Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jumping Into the Science

Just south off Lopez Point, California...

Before 7am, Trey Joyner and I were on deck along with several other scientists, and prepared the CTD-Rosette for the first sampling cast of the cruise.  This was not just a chance at obtaining samples, but also an opportunity to get hands-on experience at deploying the equipment.  There are 24 Niskin bottles on the Rosette, which allows for a collection of seawater from various predetermined depths.  This required several science members, including myself, to climb onto the Rosette to set the bottles.  It's not an easy thing to do while the ship is moving, and it can be somewhat rough on the hands, but we managed to get them ready in less than ten minutes.  

Rachel Vander Giessen
at the controls of the CTD.
Once the time came to deploy the Rosette, Rachel Vander Giessen (University of Washington-APL) and myself, ran the "firing of the bottles."   While inside the ship, we communicated with the crew on the deck by radio, asking them to either lower or raise the Rosette.  Once it was brought to the desired depth, we used a computer to remotely trigger the capture of the samples.  Once all of the samples were collected, the Rosette was brought back on board, and the science crew took what they needed to run their experiments.

Data collected
on our first CTD cast.

Immediately after the cast, Trey Joyner and I were put in charge of collecting chlorophyll samples.  This required us to filter seawater and then extract the chlorophyll by adding 90% (by volume) acetone to our collected specimens.  These samples were then placed in a freezer, to be analyzed the following day.  

Dr. Cochlan and Trey Joyner
are reviewing the protocols
for chlorophyll sampling.

As a science teacher, I found today to be very rewarding.  I often discuss with my students the importance of good communication during labs and group work.  In order to practice good, safe science, we all have to be on the same page. This requires a great deal of patience and teamwork.   We also have to be good with our measurements and data collection.  There are rarely any chances for a "do over."  There are many teams on this cruise, and they all depend on each other to get the big picture.

The recovery of the Rosette from the water.

I would like to thank all of you for following blog.  As of tonight, people from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Trinidad & Tobago have joined us in this journey.  I will continue to try my best to keeping all of you updated.  Welcome aboard!  

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