Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 14 (Aug 12 2012)

There was no party last night.  Everyone has slipped into mega work mode, staying up until 2 am or 4 am or worse, filtering water and/or taking aggregates from the roller tanks and using the oxygen microelectrode to measure respiration rates, or picking copepods to begin an experiment to determine vital rates such as egg production, grazing, and fecal pellet (poop) production.  There were very few faces at breakfast this morning.

Today was more of the same, plus the endless labeling of bottles and petri dishes for the next big sampling day (which is tomorrow).  The only difference is that today was sunny, finally, after a long stretch of very grey, humid, rain.  Tomorrow promises more sun, but the forecast for the end of the week is dire enough that the team from Southampton might run in to Trondheim to buy a tablet because they need to take some sort of computer out on the boat with them when they sample and if they fry the computer, they can't log their carbon dioxide data (and that's game over, man) and it is an awful lot easier to stuff a tablet in a big ziploc baggie than it is to stuff a laptop in one.

We've got a couple of teams going through the night, or nearly so, tonight.  Morten is aiming for an allnighter to finish up the aggregate respiration measurements so that he can then be free tomorrow to write a talk he is flying off on Tuesday to give at a conference on aggregates that someone was evil enough (no, not really) to schedule for the middle of our experiment.  I don't know if Briva is planning to stay up all night with him, even though only one person needs to be there to move the microelectrode.  Nathalie and Juli are furtively counting copepod eggs and fecal pellets because they have reached the end of their first experiment and will be unlikely to finish before 2 in the morning, which means that Annick, who is filtering their pigment and particulate organic carbon samples, must stay up that late as well.  And Richard has just admitted to me that he doesn't think he can make it to the 2am probable endpoint of the work associated with the zooplankton grazing experiment that he and Sari set up last night and so will probably leave her on her own to finish it up.

Those few of us who do not need to burn the midnight oil have been drafted into the 6:30 am water sampling team, so that we can all have a super fun 10 to 16 hour day of filtration again tomorrow.  Whipppeeee!

Aug 12 2012a-  Is this not an amazing day?

Aug 12 2012b-  Late last night, the team from Southampton, who seem to be fated to begin things in the very late evening, revved up their water wheel-powered plankton wheel at about midnight last night.  Sari is conducting a grazing experiment with copepod which she sent Richard and Morten out to collect at about 10 last night.

Aug 12 2012c-  The typical lunch spread, and that is just the cold dishes.  Oh, but the watermelon is missing.  Usually there is watermelon to go with the pineapple.

Aug 12 2012d-  Morgane labeling tomorrow's tubes outside in the sun.

Aug 12 2012e- Annick doing the same in the company of someone's soggy shoes.

 Aug 12 2012ff- I walked into the aggregation lab to see how the extremely sleep deprived were doing and at first I could only see this and I thought, omigod, they've cracked under the pressure!

Aug 12 2012f- But, in fact, Briva was quite happily improvising a way to take photos of aggregates in some of the rolling tanks before they removed the aggregates for respiration and chemical measurements.

Aug 12 2012g-  He Who Does Not Sleep carefully lowering the microelectrode into an aggregate.

Aug 12 2012h-  A pleasant, sunny, afternoon, 2-hour tutorial on collecting and working with zooplankton.

Aug 12 2012i-  Drat!  The batteries have run out on the light meter, just when he needs it urgently.  Luckily, Morten had more than enough spare AAs up his sleeve (or, rather, in one of his three shipping boxes).  Myself, I don't think I've even held a non-rechargable battery in my hand since about 2004.  It was like having someone hand you a Betamax video cassette.

Aug 12 2012j- The cook's car, which is not painted grey.  Judging from what the roads are like around here, I would estimate that, in fact, that car was washed yesterday.

Aug 12 2012k-  It was a rather swashbuckling Richard who came out all fired up to do some readings of light levels in the mesocosms.

Aug 12 2012l-  He certainly knows how to accessorize.

Aug 12 2012m-  It was certainly a tragedy for me that I was the only person available to come out and help with the light meter readings (it's faster that way and, anyway, no one is allowed out alone on the mesocosm raft).

Aug 12 2012n-  Richard clambering over the playground equipment, dragging the light meter cable and down line behind him.....

Aug 12 2012o-  ....while I sat in the boat and held up the surface irradiance meter at just the right angle and logged data off this thing using the high tech pencil and paper method.  Which is what you must resort to when no one has the correct RS232 cable and the light meter's memory is 97% full of the previous data that you are unable to download.

Aug 12 2012p-  This stab at a sampling and experiment schedule for the next two weeks took me all day to iron out and was the only thing I got done save for eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, dispensing nutrients into 24 bottles to be added to the mesocosms, logging light meter data, and shaking up calcite suspensions (haha, no, they are not really suspensions) which I then handed to Richard, who poured them into his mesocosms.  I had no idea that being the head cheese means you spend all your time running around coordinating all the disparate activities that need to occur somehow even though you only have one motor boat and a limited number of filtration racks and a small number of bodies to do the work.

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