14 July 2010…The sweet smell of sulfide

We arrived at Station 858 this morning – a classic station on the east side of the channel just south of the Chesapeake Bay bridge.  Generations of scientists have occupied this beautiful site for sampling surveys and experiments.  You can almost smell the history.

Speaking of smells, we cast the CTD when we arrived at 0600, and found concentrated hydrogen sulfide in the bottom waters.  Powerful.  The smell of life!  Microbial life, that is.  Ali Barba and Aiden Fisher collected niskin bottles of copepods and did some net tows. 

Ali Barba and Aiden Fisher deploying a plankton net

Ian Hewson left us today – he was shuttled off the ship in a small boat to the east side of the Bay Bridge by the Hemingway’s restaurant.  When the boat returned it brought a group from the University of Delaware public relations office who spent the morning interviewing the crew and scientists and taking a lot of pictures.

After the PR folks were safely aboard, we were off to sample sediments on the west side of the channel, and collect our standard water samples at eight depths in the channel. 

Coring operations

Then after lunch we set up another electron acceptor addition experiment, this time with sulfidic water.  It was fun trying to get this water oxygenated.  We took turns shaking 10 liters in a (heavy) 20 liter carboy.  Eventually most of the sulfide de-gassed, and the water was as oxygenated as we could get it.  We got this experiment going right away so that we could pull anchor and get started with our final scanfish survey.  After shuttling the U. Del. folks back to shore and collecting one last set of samples for copepods we moved north of the Bay Bridge, put the scanfish in the water, and started our long, slow steam down to the Rappahannock River.

Bernadette Gross and the Bay Bridge

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