Since Helen was in Alvin 1400 m down exploring the bottom of the sea, that meant I could do whatever I wanted back on ship. Just kidding. I prepped for collecting the samples that Alvin would be bringing back, and I helped Amanda assemble the push cores for tomorrow’s dive. I also spent some time on deck. It was a perfect day- the sun was out, the sky was clear, the sea was calm, and the wind was just a soothing breeze. You still need a sweatshirt to be warm enough outside though. Being out on the ocean is so relaxing. I love it.
However, once Alvin came up the mood changed. They had collected 6 cores, a slurp filter, a whole gorgonian coral sample, and two brittle stars. For me that meant storing the collected seawater for DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) analysis, sectioning cores, and filtering seawater from the slurp filter and bio box. It may not sound like much, but if you compare the size of the filter to the amount of slurp and bio box water, you’ll understand why filtering alone took 4 hours. Not to mention the large amount of particles in the water that clogged the filters- I almost got through an entire alphabet of filters (I got to V). Filtering is not my forte. I do, however, like sectioning cores. You get to move around a little more and actually interact with what you’re working with.
Interestingly enough, my filters turned out to be the hot topic. When the slurp filter sucked up whatever gunk was covering the corals, it picked up polyps that had fallen off the corals. These polyps didn’t look normal, which spurred quite a bit of discussion, and were scrutinized under Erik’s high-tech imaging microscope (which is amazing, might I add).
The plan for tomorrow is to have Alvin dive on the same site as today. Supposedly we’re going to get a colony of tube worms. That should be interesting.