Today’s post was written by Lara Dickens. Lara is a science teacher at Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, CA. She was chosen through a competitive application process to go on the cruise. After the cruise, Lara will work to develop classroom activities based on her at sea experience.
I’m Lara Dickens and I am participating in the Teacher at Sea program during SEAPLEX. In addition to raising awareness about the Pacific Garbage Patch, I will be using this experience to inspire more students to take paths that lead them to science careers. I have already learned a lot and I have loved every minute of our adventure, and it is only the second day.
Practice samplings, equipment calibrations, safety meetings, and safety drills consumed the first 24 hours. We needed to make sure everything was okay before we get too far away to turn back if needed. We also needed to get a control data set to compare to the gyre. The big issue so far: the soda machine in the galley was not functioning well. But it’s all good now.
Things have calmed down now that everyone has a place to work and knows the routine of the ship, and gotten some sleep. I get the pleasure of assisting during the night shift. It is the most exciting time to be up and about. The ocean is a very different place when the sun goes down. Critters of all sorts come to the surface to feed. We collected vampire squid, beautiful jellyfish (we think that it was Periphylla periphylla ), and a rat tail fish just to name a few.
Biological sampling equipment includes the manta net (water surface), bongo nets (below surface) and Oozeki net (mid water trawl). All three of these pieces of equipment collect specimens at different depths in the water column. The CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) equipment measures the biological and physical properties of the water. It also collects water samples from different depths as it rises. Only one piece of equipment can be in the water collecting at a time … so as one comes in, the next goes out and the lab gets busy analyzing and preserving the fresh samples.
The sun is up now and I’m going to bed!
The sun sets on August 3rd as the New Horizon heads west.