Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where I spend most of my time

I decided after I posted the last blog that I should elaborate on what I
was doing. In the picture I posted last time of me sampling from the CTD I
was collecting samples for CDOM or chromophoric dissolved organic matter.
According to the literature, it is an 'optically active component of DOM
that plays a critical role in carbon cycling' (Du et al 2010; Coble,
2007). This material can influence how light travels through the water
column and, therefore, can affect the growth of aquatic organisms, such as
phytoplankton. Because CDOM is a component of the global carbon budget, it
is important to monitor the abundance and composition in the water column.
I collect 18 samples/day for CDOM (60 ml/sample) and filter each sample
through the glass filter set up I have pictured here. This usually takes
about 2-3 hours to complete, including collection from the rosette.

I spend almost 12 hours a day in a room that is called the wet lab. It is
called this for a reason. During stormy seas, if the watertight doors are
not sealed completely, water enters the room with every wave. One of these
days I might be washed away! During most of this time I am working on the
wooden filter rig, seen in the second picture. At least once a day I
collect almost 20 L of surface water from the underway seawater system and
filter almost all of it, particularly when we are in low biomass waters
(like we are today). When water is available from the rosette, I try to
take water column profile samples, at least for phytoplankton pigments. I
require a lot of water for the various parameters I collect and the Niskin
bottles only hold 10 liters. I keep the room somewhat cool to protect the
samples and so that the heaters do not blow dust or other unwanted
materials into my samples.

Today the sun finally decided to show its face! Although we are no longer
in the ice, the sun and calmer seas make for a wonderful day. We are still
in the process of working our way back north towards the 67S line. After
we finish this transect on the 170W line, we will steam for 2 days (approx
10 knots/hour) to get to the aforementioned line. We will continue our
travel west towards Chile.

Ship fever has set in a bit. However, the morale team has come through and
at least 2 activities are being planned for the future. One activity that
was announced today is a murder mystery game. I have never heard of this
game but apparently everyone draws a card (regular playing card) and
whoever draws the Queen of Spades is the 'murderer.' That person, with
some reasonable restrictions, can go around (discretely) and 'murder'
people by showing their card. Those who are not the murderer can try to
guess who it is and confront that person. If they are correct, then he/she
becomes the murderer. If the accusation is false, the accuser dies
automatically. Sounds amusing, right? Also, we still have a second round
of Cribbage. Not sure if I have advanced to the second round yet but, to
be honest, I am somewhat over the whole thing.

Chow for now!


  1. Sounds like you are keeping busy and collecting lots of great samples! The murder mystery game sounds interesting, I as well never heard of it! Keep the morale up, you are over half way finished right? Have you made good friends with any scientists/crew members? Miss ya girl!!!

  2. Great pics. No, really. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.
    I think I played that murder mystery game at camp way back in the day, but I don't recall the details. Sounds fun! My hubby knows how to play cribbage, but I've never played that.
    I imagine your Kindle is worth its weight in gold on a cruise. I got a nook for Christmas- I'm finishing up the Hunger Games trilogy.