Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let The Science Begin

When the first CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, & Depth Sensor) package was secured on deck at 2300 the festivities began. Starting last night and spilling over into the day, there has been relentless activity on the back deck and in the staging area. Teams are following the dynamic deployment schedule, which

is juggling an array of sampling devices: phyto-plankton nets, trichodesmium nets, CTDs, and sediment traps. Of the utmost importance, for the Woods Hole quorum sensing teams, were the successful deployments of 4 sediment traps throughout the day. The first pair was launched at 0730, with a second launch scheduled for 1200. Recovery of the traps begins tomorrow at 0600. Our fingers are crossed that the nets function properly, enabling us to proceed with the analysis of the sinking organic particles.

While we wait for sinking particles life onboard continues as normal. In the downtime I have busied myself with preparing the biosensor bacterial cultures. These act as biological indicators of AHL signaling molecules. Laura Sofen ,my fellow Woods Hole Oceanographic Summer Fellow, is furiously preparing her assays to correlate AHL quorum sensing and degradation of sinking particles. Additionally, experimental side projects are beginning to take root, as those aboard maximize the precious ten days here at the ALOHA station. For instance, Dr. Tracy Mincer, from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, (beyond advising me) has been running preliminary experiments concerning microbial methanol consumption in marine environments over the past two days.

Having never been a part of a research cruise before, the level of efficient science being performed is stunning and invigorating. The Kilo Moana is constantly bustling with the activity of dozens of simultaneous experiments complemented by the highest caliber nerd chatter and cross team collaboration. As the science crew slowly settles into a consistent daily routine, I hope that mother nature and our collection equipment grant their full cooperation, in order that every team involved can extract from this experience all that they initially desired.

No comments:

Post a Comment