Hi, I’m Miriam Goldstein, and I am the chief scientist for the SEAPLEX cruise. It is unusual for a graduate student to be chief scientist. I was the coordinator of the UC Ship Funds grant that got SEAPLEX started. I am in charge of the scientific operations aboard the New Horizon. In collaboration with the other scientists, I designed the cruise track and sampling plan, and make the day-to-day decisions about where the ship should go and what it should do.
Since I’m in charge of the New Horizon’s cruise track, I’m able to tweak it as necessary. And the other day, collecting an enormous rotting squid was definitely necessary. I got to yell, “Captain! Follow that squid!” (No following was necessary since the very deceased squid wasn’t going anywhere, but how could I resist?)
The not so fun part of being Chief Scientist is that I don’t get very much sleep. It’s myresponsibility to make sure that the scientific operations run smoothly, and so I liaise with the crew and the other scientists to make sure everyone gets the samples they need. When we’re doing round-the-clock sampling, as we did a couple days ago, I had the fun of staying up for nearly 48 hours straight making sure that everything was running smoothly.
Right now, I’m working on the best way to find and sample the plastic. Since we don’t know what it looks like – will we see lots of pieces on the surface? Will it only come up in nets? – picking the right area to sample will be an interesting challenge.
Oh, and the other perk of being chief scientist? I’m making the entire science crew and the captain listen to the “I’m On A Boat” song right now.
SEAPLEX Chief Scientist Miriam Goldstein.