August 7, 2007
We sampled a lot of sites today. I was very busy. My job is to take the "under weigh" samples at specified locations and place them in preparation test tubes. I put chloroform in one sample (after I filter it through a syringe filter). This will be used later to count chlorophyll to get an idea of the amount of phytoplankton. I take two samples of syringe filtered water and place them in the fridge to be analyzed later for nutrients. I then fill a brown bottle which has indicators in it, with unfiltered water. It will be tested for red tide algae. Then 200 mL of water is filtered through a pump filter and I take the filters and put them in a small tube to be frozen in a liquid nitrogen container. These will be tested later for comparative salinity and then for the presence of various chemicals. The testing sites are about 20 minutes apart all day long. I was surprised at how shallow the ocean was (about 12 meters) even when we were so far from shore we couldn't see land. At some sites we also took a CTD sample. The crew places the sample bottles in the water (with a crane) while the boat is still. The scientists (Tom) can fire (open and close) the sample bottles at different depths via computer connections. I take the samples and do the same thing I did for the under weigh bottles. The boat as well as the CTD takes a reading of conductivity (salinity), Temperature and Depth. Tom is studying the currents around Florida. The everglade restoration project is funding the project. He works for the Univ. of Miami strictly as a researcher - no teaching. The everglades are dry in some spots and they flood in others. This is because the building and dams etc. have not been planned appropriately. Florida has purchased land and is building a series of holding pools to regulate the flow of water as it should be. Tom determines how well it is working by testing the waters all around the tip of Florida. An influx of fresh water is very noticeable in the salinity concentrations and temperature changes. Giant changes cause environmental problems. It can also cause current changes in a larger scale. Tom is also interested in large scale currents. The local currents change seasonally and locally and can affect the larger currents like the Gulf Stream. The drifters help with gathering current information. I am so thankful that Jill hooked me up with scientific papers to read and the oceanography book. It has helped me feel more aware and not as ignorant about what we are doing. We finished work around 7:00 pm. After dinner of mahi mahi, I went on the top deck (we were traveling to an overnight mooring about 3 hours away) and exercised. There is a definite need for aerobics activities. I watched the sunset for about and hour - it was beautiful. I saw so many stories in the clouds. The colors were fantastic and I saw colors that have no names. The captain came out and told me he made a treat for everyone. I went down to the galley where he had made a wonderful bananas flambe sauce for everyone to put on ice cream. I then played Mexican Train dominoes with Tom and Grant.