This is the final post

This is the final post for the second cruise of the 2014 R/V Point Sur Chief Scientist Training Workshop, please access the most recent Chief Scientist Workshop Cruise blog!

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DSCN0646_smallWell, the cruise is over and the offloading is almost finished. We’re all excited to get back to the lab and start analyzing the samples we’ve collected. We had a great and productive cruise, thank you to the Captain and Crew of the R/V Point Sur, and our mentors Kenneth Coale and Clare Reimers for everything we’ve learned along the way! Now, follow along as another group starts their cruise next week!!

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Always time for science.

The physical oceanographers on board have been so patient this entire cruise, staring thoughtfully at their computer while they wait to find internal waves. Finally, I am happy to report, we finally found some, at 6AM this morning (we are due to dock at 9AM). No time like the present. The ship steamed into more shallow water, and lo and behold, internal waves! This just goes to show that good scientists always have tenacity and never give up trying to find great things.

Here is an image of the internal waves.


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Midnight musings.

Hello again from the night shift. This is our last night onboard, we are doing a few last transects looking for some more internal waves. There was one spotted last night, so hopefully we will see a few more before our time is up. Due to the quick turn-a-round that the boat and crew has to make (to make way for next week’s cruise that starts Monday), we will get into port this morning and start the unloading process.

I just thought I would leave what I have learned from this process. First, ORGANIZATION. Not only of yourself and your research (there are things I wished I had brought on this cruise), but of the daily cruise plan, event logs, meal times, etc. I think Chief Scientists Ana and Kim did a fantastic job juggling all the research needs of the science team as well as keeping the bridge and crew informed of changes along the way. Even the best laid cruise plan will need changing, so I would think the second thing that I took away from this experience is that you need to have a certain level of calmness to be a Chief Scientist. Things will go wrong, winches will leak hydrolic fluid, someone may get seasick, but if you approach these issues with a level of calmness and flexibility it really keeps the anxiety level of everyone on the ship calm. Finally, I think communicating with the science and ship crew is integral to a successful cruise.

I have really enjoyed my time here on the R/V Pt. Sur. I am excited to get back to my laboratory and analyze the samples that I collected here. Also, I am really thankful for the knowledge I have gained and the colleagues I have met. Lastly, I just want to say a really big THANK YOU to the crew of the R/V Pt. Sur, the crew has gone above and beyond to help all of us out in conducting our science, and we all really appreciate it.

Last, here is a beautiful view from the bow of the ship, taken yesterday afternoon.


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Internal Wave Hunters

On this cruise we have two physical oceanographers, Andy Pickering and Gunnar Voet. They are on the hunt for “internal waves.” Although the name sounds pretty groovy, you can’t surf these waves. Internal waves travel along density interfaces below the surface of the ocean. If you’ve ever mixed oil and water and looked at the interface between the two, you’ve seen an internal wave! When an internal wave passes through the ocean, it can lift or lower a layer of water, moving zooplankton and phytoplankton into or out of the sunlight. When these waves break, they cause the water to mix, moving nutrients around. To find the waves, Andy and Gunnar use a large pole-like tool called a biosonic. Check it out below!


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Trawling Along

One of our Co-Chief Scientists, Kim Bernard, studies Euphausiids, aka krill, aka whale food. In order to collect the little guys, we’ve been deploying large nets off the back of the boat, like the one seen below on the left. Once the nets are back on board, Kim uses the hose to wash everything off the inside of the net into a collection bottle attached to the end of the net. At the end she gets a concentrated sample that looks a bit like split-pea soup (below right)! Yummy (for a whale).


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Up all night for some fun…

The late night shift is currently steaming to the next station, so time for a blog update! We are running 24 hour operations here on the Pt. Sur, which means that the science party rotates watch 12 hrs on 12 hrs off. This allows us to conduct operations all night long, visiting more stations, and collecting more samples.

No beautiful picture to post. The internet on the ship is slower than what we normally use on the mainland, so getting a picture to download and upload is quite a feat. It is interesting though, the things you take for granted in every day life that you go without when on a research cruise, internet for one.



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The MOCNESS Monster

IMG_1200This afternoon we deployed the Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System, better known as the MOCNESS, and caught this little guy pictured at right. What is it?? Leave your guess in the comments.

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First Deployment = Great Success

IMG_1183_smallOur first deployment today was the CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) device. We send this device down into the ocean on a wire and the gray bottles shown on the right collect water at different depths. Here scientist Hilary Close is collecting that water to analyze chlorphyll a levels, a measure of primary producivity, or how “green” the ocean is.

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Welcome to Dexter’s Kill Room the trace metal clean bubble! Chief Scientist Ana Aguilar-Islas and scientist Pete Morton set up a “bubble” as we mobilize for the cruise tomorrow:


Ships are made of metal, so this plastic-wrapped set up will keep ship-based metal from contaminating their samples. Dexter would be proud:


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