This morning at midnight I began to earn my keep. We have done two
tows with the zooplankton net. The net consists of a ca 4 square
meeter steel frame connected to a ca 5 meter long fine mesh (0.5 mm)
net. In the first two tows, a large majority (by volume) of the catch
was salps (they look like mini jellyfish). There were also a handful
krill. These and a few other larger critters we pick out and count by
hand. The remainder we subsample and count and identify by looking
through a microscope.
Yesterday we spent the day unloading people and supplies to a field
station on Livingston Island. The beach we landed on (using zodiac
inflatable boats) was full of fur seals with the occasional elephant
and wedell, seal. I didn't see any leopard seals, though I was told
they hang out nearby.
Saturday we stopped at a field station in Admiralty Bay on King George
Island. That beach was populated with penguins--mostly gentoo, but a
few adelli and chinstrap. I saw a few pooping but wasn't able to
capture it on video. The 3 researchers who have been there since
October were happy to have some company and hosted a barbecue for us.
After we left the field station (called Copacabana) we went further
into Admiralty Bay and anchored in a cozy little cove to calibrate
some acoustics equiptment. I may be using this adjective a lot, but
the scenery was spectacular. Everyone on the ship enjoyed a nights
sleep with minimal rocking.
The next three weeks will probably be very much like today. I have the
midnight to noon shift. Four hours of the shift I'm on deck helping to
deploy and retrieve the zooplankton net and CTD (a multi-instrument
pacakge that measures temperature, conductivity, depth, oxygen,
transmittance, fluorescence, and probably a few others things, and
that collects water samples from specific depths). When we're not
doing zooplankton tows, I help out wherever I can, for example loading
and unloading supplies to the field stations.
Please keep the emails coming.