Feb 22

February 22, 2008

What day is this?

TGIF does not mean much to us out here. Now that we are on station the
24/7 work will continue. In fact of the five folks I polled at lunch,
none realized it was Friday. Most knew that UNC beat NCSU. I guess you
can tell where our hearts are.

Today is another beautiful day—calm seas, warm weather and brief windows
of sunshine. It cleared off enough for us to believe the map and see that
we were surrounded by very large mountain peaks in the distance. The
tranquility may end in the morning though. The captain poked his head in
the lab to tell us that the latest forecast out of Chile is predicting
high winds in the morning. Apparently Palmer got blasted by a storm last
night. The weather can change really quickly here.

Animals recovered in the otter trawl.

Last night we used the otter trawl to collect animals from the seafloor.
It took several hours to sort them by taxonomic group. Some will
be dissected for genetic, tracer and biomarker work. Some will be pickled
in formalin to preserve them for more specific identification. We are
trying to keep others alive in aquaria for feeding experiments. It is a
challenge to collect them without hurting them. First they have to
survive the bumpy ride in the trawl net, then they have to survive the
pressure changes on the way to the surface of the ocean, and finally they
have to be happy in the aquaria as the ship rolls and water quality
changes. We are all crossing our fingers that they fare well. We’ve also
got a bit of a challenge predicting which are predators—we surely don’t
want to mix the wrong species.

Today we have been coring with the kasten corer. It collects a
relatively long and narrow core that spans the last 9,000 years or so.
The cores it collects are valuable for measuring sediment accumulation
rates, deeper porewater processes, and geological shifts during the

Recovery of the kasten corer.

Right now we are focusing on plankton collections. Alyssa deployed a
small, fine mesh over the side earlier. Both this and the kasten
core deployments require that the gates on the deck be open. Anytime the
gates are open, the people working in the area must lash themselves to the
boat. Safety remains a top concern and the last thing we want is someone
to fall into the frigid water.

Position: 63 degrees 3.360 minutes S, 61 degrees 35.322 minutes W
On station

Air temp. 4.7 degrees C; water temp, 1.595 degrees C

1 Comment:

  1. MARY said...
    How long does it take to send down the trawler or box to a depth of 600m? Do you have to bring it up more slowly (esp when there are animals in the trawler)?

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