/V Melville to try to fix a broken chiller.  A chiller is used to regulate water temperature in our radioactive experiments.  At the moment, it does not look like it can be fixed.  It remains to be seen what this means for the rest of the cruise.

Brian Bill (NOAA-NWFSC) and
Dr. William Cochlan (RTC-SFSU)
are inspecting the algal growth in
the domoic acid experiment.
Tomorrow's plan will include a CTD cast at 08:00, followed by an acidification experiment sampling. With all of the CTD casts perfomed today, I will have a busy day reading chlorophylls.  With six days remaining, we are all working as a team to make sure that all work is completed before we enter Seattle's Ballard Locks, next Friday at 05:00.
Here are some pictures from our deep cast...

Styrofoam cups from Cypress Lakes
High School students (Katy, TX)
before they were sent down to a
depth of 1,250 meters.
The same Styrofoam cups after they were
sent down to a depth of 1,250 meters.

Julian Herndon (RTC-SFSU) and I after our styrofoam souvenirs were retrieved from the 
deep cast.  Julian and  I attended USC as undergraduate students.  

Be sure to check back again tomorrow as we start sampling from our last acidification experiment.  Also check out Trey Joyner's blog: Science Shorts II.   Keep visiting our blogs -- all on board the R/V Melville  appreciate it!

Aloha Friday with my mentor and former USC professor, Dr. William Cochlan.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Then and Now

L to R: Bud Hale (R/V Melville computer tech),
Rachel Vander Giessen (UW-APL), Keith Shadle (R/V Melville Res Tech),
Joselynn Wallace (URI) and Laura Filliger (URI).

Julia Matheson (Western Univ.) is processing
data from the flow cytometer.

After our morning CTD profile, the water collection began.  With the fish over the side of the R/V Melville, we started pumping into the clean room.  Dr. Mark Wells (Univ. of Maine) was busy treating the water for our third and final experiment of the cruise.  Unlike the two previous batch water collections, this one contained phytoplankton cells that were stressed.  Nutrient levels were low and the pH was higher that we desired.  Due to the lack of upwelling in this area, we will lower the pH and add nutrients to see what happens in our batch "grow out."  While this was taking place, Julia Matheson and Brian Bill continued to run their samples to determine which types of phytoplankton were in the water.  By using the flow cytometer, Julia was able to catalogue the number and sizes of the cells collected, while Brian used his microscope to look for toxic diatoms and dinoflagellates. The good news for Brian was that his analysis revealed a large population of toxic dinoflagellates.  Earlier in the cruise Brian tested for and found toxic diatoms, now he had dinoflagellates.  One area for future concern lies with the dinoflagellates.  Would their populations increase with acidification?  If so, how would this affect marine food chains?


I often think back to the first research cruise I participated in.  It was a 42 day cruise aboard the R/V Kilo Moana, in 2004.  We sailed from Honolulu Hawaii, toward the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, where we spent over four weeks conducting iron enrichment experiments in the subarctic waters of the North Pacific, in a collaborative project with scientists from Canada and Japan.  During that experience, I documented my observations in a leather bound journal--not sure if I would ever have another opportunity to go back out to sea.  Luckily, I have been able to take part in two more cruises.  In 2005, I was selected to be a part of the ARMADA Project, a teacher at sea program supervised by the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography.  I documented my experience and wrote a journal that was published after the cruise's completion aboard the R/V Atlantis. My 2006 cruise aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, also involved journal writing, but this time my work was uploaded in the evening by a NOAA's Sheryl Day.  Unlike my three previous cruises, I am writing this blog in real time.  I used to have to wait until 21:00 to sit down and gather my thoughts, now I jot down ideas and snap photos when events take place.  Even though I am able write throughout the day, I have to remain  flexible.  There are times in which as soon as I sit down, there is a call for "chlorophylls."  I make notes of my thoughts, swing my chair around, and filter the samples.

Dr. Trick (Western Univ.) and
Dr. Cochlan (RTC-SFSU) have
collaborated on multiple research
This refection has me thinking about how much has changed in oceanographic research.  As I look around the lab, there are laptops on almost every table.  They allow for scientists to readily input data into spreadsheets, revealing trends that they would otherwise have to graph by hand.  While laptops have made data input much faster, that doesn't mean that the data is not recorded in other places.  All qualitative and quantitative data is recorded in a lab notebook or binder.  Should a hard drive crash or a file becomes corrupted, we are sure to till have the data we need in a safe place. 

Dr. Mark Wells (Univ. of Maine) is
preparing water for our last set of
Satellite imagery is used aboard research vessels to help scientists see the ocean's 'big picture.'  Whether it's salinity, temperature, or chlorophyll concentration, satellites provide the data needed to make quick decisions.  Prior to the use of satellites, oceanographers had to rely on predicted patterns and data from previous research to make decisions.  The use of prior knowledge is still important, especially when they are not able to readily access satellite imagery due to very slow Internet access.  

Julian Herndon and Maribel
Albarran (RTC-SFSU) are prepaing
for nutrient analysis.
Internet access is something that most of us rely on a daily basis. As sea, it is necessary to access data, web-based email, pay bills, and especially in my case--blogging. During the 2004 cruise, we had email messages sent to a satellite, twice a day.  After messages were composed,  they would be stored within the ship's server, and later launched into space.   There have been times on this cruise, in which Internet access has either been down, or too slow to access information.  It can be frustrating to those that have set aside specific times to accomplish certain web-based tasks.  In contrast to the Internet, newspaper and magazines still attract the interest of readers, even if it's over a week old.  Dr. Trainer (NOAA-NWFSC) brought a copy of the New York Times when she came aboard.  That one newspaper made its way around the lab in just a day.  Imagine what it would be like if you did not have Internet access.  Some people might feel that could be a good thing--if anything, an escape from the buzz of daily life.  

Dr. Vera Trainer (NOAA-NWFSC) 
and JoselynnWallace (URI) 
are discussing post-lab logistics.
Cell phones work well when we are near land, but even then they are not reliable.  Cell phone calls do not work well inside of the ship, therefore we have to make calls on the fan tail. Sometimes, because calls can be lost due to the design of the ship, it is necessary to find the right spot on the ship.   Before personal cell phones were made available for the general public use, satellite telephones were utilized to make emergency phone calls.  They are reserved for when someone needs emergency transport, either from a ship at sea, or when a ship comes to port. How would you feel if you were not able to use your cell phone for an extended period of time?   

Navigational displays
aboard the R/V Melville
A monitor showing Dr. Trick
(Western Univ.) on deck.

Even with a full navigational displays available, oceanographers still rely on charts.  They reveal depths, landmarks, and hazards in the water and is a classic seafaring tool.  Modern oceanography is now supported by multiple computer displays which shows maps, depths, latitude and longitude as well as other information in real time. 

An eye-test would reveal a high
amount of phytoplankton biomass
on this filter.
Machines like autoanalyzers, are now used to run nutrient samples.   They allow scientists to run multiple samples at a time, which makes data processing at sea more efficient.  In the past, samples had to be run through a spectrophotometer. Samples were placed into the spectrophotometer, measured for absorbance, from which concentrations could then be determined.  Fluorometers are used to determine the fluorescence levels in chlorophyll samples, although an eye-test of a filter can reveal high, low, or no phytoplankton biomass. Prior to the use of the instruments, samples would be collected and brought back to a lab onshore for further analysis. Can you imagine trying to conduct science at sea during the early 20th century?  How different do you think it was in the 19th and 18th centuries?  What will the future hold for oceanographical techniques?


After dinner, we had another brief meeting with Dr. Cochlan.  He announced that we will now head toward the Oregon/Washington border.  He reminded us to secure all lost equipment because the water in that area can be rough.  Tomorrow, we will start a transect at the Columbia River with CTD casts for profiles.  With the experiments now set up, we are in the home stretch with one week left.  He also added that tomorrow is Aloha Friday.  As you can see, we are a happy group of scientists.

Dr. Cochlan, chief scientists
(RTC-SFSU) briefs the group
about tomorrow's plan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Are All In...

Julia Matheson and Andrew Schellenbach of Western University,
London, Ontario, Canada.
I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  Heavy rain was falling in the Houston area, causing the bayous to fill up. In some cases, up to capacity.  I thought about my family and friends...hoping that everyone was safe.  I also thought about my students...  I hope that they are doing well and studying hard.  My mind wandered around for awhile until I finally fell asleep around 01:15.

I woke up just after 07:15, got dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, and headed above deck by 07:30. Just like other mornings, I decided to check out the weather on the fan tail.  It was grey, cloudy, and rainy. This is the first time in our cruise that we were getting some rainfall.  I stood on the deck with Heather Richard, and just enjoyed it. There was something soothing about just feeling the rain come down. After a few minutes, we headed back inside--it was time for breakfast.  I could hear the clamoring of forks and knives in the mess hall.  The smell of pancakes, eggs, and fresh coffee filled the air.  Conversations were light hearted and a little louder than usual.  Breakfast was calm and there was no urgency. We were still transiting toward Cape Kiwanda at full speed. 

A view of Julia Matheson's computer monitor.
After breakfast, most of the scientists gathered in the lab, waiting for the arrival at our station. Some contemplated heading below deck to get another hour of sleep.  Julian Herndon and Maribel Albarran (RTC-SFSU) were busy preparing for nutrient analysis runs and Julia Matheson (Western Univ.) entered data from her flow cytometer runs.  Sitting next to her was Andrew Shellenbach -- also from Western University.  Andrew is an avid Toronto Blue Jays fan and is always interested in talking baseball. Should he decide not to continue on with oceanography, I imagine that he could make it as a professional baseball scout.  I find his knowledge of Major League baseball farm teams to be remarkable.

A few minutes later, Captain Wes Hill entered the main lab.  He's a good natured guy, with a spontaneous sense of humor.  He sarcastically asked how the science was going, and then announced to that there were dolphins riding the wake of the bow.  He invited us inside the bow so we could look at them through the windows of the hull.  Three at a time we went, and climbed down a narrow ladder into the belly of the ship.   The space was cold and small, but tall enough for to stand up in.  Beeping in the background was the multibeam sounder. Just inches on the other side of the hull was the cold water, rushing past us.

Always smiling, Capt. Wes
Hill of the R/V Melville.
My view before decending into
the hull of the R/V Melville.
Chris Ikeda (RTC-SFSU)
and Kit Angeloff  (NOAA-PMEL)
are watching Pacific whiteside 

dolphins ride the ship's bow wake.

A still shot of Pacific
whitesided dolphins.
 Pacific whitesided dolphins outside
of the R/V Melville.

There were four, small circular windows, revealing the greenish waters of the Pacific.  Every few seconds, grey flashes would dart around the windows.  Kit Angeloff, Chris Ikdea, and I peered through the windows with wonderment. Dolphins have always fascinated me, but I've never seen them quite like this. I didn't want to be selfish, as there were others two levels above, waiting for their opportunity to come down. I could have stayed there for the rest of the morning.  We climbed back up and the others shuttled downward  Trey had his Go Pro camera ready to take pictures, but by the time he got down to the bow, they were no longer there.  Luckily, I was able to capture this on my iPhone. This happened in a span of 15 minutes.

Chris Ikeda (RTC-SFSU) is seen
here drying cabled to the pH

As I entered the lab area, I saw Chris rushing back out to the deck. He noticed that there was some moisture inside the dry incubator that housed the pH probe interfaces. Even though it was covered, the moisture threatened the integrity of the interfaces.  Chris and Trey quickly removed the lid, wiped off the moisture and dried off all of the contacts.  Crisis averted.

When we finally reached our station off of Cape Kiwanda, we lowered the fish over the side and started to draw water into the R/V Melville.  Brian Bill (NOAA-NWFSC) deployed a plankton net to sample for potentially toxic diatoms.  Within minutes, he had the sample under his microscope, and begun identifying the cells.

A view of the fish being towed
alongside the R/V Melville.
Looking for the water we want is tricky.
Ideally we would like to have recently upwelled water, that is low in pH. In recent days, we haven't experienced the winds needed for upwelling to occur.  When it does happen, cold, nutrient rich water is brought to the surface.  This water is low in pH and ideal for phytoplankton growth. During our survey, the clouds began to recede, revealing the sun for the first time today.   We gathered on the deck to take pictures of the beautiful Oregon coast. Dr. Vera Trainer (NOAA-NWFSC) pointed out toward the water near shore and said emphatically, "This is our job."  We get up every morning, to work, and take the pulse of the ocean.  Every sample we take, every test we run, gives us a physical exam of the ocean.  As of this morning, I have read about 625 chorophyll samples.  

Our view of Oregon after the
clouds cleared.
By 13:00, we took samples from our domoic acid and acidification batch experiments.  Trey filtered all of the water while I assisted by adding the acetone needed for chorophyll extraction.  Once I capped and placed the test tubes into the freezer, I walked over to the log book to find out which samples needed to be taken out for analysis. This is the daily cycle that I am proud to be a part of.   

By supper, I read most of the samples, and finished the rest after 18:00.  Trey and I cleaned up our filtration stations and started working on our blog entries for the day.  Tonight, Trey wrote a very nice post on Brian Bill (NOAA-NWFSC).  Brian is usually up late and is early to rise each morning.  I asked him earlier today, if he thought that when he was a kid, that he would become a scientist some day.  He said that he's always been interested in science and that he's very happy working for NOAA.  I've known Brian for almost nine years--he's always been very meticulous and clean with his work.  He's definitely one of the best scientists conducting research on toxic algae.  I respect him as a researcher and colleague.

Your teachers at sea.

Now that the day's sampling is complete, the second set-up of the experiments have been broken down.  Chris Ikeda (RTC-SFSU) and Dr. Trick (Western Univ.) removed the old samples, cleaned out the incubators, to prepare them for the final run.  At 08:00 tomorrow morning, we will start with our routine CTD casts and then "fish" for our experiments.  We expect this water to be "spent" of its nutrients, so we will manipulate the pH and add nutrients to simulate the conditions we want.  Then the new batch experiment begins.  At this point, we cannot keep searching.  With the final days ahead of us, we need to eventually move toward Washington.  The decision was made -- we are all in...

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more updates.  Also check out Trey's story on Brian Bill on his blog.

My office at sea.