It is hard to believe that we have been on this ship for 7 days. Fluctuating between day and night shift, sleeping a few hours here and a few hours there; the days and nights have rolled together and a week has passed in a flash.
Animals have been the focus for the past few days. From the microscopic worms entwined in a mat of bacteria on the ocean floor, to the plankton and larval fishes that inhabit the mid-depth waters to the dolphins and sea lions that have visited our boat we have seen life that has evolved into almost every form imaginable. Tiny creatures that look as if they came from another world were best described as “fantastical” by a Cal-Echoes grad student.
Today we sent down the box core several times and brought up a plethora of worms from the ocean floor. Some so tiny we found and separated them using a microscope and some so large they didn’t look like worms at all. We assisted Dr. Rouse, the resident worm expert, in carefully cleaning them and photographing them before they make their way to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These worms and fishes will help other ecologists unravel the story behind the Santa Barbara Basin’s ecosystem.
I feel so fortunate to have this time here with all of these incredibly intelligent and passionate people from around the world! What adventures are in store for the next couple of days? I can’t wait to find out!