RAPID 3: Chasing sleep & wee beasties

Andrea Jaegee_Aubree_20180319
Graduate students Andrea Jaegge (UL Lafayette) and Aubree Szczepanski (NC State Univ.) smiling after just finished setting up a zooplankton grazing experiment.

By Kelly Robinson & Beth Stauffer

March 19, 2018

NSF RAPID Cruise #3 is underway with the full investigator team! The start of our final expedition was a bit stilted, but field work is all about adapting and (hopefully being prepared) for the unexpected. The ship was 12=hour late getting to Galveston and so we spent the first twelve hours of our expedition exploring downtown Galveston, chilling on the beach, and getting a good night’s rest.

We met the ship and “mobilized” in the pre-dawn hours, loading our gear and securely stowing supplies. A helpful ship’s crew and efficient scientific team made the job go quickly and smoothly. Filtration rigs and a wide variety of plankton nets were put together as we steamed out of the harbor toward the sea buoy at the mouth of Galveston Bay. As we passed the freighters and tankers at anchor outside the shipping channel, we realized further adaption was required.  Cod-ends and collars had been forgotten; but, thanks to the generosity of colleagues and quick thinking of everyone onboard, solutions to the cod-end challenges were found. Fingers and toes are crossed that what we put into the ocean will be returned; but we all know that the sea can be a fickle mistress.

We have now completed our first two stations. They were both nearshore and shallow, and so ideal for everyone to learn the sequence of gear and sampling techniques. We have several familiar and many new faces on the cruise, so that first station is always a bit of a shake-down. We are happy to have had a full and successful day and looking forward to a successful day tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow: please join us (Tuesday 3/20) for a 12-hour Twitter storm via Dr. Beth Stauffer’s account, @bastauffer. From 8 am til 8 pm CDT, a member of the science team will be hand every hour to answer questions you may have about being on a ship, the ocean, and the wee beasties inhabiting every salty drop.

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