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Journals 2004/2005

Aimee Gauthier
Brockton High School, Brockton, Massachusetts

"Late summer ecosystems monitoring survey"
NOAA Ship Albatross
August 16-23, 2004
Journal Index:
August 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23

August 20, 2004 - Day 5
Watch: 6am - 12pm

We did our 35th station this morning which thankfully was uneventful. I then change out the 5th station of the Zoogen samples. The best preservative that will not degrade the DNA in the samples is ethanol, EtOH. According to protocol the EtOH has to be changes out 24 hours later.

Because we had a steam between the next two stations the crew put the baby bongos on the 36th station. In doing so I had my own sample to view under the stereoscope that Jerry put on the boat for me. It was interesting to look at these live specimens under the scope.

WOW - so much to see!!! I did some pretty lame attempts at drawing what I saw. But before I could even look at the sample I had to separate out the moon jellies and put them in their own jar. There were 4 or 5 nice samples of the moon jellies.

There were copepods, that were light purple in color that looked like brine shrimp and a smaller species of copepods in which you could see their oil sacs that were bright orange. These oil sacs are used for both positioning in the water and they are a food reserve. There were also plenty of salps, which also is an organism that belongs to Phyla Cnidaria, like the jelly fish.

I was almost done looking at the specimen when I saw a little black dot that was swimming up and down. I used a pipette and sucked the little critter right out of the sample and put him on the scope. It seemed to be some type of crab larvae. It looked just like a crab but it was probably only 1 mm. It hated being out of the jar, so I quickly put him back in to the jar.

There were plenty of translucent worms, and lots and lots and lots of phytoplankton.

I would caution anyone, to be careful when looking through a microscope while at sea. I realized that when looking at a microscope on a boat, you are moving one way due the ship's movement but the specimen is moving in the opposite direction. It was my first experience with sea sickness. I was green. What a terrible feeling! So I asked John if I could skip the next station because I needed to lie down, it was not a problem.

August 20, 2004 - Day 5
Watch: 6pm - 12am

After being nauseous, I rested a little and I felt like a millions bucks for the next watch. Tonight we are off the coast of Long Island, NY. It was busy right at the get go, our stations are close together. We did a station at 6 and then one we had to put two sets of bongo nets on the next station. During the two stations we needed to sample the water for the Nitrogen isotope research. The baby bongos were fine but the other 61 cm bongos were filled with jelly fish and salps. John had to separate the sample, before we could preserve it.

John has cleverly explained to me that during the ECOMON cruise everyone gives the scientists their "grocery list." The list refers to other data collections that need to be completed during our cruise. During our cruise not only does John need to collect the plankton samples at over 120 stations, run checks on salinity, chlorophyll samples but he also needs to:

  1. collect samples for Zoogen
  2. collect samples of filtered water for detecting trace amounts of ntrogen iotopes
  3. collect jelly fish samples to determine what the rate of shrinkage is in the jelly fish sample after a certain amount of time and preservative
Therefore it is not only his research that he is doing but he also must complete his "grocery list." This seems to be a normal protocol and John is not phased by doing the other research, probably because he may hand his grocery list to another scientist during a different cruise.

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