Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bering Sea: Day 12-13 - Sediment trap & a Gumby suit contest

The internet has been sporadic over the past couple of days. I have been writing away, and my third and fourth blog posts are now live at Nature's Great Beyond blog. You can read them here... What is happening to pollock? and Wild Weather, Damaged Equipment, and the Oscillating Control Hypothesis. Or if you click here it should bring you to "search results" that show all the posts I've written about the Bering Sea Project. I suppose the most important excitement of the last few days was that I made my first vlog. I was hoping to be able to upload it for Adventures in Climate Change but I couldn't get it to send. You will just have to wait until I'm back home. However you can see photos below of the subject. I did a Gumby suit contest. These are survival suits that you put on if you ever should have to abandon ship, God forbid in these near-freezing waters. These Gumby suits can save your life but they're challanging to put on, and you're supposed to be able to do it in 60 seconds or less.

This is the ship's third mate, Eric, me giving my vlog spiel, and Colin to the right. We did it on the O3 deck which was a nice open deck without any equipment on it, right under the pilothouse. Little did we know we had a crowd of onlookers up there!
Onlookers in the pilot house!
Here's a shot of Rachel Allison shooting the video of us.
We get started... Colin laid down and tried to get his on that way.
He even looks ike Gumby doesn't he? Mine is too big and very challenging to get on. I had trouble with the zipper. And notice how his Gumby suit has five fingers, while mine has "crab claws"? I think I got the alien survival suit. Try zipping your emergency zipper with 3 fingers!
Note to self: Do not try to put your Gumby suit on over your hat. It totally covered my eyes and I couldn't see anything. It was very disorienting!
After that one happened (Colin one, and did a happy dance, which is hilarious on video!) we staged a second contest between me and Second Mate Eric. The photos didn't turn out because it was raining and I think my camera got foggy lens syndrome, but the videos we shot were great! I will be sharing them via the Adventures in Climate Change Wendee Holtcamp Report sometime after I get back.
Another thing that happened was picking up the sediment traps. This only happens 4 times on the whole cruise because they have to be placed along the continental shelf slope. Most of the time we cruise on the Continental shelf, which is a bit shallower. There are a couple very deep stations at the ends of the transects, like the one we did the cups at, and then there are a handful on the slope, which is like a sloping cliff right before it drops off. That's where the sediment traps have to go. They get deployed and then picked up about 18-24 hours later. They have a satellite transmitter on them that emails a GPS location to the scientists on board. Once the boat gets close to that area, we went up in the pilothouse to watch through binoculars. Once we spot it, we go down on deck until we get close. This is Thompson crew member Dana looking at the sediment trap floats.
A photo of the sediment trap team - Pat Kelly - a grad student at University of Rhode Island, Jonathan Whitefield who is about to be a grad student at University of Alaska, and Matt Baumann, also a grad student at URI.
The sediment trap is a contraption that has 4 sets of 4 bottles, each separated out by several feet. The orange floats keep it suspended in the water. When they retrieve it, they then haul the floats on board one at a time first. The bottles are still in the water at this point.
This is just one of those photos where I don't know what to say... we need a caption contest!! Funny!
Here you can actually see the bottle setup if you look closely.
Next they bring the bottles back to lab and let them settle for an hour. Then they start filtering them through this setup. The ship is FULL of filtration setups. Several different scientists have these going on. I think I am going to take a photo of all the different ones!
Here's a shot of Matt in the lab working on something or other.
After they filter all the water through the filtration setup, they end up with these little glass fiber filters that they bake in an oven. Then it's ready for analysis.
A shot of the deep blue Bering Sea as we cruised through.
Here is Sean sorting out the benthic sediment critters as he does almost every day.
Sean found this skate egg case in his benthic sample, collected with the Van Veen Grab. Skates are like rays, relatives of sharks.
We got silly one day and took pictures. This is Colin's mugshot. Amazing how he can go from calender model to this, aye? ;)
This is Greg's mug shot. Or maybe just a weird shot...
Greg decided to put a batman scarf on his head, so I shot a photo.
This is Rachel Allison, a technician in David Shull's lab at Western Washington University, and Jessica Cross a grad student.

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