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Journals 2004/2005

Leesa Wingo
South Anchorage High School, Anchorage Alaska

"Physical-biological coupling at frontal
zones in Glacier Bay National Park"

Vessel Sigma T
July 12-30, 2004
Journal Index:
July 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18

      19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24/25

      26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30

July 20, 2004
The first full day of plankton tows

It is 10:15 and again we have to wait for a giant tour ship to motor by. Also, watched as different water mass covered with birds and seaweed floated south, as our boat moved north. Our first surface tow was so full of green slimy phytoplankton that it took twice as long as yesterday.

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The second cast didn't work well, because a big hunk of kelp wrapped around the line, which prevented the messenger weight from closing the double trip mechanism. IF there were a way to hit the seaweed hard enough to smack the seaweed to close it, then the problems would be solved!! It is so rubbery, the net didn't close. RATS. This sample gets donated to the Interpreter rangers; so all is not lost, just not helpful to Lisa's project.

The third cast worked, the current slowed the boat, so we just towed a little longer. This doesn't matter, because with a flow meter on the nets, the total volume can be calculated later and the amount of water sampled will be standardized later. The surface CTD for salinity and temperature was acting up, and needed its batteries changed. It was nice to finally have a good cast.

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The next (4th) cast, a surface cast, was successful. It was right across the front line, and the salinity changed from 24 to 27.

The fifth tow didn't work. The currents were causing too much resistance that Erica couldn't turn the wheel of the boat AT ALL, so we aborted the mission in the name of safety.

Sixth tow. Lisa couldn't get boat to go to port to cross front, so we went parallel to line just north of it. At least 3 whales feeding on down-bay side of line, lots of birds feeding and swarming. It appears the animals know that the Frontal line is the area of HIGH PRODUCTIVITY, without any instrumentation at all. They only need their mouths.

Seventh tow. Kelp bad luck again. We try to solve this by using the boat hook to keep it away from the line, but most are underwater.

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Science in action, time to reconsider what is going on. Lisa decided to call it a day and go back in. Problems to solve: How to close the net with kelp wrapping around the line? How do I to get the messenger to trip the closing instrument? Kelp will be in the Frontal line, since it is an area of high production. How to sample the plankton in the frontal zone, with crazy currents underwater.??!!

So, Wed. is a day off, and Thurs. the boat is out of the water for repairs and will be an office day to regroup and plan how to solve these problems.

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