December 20, 2008
The R/V ROGER REVELLE is equipped with a lot of electronic equipment used by oceanographers as it travels the world. Scientist often bring some of their own equipment, but the REVELLE already is well equipped to collect valuable data for oceanographers back at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California. One of the crewmembers informed me that the REVELLE has not been to its homeport at San Diego in two years. However, it does get repairs and upkeep at other world ports where and when it may need them. The REVELLE is always collecting data, even when scientists who have scheduled its use, are not aboard. The REVELLE made a stop in Tampa, Florida to pick up most of the scientific gear for this cruise. The REVELLE also had some minor repairs and modifications made for future voyages with other scientific crews. When the REVELLE drops us off in Punta Arenas, Chile it will head off to Antarctica and then South Africa. While traveling the seas, the REVELLE is collecting bathymetry and other valuable data about the ocean it is traveling. Upon the ship leaving Tampa to head for Montevideo, Uruguay to pick all of us up, the REVELLE was also towing a magnetometer behind it to collect data on the Earth's magnetic field. While towing the magnetometer a shark mistook it for an easy dinner. When the magnetometer was brought aboard the ship one of the fins were missing and there were large gashes and teeth marks left on the magnetometer. Fortunate for the REVELLE and the shark that he did not swallow it whole, but I wonder how he will deal with the missing rubber fin. I would like to send out a special thanks to Bud Hale for helping me to get this photograph.
One of the more fascinating instruments that the scientists have brought on board is the FlowCam. This instrument streams a small amount of water through a laser beam of light attached to a microscope. The FlowCam separates the tiny microscopic organisms into sizes smaller than 100 microns. In the photo below Dr. Balch, Jack DiTullio, and Heather Wright are looking at something interesting that has appeared on the screen. Barney is always looking for evidence of coccolithophores; he uses every device at his disposal to find the best place to add another station. Heather helps to keep the FlowCam running smoothly throughout the operation. This sometimes requires much patience and fine motor skills to get everything just right. Many times during the day you will see various people stopping by to see what strange but beautiful microorganisms that the FlowCam is displaying on the monitor.
Questions of the Day: