Having reached a breaking point in my microbial work (we’re getting ready to send off 16S samples of deep-sea sediment microbial extracts for sequences!) I’ve been getting progressively more excited about our impending trip down to the gulf. The 6:30am departure on the morning of June 26th bodes for a groggy start, but it also means we will have most of the day ahead of us to collect samples. I’ve been preparing for the trip by helping to pack the sampling suitcase and planning our culinary stops. You might be thinking “do you really have to plan where to grab some lunch or dinner?” The answer is, when you’ve got a schedule planned out like hours which involves traveling and sampling for 99% of the day, knowing reasonable dinner spots that are open late and located en route to the next destination is key!
Pat and Helen came back with an impressive 11o samples to analyze, and now we’re all wondering – how much more are we going to find? We have some new sampling sites in mind that we hope we’ll have time to visit, and plans to return to previous sites too. This will be my first trip south of North Carolina, and I’m excited to experience the deep south and observe first-hand the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the coastal US. And since Helen has been priming me with descriptions of the local marine and coastal wildlife, I am possibly most excited for the possibility of spotting dolphin pods, stingrays, herons and more! I may be a little distracted from tar bar sampling… But regardless, 110 is the number to beat!
With three of us blogging over trip 2, you’ll get the full scoop of our adventure!