Wow! what a night. Worked the night watch 5pm to 5am. We caught so many critters from the deep. The Education Team helped to deploy, retrieve, and process THREE IKMT’s (mid-water trawls), TWO MOCNESS (multiple net plankton tow), and two ZOOPS (acoustic monitoring of zooplankton). We had multiple species of squid, many types of fish larvae, lots of shrimp and krill, and, of course, interesting fish. I think my new favorite group of animals is the Pteropods or “sea butterflies.” They are so weird yet beautiful and such a treasure to find among the other species. I woke up this morning to find samples from a couple of box cores (sampling the top meter of the seafloor) and am helping with sorting. So far, they have found urchins, polychaete worms, snails, and an eelpout (a burrowing fish). I personally sorted out a couple of baby seastars, a baby sea slug, a mysterious and elegant sphere that looks like a bucky ball and may be a sponge, as well as some baby clams. I am looking forward to helping the teachers with our “virtual collections”–a collection of photographs of the many species we have found during the cruise–as the actual specimens will be going back to SIO to be analyzed by the scientists. I’m on the noon to midnight shift today. The weather and the sea are beautiful. What a life.
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