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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 4, 2003

Now, I feel even more remorseful about not putting in enough time. I woke up and looked at my clock. It read 9:30. I had planned to get up earlier and help.

During some down time, I loaded one disc of photos onto the main computer network and named each file. At the end of the cruise, the scientists are each given a CD of all the data and they will also get the pictures. Melissa was ill yesterday and seemed to get worse overnight. The Coast Guard came and took her and Amy off the boat. After seeking medical care for Melissa , they will go back to GSO.

After lunch, I tried to learn how to pick copepod fecal pellets under a microscope. This is an extremely difficult job, but probably easier than picking the actual moving organisms. One needs to learn to control a Pasteur pipet under the scope in order to draw the pellets into the first 2 mm of the pipet without pulling in any of the other stuff in the water like eggs. I was supposed to place 100 pellets into a cryovial, but because I pulled too much water, the vial was full at 50. I had to spin it down, pipet off the water and continue picking pellets. These were preserved in 300 ?L of 1.0 M acetic acid and flash frozen in liquid nitrogen. They will be tested for the presence of toxins.

Next, we did a pump station. The CTD was deployed to 40 m with a hose attached to it. At specified depths, as the CTD moves toward the surface, a one minute 20 ?m net sample is taken along with a nutrient sample. This process took about 2 hours. Maria timed the samples while Ted communicated with the winch operator. Allan collected the one-minute net samples and poured them into the micro filter. I wrote the pump volume at the start of each net sample on a chart and then handed the micro filter to Maura who sat at a makeshift table on deck. She backwashed the organisms off the filter and concentrated them to 20 mL. Meanwhile, Caroline grabbed a scintillation tube, rinsed it and its cover in the pump water and filled the tube for nutrient analysis. I would transfer the micro filter back to Allan and we would start all over again at the next depth. Our hands were so cold we could barely move them by the time we were done. Caroline was the coldest as she had to keep putting her hands in the water and she escaped to a hot shower. Once back in the lab, we took 5 mL of each of Maura's concentrated net samples and processed them for toxin analysis.

I never realized it was the 4th of July until lunchtime. That evening the cook grilled beef and tuna steaks for us out on deck and we made ice cream sundaes for dessert.

Caroline, the reporter intern, and I received some good positive feedback while we were processing the 5 mL subsamples.

Apparently, the scientists are pleased with our work. Hurray!!!

It is 9 pm and we just deployed the OPC (optical plankton counter). I was going to help wrap bottles in screening in order to lower light intensity for the grazing experiment. Then Allan reminded me that our samples had incubated long enough. Carolyn and I filtered samples until 11 pm. Then a bunch of us went to the mess area and watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" Good laughs!

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