2 August 2007
Location:off Long Key and Hawk Channel
The sampling routine is getting familiar as we look over the transect track for the day. Starting in the shallow near Key waters and working our way to the deeper waters for the final stations. The shallow frame net is over the side in 5 meters of water by 7:30 am. Volunteer Zoe and I washed down the plankton samples that were full of floating Sargassum weed and turtle grass. After the CTD is retrieved, we filter the surface and deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) water samples and freeze the residue on filter paper for future analysis.
We examined colorful maps of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Straits with Chief Scientist Bob showing real time mesoscale altimetry from satellite images that show subtle differences in sea surface height (cm) with a spectrum of colors from blue to red. All you have to do is type in the latitude and longitude. More amazing plankton continues to be brought to the surface. I took a picture of the narrow pipefish that graduate student Joel was holding. Research associate Cedric said he would share some of his stunning larval photographs that he takes through the microscope.
I got a chance to interview steward Susan Sanchez. She admits she spent the first 4 months plagued by sea sickness. But she likes being onboard and being in charge of the galley. Her face lights up when she says she'd like to run her own bed and breakfast in Tennessee someday.
Had a great look under the microscope at a fiery colored copepod, one of the most common members of the plankton. It swims in a spiral and was hard to catch but I will be bringing it back to look at in class. Crocks seem to be the foot ware of choice when deploying nets on the stern deck (wish I'd known as my sneakers are starting to self destruct). After the last station the seas were dead calm and the air was hot and still so Bob made a brilliant suggestion. Swim call! We leaped into the bluest warmest saltiest water. It felt fabulous.