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Journals 2003/2004

Sandy Pratt
Woodstock Academy, Woodstock, CT

"Role of Zooplankton grazers in harmful algal bloom dynamics"
R/V Endeavor, Bay of Fundy
June 30 - July 8, 2003

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July 3, 2003

I did not wake up until 11:30 am and missed breakfast. The cabins are below water level with no portholes. It is always dark and time cannot be judged. After heading to bed, I learned that my cabin is directly under the J frame used to deploy the large CTD.

The first time the CTD was dropped on my head, I nearly jumped out of my bunk wondering what was happening. Then I heard the wrench twisting the large bolts which hold the CTD onto the deck and I knew my cabin's location in the big scheme of things.

It is very cold and foggy today. The scientists look a little glum and disappointed. Besides lack of sleep, the Alexandrium phytoplankton they came to study are just not here. I am back processing samples in the lab.

This afternoon went by very slowly. The scientist are changing gears and moving into experimental mode. We did a net tow off the large CTD to collect live copepods. Bob and Greg, along with the graduate students are setting up a grazing experiment

and also an experiment to test the effects of the toxins on egg production in Calanus. I learned how to prepare samples for chlorophyll a testing using a filtration manifold under vacuum.

It is very difficult to remove the special brittle glass filter disks so they can be placed in acetone which will leach out the chlorophyll. After sitting in the freezer for a minimum time period, the samples will be read in a fluorometer. Dave, Howard ad Ben became experts at using this machine spending many hours reading its numbers.

Allan ran two toxins test strips.

This procedure is similar to a home pregnancy test and is used in the field to determine edibility of shellfish. A chromatography strip is sandwiched in a plastic case with a depression. The organisms are ground up, slurried in 1 M acetic acid, and then centrifuged. A sample of the supernatant is used to fill the depression and the liquid wicks along the paper. If no line appears at the T site, then toxins are present. A line always forms at the C spot which indicates that the test strip is working. Greg came in as we were all gathered around the completed strips and quipped to Allan, "I would like to inform you that you are about to become a father".

I am in awe of Lynne, the tech. She works the hardest on the cruise and is the most patient.

She is part of the crew, but essential to the scientists. Her job is to keep all the equipment running and communicating with the computers. She is an expert with the CTD and MOCNESS and spends hours constantly fixing different parts. Additionally she needs to keep the entire computer bank on task and up to date.

It is 11 pm and a new chlorophyll batch has to be run. I am too tired. I feel terrible about deserting, but I need to sleep.

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