As an undergraduate student, I’m really really lucky and excited to be a part of this research cruise. It’s my first time on a vessel of this size, and my first time ever doing research at sea, so everything is new and exciting. I’m a biology student, but what I’m really interested in are the cores, because of what you can learn about the past oceans from them. Today, day watch was up and rearing to go at 0500 – 5:00am ship time, to relieve the night watch, who had been hard at work all night, getting things ready and testing equipment. We have hopes for a very exciting day. I spent the morning down in one of the bearths (bedrooms) ironing some bags that we’ll be putting sediments into to store them. After a slower start (we’re at sea, and not everything always goes as planned), we got some nets in the water, and the collecting began. Up came all sorts of small organisms living in the surface waters, as well as some things that don’t normally belong – we found a piece of bright blue sponge – just shows you how much influence we humans have on the ocean. Some of the organisms that came up with the net include jellyfish, ctenophores (similar to jellyfish, but instead of tentacles, they have rows of very tiny hairs, or cillia, that move together to help move the organism), and Krill – the thing that baleen whales like to eat. We haven’t seen any of those yet, but I’ll be looking!
Later in the morning we deployed the box core – a really neat tool that can bring up layers of sediment that are virtually undisturbed even at the surface, something many coring technologies aren’t as good at. We got to look at the annual layers – alternating between black and tan – that the Basin is so famous for, and then spent much of the morning sorting through the very surface – in little petri dishes under a microscope, hoping to find different organisms. Overall, it’s been a very fun day, and of course it’s not over yet – when we’re at sea every hour is important, so we’ll be taking more cores and putting other instruments over the side.
I’m really excited and grateful to be able to come on this adventure, and know I will continue to have very exciting and fun experiences.