Well during the night we arrived at our most northerly and westerly position of the expedition. I was up collecting water samples from the CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) probe and it was as cold as one would expect it to be given our position. The foghorn, which is right above my cabin by the way, was going all night because of the thick fog we have been in for the last couple of days. We have since turned south and are following the 70-meter line, which will bring us back to Dutch Harbor sometime Monday. This line is called the 70-meter line because the water depth will be 70 meters for the entire length. It is known as the downhill run, but this doesn’t make the line any easier then previous sampling lines. If anything this line is more difficult because we have stations...
Its been a little difficult to get work done here on the Knorr for the last couple of days. The ocean has been giving us 15 foot swells most of yesterday and today. It has slacked off a little but it is supposed to get a little rougher in the next 24 hours. Nothing seems to stop, everyone keeps working even with the deck rocking. You do get used to it after awhile. I wonder what solid land is going to feel like when we get off of the ship.
I attached a short video of our current sea condition. I will finish up another one I have showing some of the local bird life. Watch for that in a couple of days.
What a busy couple of days we have had here on the Knorr. We have been crisscrossing the shelf following a plankton bloom we can see from the MODIS satellite. MODIS, which stands for Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, is a key instrument aboard both the Terra and Aqua satellites. Terra's orbit around the Earth is timed so that it passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon. Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth's surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths. A big area of interest in oceanography is ocean color. Because the world’s oceans are so vast it can be hard to monitor them on a large scale. Using satellites is ideal because...
It has been a very strange couple of days. One of the routines that you have to get used to on a research vessel is that there are no routines. When I first got on the ship I went to bed at regular times, eat my meals at the same time, for a couple of days at least. Now that I have a project that I am working on I have to be available to collect samples whenever and wherever they are required. A lot of what I have to do is to balance collecting samples in route between stations verses collecting data while on station. This means getting two hours of sleep, getting up and collecting water from the CTD and run them before we leave station. I am working with what’s called a Advanced Laser Fluorometer (ALF). It is a tool that helps determine what species of phytoplankton are present, and it...
It has been a very busy couple of days here on the Knorr. I haven’t received very much sleep. But then again, none of the science team has either. We have been a little ahead of schedule so it was decided that we could stay on station at a pretty interesting site for a longer period of time and due some diurnal studies, meaning, how are the organisms and ecosystems we are studying changing as we cycle through daytime to night. I am working on a project on phytoplankton so this was especially interesting for my work. So I was up several time thorough out the night collecting water samples and analyzing them.
More St. Paul
*** St. Paul Island only a few miles away ***
We headed to a particularly productive area right between the Pribilof Islands. As you can see from the photographs you...
We spent the day cruising in one of the shallowest regions of the entire expedition. The depth below us is only about 40 meters. We are also getting close to what ice is still present this time of the year. I checked with the National Snow and Ice Data Center to see what the status of the sea ice in the arctic currently is. So far I haven’t seen any ice but I am keeping a look out for it. Of course we cant see anything, we are cruising through a thick fog right now.
Fog on the Bering Sea
Fog of the Bering Sea
I am also doing some of my own research on phytoplankton while up here and the edge of the sea ice plays an important part in how productive the phytoplankton actually is. They reported that after a slow start to the melt season, the ice extent declined quickly in May....
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Some very interesting activities have been going happening on board the Knorr the last couple of days. While everyday there is a routine of cruising to a station, stopping and dropping plankton nets and/or other probes, other, more exotic experiments get deployed. For example, yesterday researcher Pat Kelley from the University of Rhode Island and his team retrieved sediment traps that they had set out 24 hours before. Their interest is seeing what is settling to the bottom of the ocean and at what rate this material is settling. To do this, they use a rather ingenious device. They take tubes and fill them with salt water that is many times more concentrated then regular seawater. Because it is so dense, the concentrated saltwater stays in the open toped tube as...
Thursday, June 18, 2009
In the middle of this great big Bering Sea, who would have thought that we would meet up with another research vessel going to the same station at the same time as us? The NOAA ship R/V Oscar Dyson was in our area. This ship’s primary objective is to study and monitor Alaskan pollock and other fisheries in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The ship also observes weather, sea state, and other environmental conditions, conducts habitat assessments, and surveys marine mammal and marine bird populations. It’s named after Oscar Dyson, an Alaskan fisheries leader and is homeported in Mr. Dyson's hometown of Kodiak, Alaska.
R/V Oscar Dyson 4
**The Oscar Dyson passing close by*
Today we found out how a common marine organism can insert its presence and mess...
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
During the night the Knorr turned south westward to start it’s collecting along the CN (Cape Newenhan) line. We had skirted the edge of Bristol Bay before heading back out to into the Bering Sea. The expedition is following a plan that lets it stop at locations they have stopped at in previous years. This allows the scientists to compare data from multiple years so they can get a more accurate picture of what’s happening in the Bering Sea.
Knorr Position 06_17_09
When I got up this morning I had to double check to make sure we were still on the Bering Sea and not something more temperate. The sky has been clear and the air temperature has been a "balmy” 45º F. May be I’m getting used to the weather but I had to take my jacket off to stay comfortable. The...
Monday, June 15, 2009
Well things are starting to settle into a routine here on the Knorr. What appears to be chaos is actually a very well staged operation. Everything has a place and is secured so as it doesn’t become a hazard in rough seas. The researchers and crew all know their jobs and the ship runs like a well-oiled machine. There are several science labs here onboard. The largest is the main lab pictured below, but there are other labs, which serve specific purposes, spread through out the ship. His ship is totally dedicated to Science. One thing I forgot to mention is that the Knorr is the ship that Dr. Robert Ballard used to find the Titanic on September 1, 1985. A lot of history associated with this ship.
Main Science Lab on the Knorr
Most of the day we have been...
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We are underway!!! Got up this morning to a flurry of activity as the Knorr was preparing to get underway. I hooked up with my researcher Dr. Ray Sambrotto from Columbia University. His interests are in phytoplankton and the different chlorophylls they produce. There is a lot of plankton work happening on this cruise, as well as some benthic (seafloor) studies and surveying of seabirds. It’s amazing how much science they squeeze into a cruise.
One of the things I saw as we were heading out was a very cool example of a Hanging Valley. This geological feature is formed by glaciers. I saw it when we flew into Dutch Harbor but I didnt get a chance to get a picture of it. As we set out on the Knorr we passed right by it so I got my chance.
Wow! I woke up this morning and it really hit me that in a couple of days I will be on the R/V Knorr heading out of Dutch Harbor, AK heading for the Bering Sea. How cool is that? I have spent the last several weeks making preparations both personally and at my school for this trip. Have a lot to do. Arranging live events with the help of the great ARCUS staff, getting my paperwork done at school, and getting the family situated for me to be gone for a month. The vessel I will be on is called the Knorr and it is owned by the U.S. Navy. It has been operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute since 1970. The ship is named in honor of Ernest R. Knorr who was appointed Chief Engineer Cartographer (mapmaker) of the U.S. Navy Hydrographic office in 1860. This vessel has undergone extensive...
Okay, note to self; check batteries in cameras before heading out in the field when it is this cold!
Had a very interesting day. We are in Fairbanks right at the time that the winners of the Yukon Quest 1000 Mile International Sled Dog Race cross the finish line a couple of blocks from where we are doing our training. According to the office race webpage (http://www.yukonquest.com) its name from the "highway of the north," the Yukon River, which was a historic winter land routes followed by prospectors, adventurers and later mail and supply carriers. It was a crucial link between Gold Miners in Klondike and those who worked the gold fields in the interior of the state. I was able to watch the first and second place teams cross the finish line. Got some good shots of the dogs....
"Just think about the fool who by his virtue can be found in a most unusual situation playing jester to the clown”
I thought the above song lyric was appropriate; I just got done pouring water onto my laptops screen during our training session. I would be upset but this training is so cool that nothing going to bother me today.
I have had an opportunity to meet some incredible teachers and the staff of ARCUS, the organization who is responsible for our time here. Right at the moment we are practicing our journaling chops. This is going to be fun. The conversation in the room is great. Sounds just like my classroom when the students are "working” on their computer projects.
Well let me get this posted. Tomorrow I should have another journal post, with...
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