Today’s post is from Meg Rippy.
Hello. I’m Meg Rippy, a 4th year graduate student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Tonight I was helping Darcy Taniguchi collect phytoplankton samples for her thesis work. I also collected a few bacterial samples for my own work on this cruise, which focuses on the differences between bacterial communities in natural seawater and those associated with plastic debris.
The first night time CTD went down today. The water is thick with phytoplankton and so it is filtering very slowly. It looks like there may be a diatom bloom. Diatoms are phytoplankton with shells (tests) made out of silica. They often grow rapidly and achieve high densities (bloom) in areas where nutrient-rich water is upwelling from depth. This happens during most summers in the California Current. It will be really great to look at some phytoplankton samples under a microscope and try to identify the dominant bloom organism.
We also sent out the bongo net tonight. I have never deployed a net before and it was really a lot of fun. The bongo consists of two nets pulled side by side. From the front it looks like a set of large eyes. The nets came up absolutely full of zooplankton, especially copepods and euphasiids (a.k.a. krill). Organism abundances in the California Current are much higher than I expected. It will be really neat to compare what we’ve seen here with the gyre stations later on in the cruise.
Here is Meg in New Horizon‘s science lab in front of a seawater filtration
system. She is filtering water in order to examine particulate organic carbon.
SEAPLEX expedition researchers recover bongo nets as they reach
the surface of the ocean alongside the research vessel New Horizon.
The nets are primarily used to capture plankton samples.