The gathering of the delightful little creatures we know as copepods began on Saturday. At dawn, morale was high as we collected some samples with net tows and CTD bottles, continuing at noon, dusk, and midnight. On the DeZoZoo cruise, we were investigating the effects of hypoxia on the lives of these little critters. On this cruise, we’re taking a few more samples, along with studying the survival rate using a vital stain known as Neutral Red, a stain which only stains copepods that are alive, leaving the dead ones unstained. Along with the stains, we have isolated a few lucky female Acartia tonsa, the most common Chesapeake Bay species, to see how many eggs they can manage to produce in the hypoxic conditions. This will tell us if hypoxia is affecting their reproduction, which is important since everything else seems to like to eat these little guys.
Since we were last minute add-ons to the LIDZ crew, it has been slightly lower tech than our first cruise, resulting in the death of two brass messengers, which were sent to the depths of the Chesapeake. They will be sorely missed. Apart from their loss, we have set out with our remaining messenger to capture as many copepods as we can. We’ve seen some interesting new faces in our samples: a lot of worms… and jellies. Seriously, jelly-fish are no fun if you want to collect copepods. Besides their delightful tendency to clog every sieve we possess, they have been having a grand old time devouring the copepods we’re trying to study as we race to preserve everything. Our collander hasn’t quite been a team player either, so we’ve had to use our fingers to separate them from the critters we’re actually trying to study. However, one bonus has been seeing the jellies bioluminesce, which happens to be pretty groovy, and thankfully, we haven’t caught a single nettle (knock on wood).
The weather has been very strange, to say the least. Saturday was rainy, then sunny, then windy to the point of being drenched by oncoming waves as we frantically tried to do our dusk net-tow. Sunday felt like being trapped in a microwave; touching any sort of surface resulted in a first degree burn. Monday was not too bad, except for the massive waves, resulting from wind blowing against the current. Seasickness aside, a beautiful rainbow was seen in the evening, and the sunset was pretty fantastic.
As always, the crew has been great. The food has been delicious, as per usual from our chef, Paul, who is still singing loudly in Spanish since Spain’s victory over the Netherlands in Sunday’s World Cup Match. Today, we will find out the results from our egg production experiment, and continue sampling. We will hopefully have more to report in the near future. Maybe even some pictures. Adios!