Saturday, July 03, 2010

Bering Sea Day 17-18: Engine room tour & sea stars

Welcome to my world... Where you can't differentiate the sea from the grey foggy horizon, day in and day out... the Bering Sea! We have gotten into the far north part of the Bering Sea, where the diversity in the benthos (mud) increases. The excitement of today was that there was a big "chlorophyll max" which is a spike in the amount of chlorophyll in the water. That pretty much indicates that there is a bloom of algae (aka phytoplankton) in the water. The number on the computer showed around 34, whereas before it was around 0.28 to 3. They were excited yesterday to see a peak of 5, and today 34! Don't ask for the units... it's complicated... (Why do you gotta go and make things so complicated! ala Avril Lavigne). Oh! And I saw a fin whale today after dinner! Verycool. I saw its head come up and I thought it was an orca fin, but then it resurfaced with its body arching and its fin coming up, so then I thought maybe it was a humpback. I ran up to the bridge and the observers had seen them too, and told me they were fin whales. And the last thing is that everyone is wondering the answer to my question that I asked them - which is: How many filtration devices do you think are on the RV Thompson? How many ways and for how many purposes can one group of scientists filter water?! You will soon find out... I'm making a video.
We went on a tour of the underbelly of the ship. This is Chief Engineer, Paul Morrissey (far right) talking to our group in the shop to John (far left) and Colin (the rest of us are in the room too but not in the pic), right before we go into the loud engine room.
John decided to keep his headphones on even in the shop. Just cuz he's cool that way! :)
This was a tape collection in the shop! I don't know why I found it interesting, but I did. There ya go.
Paul showing us the control room.
Part of the control room.
The engines in the Engine Room - it is quite loud in here!
You can see the group going around the Engine Room here with their headsets on.
The biodiversity of the benthic (ocean floor) community increases as we go further north and this shot I took today. Notice a lot of seastars, brittle stars, and a sea cucumber. There are also lots of worms, but there are worms in sediments further south also.
This is a pillow star (Ctenodiscus crispa). I took this near the microscope and the lighting is funny but you can see the little star structures all over its exoskeleton, which I think is cool.
Diane Stoecker looking in the microscope at critters - aka microzooplankton.
Diane pouring water that came up from the CTD into bottles for her experiments.
Alison, a tech who works for Diane. Guess what she's doing? You got it! Filtering water!
Diane getting her microzooplankton out of her experimental incubators on deck.
This is a common occurrence. When they send the CTD overboard, everyone comes into the computer lab to watch the computer monitor to see the data as it is collected live. This was today.
I went through all my pics, and am posting some that I hadn't put up previously. So the following ones are not all recent but they get us up to speed. This is a bittle of preserved krill that someone will be doing some sort of analysis on back home.
There are a disproportionately high number of red beards on board. I think there are 5 guys with bushy red beards. One day I'll get a pic of them all together but this is Kyle, who is training to be an "AB" (Able Bodied Seaman) and Brian, the bird observer. This is up in the pilothouse.
We see these birds day in and out. They are northern fulmars. They come in a variety of colors - from the white of these guys to grey and brownish.
This is a close-up of the fulmar. It's not the greatest shot, but you get the idea.
Alexei and Lorelei putting out the Calvet net at night. I had a photo of Alexei putting out his net in one of my earlier posts. He mostly studies copepods and amphipods which are zooplankton but not microzooplankton! The photo is a little dark, sorry.
Eric, a tech who works at NOAA. I haven't put any pics of him so I thought I would take one! He works on nutrient analysis - aka nitrates, phosphates, and ammonium.
Megan and Tracy putting the krill into their incubators at night.


Sus said...

Hey you should see my glue & sealant collection! *lol*

It's so cool what you're doing Wendee, just love seeing & reading the adventure!

Unknown said...

Ha ha Sus! :) Thanks for your comment and for following along!

Unknown said...

Wow! What an adventure! I love the biodiversity picture. What good stuff! If you have time, drop by my blogs. Would love to get a comment from you.