R/V Pelican | January 7, 2018
By: Dr. Kelly Robinson (UL Lafayette)
The RAPID Plankton team is out at sea again! Led by Chief Scientist Dr. Beth Stauffer, the plankton researchers from the Robinson and Stauffer Lab‘s at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette departed from the LUMCON dock at Cocodrie, LA yesterday afternoon on the R/V Pelican. The mobilization had its high point when Kimbo, a helpful employee at the Willow St. Home Depot, constructed a frame for Dr. Stauffer’s on-deck incubator the night before we left. #HeartHomeDepot. The low was attained when I realized at the ship’s dock that I forgot all my foul weather gear and boots, neatly packed, at home. #Fieldwork_Fail.
After an uneventful transit overnight to Galveston, we picked up the rest of our science from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and North Carolina State University. All were elated to see friends from the last RAPID cruise in October as well as excited to meet new ones. We welcome Aubrey Szczepanski (Schnezter Lab) and Daniel Hardin and Shannon McAskill (Geist Lab).
Many hands made light work of loading and packing away the many boxes, sampling gear, ethanol, and supplies. (Overly concerned about the number of sampling jars as you can never have too many, I admit to perhaps counting the jar boxes only three or four times as they were unloaded, much to the secret amusement of my student Zach).
The weather the next day or two is going to be a bit gnarly (20-25 knt winds; 6-10 ft seas). For this reason, we are holding going offshore until Tuesday and are targeting stations mid-way out on the shelf tomorrow. The first station is always the hardest as everyone figures out what they are doing and how it all works. However, I am confident with this crew and science team that everyone will be safe, the gear we throw overboard will return to us (knocking on wood), and we will collect some kick-ass samples and data.
We are also tweeting! @cajunplankton @bastauffer