SEA Currents: research
The People’s Net
Mattias, the Chief Scientist, and I were sitting in lab the other day idly chatting and, after a lull in the conversation, Mattias turns to me and asks what I think the theme song for the Neuston should be. With some thought and discussion, we decided it should be some kind of power ballad from the 80s. Perhaps Styx’s “Come Sail Away” or Journey or something like that.
New Zealand on the Move
New Zealand is a country with a very active geologic history. The country sits at the convergence of the Australian Plate and the South Pacific Plate. The movement of these plates over time created the mountain ranges and geologic features that New Zealand is famous for. Another result of this movement is that the country experiences almost constant seismic activity. Last November, an earthquake near the Kaikoura Peninsula changed the bathymetry and topography of the region, raising portions of the land and seafloor several meters along the fault.
NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmosphere
Yesterday was one of the best field trips yet, especially for the science nerds! NIWA, New Zealand’s version of NOAA, invited SEA Semester to tour their research vessel, RV Tangaroa, and their facilities in Wellington. NIWA was super generous, and a new connection for SEA was made.
One Year Later
If someone had asked me one year ago what I thought I would be doing in a year’s time, ‘steering a boat all alone in the Pacific Ocean’ probably would’ve been one of my last guesses, but that’s where I found myself this morning. I applied to this program because I wanted to do something fun and unexpected and so far both requirements have been fulfilled. Since it seems like most other people have already covered the ‘fun’ part I’m going to talk about some of the things I didn’t expect.
Over the past couple of weeks that we’ve been on the ship, we’ve been (obviously) deploying a lot of equipment to investigate the local waters and wildlife. For instance, the neuston net tow allows us to gather organisms from the surface and just below. Perhaps therein lies the problem. I don’t know. But to cut the story short (as Ben talked a lot about them in yesterday’s blog), we’ve been catching a lot of salps. For, as Rose said recently, “there is nothing out here but gelatinous beasts.” 1,509 salps in the pristine bucket alone is nothing to laugh at.
Practically All Salps
When I signed up for my blog post day I picked a day in the middle of the trip between Russell and Wellington because it was the longest haul and it would have been the longest since anyone at home would have heard from me. What I did not account for were the lack of original topics in the middle of a cruise with minimal wind. Fortunately for me today was our deck practical!
Field Day on the Foredeck
For what felt like the hundredth time that night I was abruptly awoken by my body catching slight air as the bow of the ship crashed down into yet another swell. The focs’cl cabin where I and seven of my peers live seems to toss us around the most, as we are in the bow of the ship. A few seconds later however Shem’s voice called out softly through my bunks curtains, telling me it was time to wake up; I had watch in 30 minutes. I lay still, once again feeling the relentless motion of our ship, before the business of my day began.
Sampling on Saba Bank
Sunrise at sea. A patchwork of cumulous clouds drape across the sky, infused with early morning color. Off in the distance, land, a new island for us, from the chart I learn it is Saba Island – part of the Dutch Antilles.
Long, deep swells gently roll in from the north reminding us, ever so subtly, that the sea sometimes can be angry and may one day be so for us. For now however, we can be thankful for the comfortable seas.
Birthday at Sea
Good morning from the SSV Corwith Cramer!
On Sunday, February 5, a pod of dolphins surfed our bow wake at sunrise.
A Sweet Day on the Corwith Cramer
Good afternoon from the SSV Corwith Cramer. We are excited to be celebrating Sarah P’s birthday today! Sarah (UConn) and the rest of B watch had breakfast at 0620 this morning. What a treat: Assistant Steward Ger made scrumptious cinnamon rolls!
After breakfast, the watch came up on deck to begin their science Super Station. Here the water is relatively shallow (360 m or 1180 ft deep) so we were able to use our sediment grab to scoop some carbonate mud off the bottom. In with the mud were a few small shells and a live brittle star.