Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
April 03, 2018
A Copepod Facial
43°45.3’ S x 179°43.1’ E, west of the Chatham Islands
Ship’s Heading & Speed
055° per ship’s compass, 2.1 knots
Jib, forestays’l, mainstays’l, and mains’l
Slightly cloudy with winds from the east
We are finally getting into the rhythm of life at sea on the Seamans, and it could not be better! Last night, I had my first science watch at 1900, and we began by watching the moon rise, which was spectacular. It was almost a full moon, bright yellow, and it lit up the night sky. We also spent time stargazing, and I learned about the Southern Cross, a cluster of four stars only seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
Near the end of our watch, we did a Neuston net deployment to sample zooplankton in the surface waters. After thirty minutes, we pulled it out of the water, and I was charged with unscrewing the jar at the end of the net. As I did so, streams of zooplankton covered my hands and some splashed out of the bucket onto my face. At first I was shocked, but that reaction quickly turned to delight as my hands started glowing with bioluminescent algae! After learning about them in my marine biology class in school, it had always been a dream of mine to see bioluminescent algae in person. This has been one of many things that have been crossed off my bucket list since beginning this voyage.
All of a sudden, I started to feel all of the tiny organisms wriggling on my skin, which was an interesting sensation. It turns out that our net caught an estimated eight million copepods, which are tiny almost microscopic crustaceans, and I'd guess that one million probably landed on me. I told the story at dinner tonight, and the Engineer, Henry, asked if I had been able to "cope" with my facial. After washing off my hands and face, Erin, C watch's Assistant Scientist, discovered we had caught a seahorse as well. We were surprised that the seahorse would be in surface waters, and it makes me wonder what else might be in the ocean beneath us. It is incredibly easy to look out at the sea, and think that there is not much life around us, but I am always amazed by the sheer abundance and biodiversity of organisms we find every day.
- Ashley (Shlee on the Sea) Davis, C Watch, University of South Carolina