On a Boat

We’re on day 3 of the DeZoZoo cruise.  Weather has been grand, and as usual the crew of the Sharp is fantastic.  I don’ think I have to mention food has been excellent (it always is), but I will.

We’ve gotten a lot of samples already, and our survey showed that low oxygen water extends from near the Bay Bridge down to near the mouth of the Potomac.  It’s not really low yet, and we won’t have hard and fast numbers until we do the chemistry after we return. 

Right now we are towing a Tucker Trawl at a station between the mouth of the Patuxent and the Rappahannock Rivers, in water that is about 20 m deep (~65 ft).  We’ve run into a few problems, namely that the MOCNESS doesn’t work, our microscope camera is acting up, an incubator was low on refrigerant, and the zooplankton traps were misbehaving.  Most everything has been sorted out, though some instruments are operating sub-optimally.  To rectify that, we’re having a new underwater unit for the MOCNESS shipped to the Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons, MD.  It should arrive on Friday, and we’ll do a touch and go to get the instrument from the dock there, and be off to MOCNESS again!

I’m always impressed with the resourcefulness of ships crew and scientists on a cruise.  We’re very fortunate here to be so close to ports of call, but the more we have to go back for parts the less time we have for science, so we must minimize that. Everyone is working together well and we’re really gathering data despite some problems with equipment. Oceanography is truly a collaborative effort and I couldn’t imagine a better group than we have out here now.

Unfortunately our email and internet access has been spotty, so these will not be as regular as I liked (plus, we’ve spent more time than I would have liked fixing things, so the time to do this has diminished form my original expectations). However I will do my best to write more and if we have a better connection, to post some pictures. 

Until then, I will be catching, sorting, and preserving plankton! Onward!


About planktoneer

I'm a zooplankton ecologist who studies how individual behaviors and variability affect populations of copepods in marine and estuarine systems.
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3 Responses to On a Boat

  1. David Jeffery says:

    What is a MOCNESS the lay reader wonders?

    • planktoneer says:

      I wrote a little about the MOCNESS in the latest blog post, but it is a type of net system. MOCNESS is an acronym that stands for Multiple Opening-Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System. As the name suggests, it’s a plankton net system that has a number of nets on it, which we can open and close to sample discrete depths. All the while it is measuring various environmental variables, depending on what sensors we put on it. You’ll hear more about this system throughout this blog, as it is one of our “workhorses” for this project.

  2. Pingback: The tongue of the Choptank « Life in the Dead Zone

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