Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 9 (Aug 7 2012)

Whoops!  Falling behind a bit on the posting.  We have been somewhat busy.  Even sleep isn't getting much room on the agenda.

This was the last day before the main food web/aggregation experiment and the calcite experiment started (see the "About" tab for some information about the experiments), so the day was a mad frenzy of finishing setting up filtration stations, finding all the necessary filters, bottles, beakers, etc and so forth, and getting everything labeled perfectly so that once you had gone to all the trouble of filtering a sample, it didn't end up getting stuck in an unlabeled (or uninformatively labeled) container.  The day was also the last chance to figure out how to operate some of the fancy measuring equipment that some of us were trying out for the first time (dissolved oxygen meters, carbon dioxide partial pressure meters, and so forth).  Nerves did fray and some (but not many) words were snapped, as panic mounted in some quarters.  However, things were reasonably well in hand by the end of the day, although for some of us, the end of the day came at 1:30 in the morning.  Myself, aside from the minutes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in the boat out to the mesocosms, I don't think I ever sat down.

Aug 7 2012a-  Today, we lost the beautiful warm, sunny weather.  When Morten and I went out to the mesocosms to see if it was possible to make dissolved oxygen measurements out there for the primary production slash respiration incubations, this is what conditions were like.  This marked the beginning of a 36 hour struggle for mastery over the DO meter.  But I think I got there, in the end.  You have to treat it just right, or it is very obstinate with you.  One of those, maybe you should have read the instruction manual first before you tried to use it sort of things.  Also, days before we shipped it out here, it came back from another cruise having been crushed at the bottom end, so if you hold it in your hand the way it was designed to be held, you lose the connection with the battery and the whole thing shuts down and you have to start all over with it.  Actually, after these first 36 hours with it, I am wondering if it actually wasn't an accident, but if someone just snapped and attacked it with a hammer.  I came close.

Aug 7 2012b-  Later I went for round II with the DO meter, but this time just at the shore.  As I was working there, I realized there was a peacefully dead crab sitting there next to me.  Funny how things in the ocean generally have to be dead to be noticed.  I guess it is harder to scuttle off and hide when someone comes if you are dead.

Aug 7 2012c-  Big bottles all lined up and ready to go for first thing the next morning.

Aug 7 2012d-  Newly fabricated sediment traps waiting for a good scrub before deployment.

Aug 7 2012e-  Reinforcements have arrived (and not a moment too soon)!  Annick, Alain, and Nathalie would not stand still for a picture, though.  It was late and they'd been traveling for 16 hours and nothing was going to detain them from the dinner table.

Aug 7 2012f-  That one is slightly better, except that Alain is still moving too fast for the camera at low light (and there wasn't time to turn the flash on).

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