You think fitting 55 ravenous people into the galley for breakfast is hard, well then you have never done a MOCNESS. It’s madness. The only thing that can save you when your nets are tangled and your hydrowire is pinched is a Chinese finger. Yes, I said Chinese finger. A device I have never used, but will remember forever. Essentially a very strong steel tool that looks like a giant bobby pin that you can wind around the hydrowire for leverage to pull in the wire and adjust an already deployed net. This tool allowed us to continue the first deployment of Jesse’s MOCNESS, and collect samples for outreach! As the Pelagic Invertebrates Collection manager, I must say these samples can be invaluable, and I love being able to give them to teachers and outreach groups to show them the diversity of zooplankton off our coast. Noelle brought up her IKMT net full of life, and is introducing me to fish eggs and larvae. We were able to place Ctenophores, close relatives of Cnidarians in glass aquaria and watch their graceful swimming and voracious feeding tendencies. After this successful test of our CTD, Zoops, MOCNESS and IKMT nets we were onto the day watch beginning with a box core. Just a box of mud?… I think not. Arndt pulled out a pelagic mollusk Calvalinia and handed it to me asking what it was. I was happy to oblige, take some photos and preserve it for display. He told me it was sitting in the sediment for nearly 100 years. Needless to say, coring has intrigued me as it is holding many secrets of our ecosystems past. Now you think that Mike Rowe gets dirty on the Discovery channel, well you have not seen Dick and Ben after several Kasten cores. Those gentlemen get into their work! These cores brought up nicely stratified layers or lamina, and turbidites, which are new to me. Turbidites from my understanding represent a period of time when there was submarine movement or landslides and are shown in the core by light grey layers of sediment that slid over and covered the sea floor at this period of time.
Getting used to sleeping the day is hard as there is so much going on that everyone wants to be a part of. This led to one hour of sleep and on to the next night watch for me. MOCNESS #2 tensions high….I’m talking about the hydrowire haha, the night crew has a good sense of humor, which is an absolute must 30 hours without sleep and hours of towing, sieving, preserving, and cleaning are awaiting you. Before we knew it the sun was rising and we had jars teeming with copepods, euphausiids, caridean shrimp, ctenophores, jellies, amphipods, ostracods, fish eggs and larvae. Christian was preparing his samples for gut fluorescence analysis at the end of our shift at about 5:30am, and still has energy to sing a tune of Enrique Iglesias. The work is hard, but so very, very fun and rewarding especially when with great friends, scientists and teachers.