We Blogged It!

Murphy's Law

05/24/2010, 12:17 PM by Lollie Garay
Courtney filters water in the main lab.<br/><br/>Credit: lollie garay
Courtney filters water in the main lab.
Photo Credit: lollie garay

Lat/Long:10.17N 054.3W
Air Temp:28.6C 83.6F
Surface Temp: 29.04C 84.27F
Salinity:32.02 psu

As with any best made plan, things don’t always go they way they should. Which is why there is always a Plan B, Plan C... etc.  A couple of unexpected equipment malfunctions slowed down the tempo of the day. But by the end of the day there were smiles and high fives after a successful deployment of the MOCNESS plankton net (more about the MOCNESS in the next post!)

As promised, I have begun to interview the science team and crew to give you a better picture of who we are and what we do. I decided to begin at the top (literally) and went up to the bridge to find Captain Adam Seamans. After wandering around for awhile, I met up with him in the Main Lab. Captain Seamans doesn't stay put for long in any one place- an that's a good thing! As Master of the ship he has overall command of the vessel and is responsible for the navigation, safety,operations, and the successful completion of the science mission. Capt. Seamans maintains close communication with the Chief Scientist to assure that all is going well and is often seen on deck supervising the operations.

Captain Seamans has worked primarily on the RV Knorr but also on  the Rv Atlantis for 2years. Always interested in working on ships, Capt. Seamans earned his Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science/Marine Transportation from the Maine Maritime Academy. Out at sea for an average of 6-8 months per year, he told me that one of his best personal experiences was seeing the Northern Lights off the coast of Iceland.Captain Seaman and his wife Lorna have a two-month old baby boy!

Chief Scientist for this expedition is Dr.Tish Yager from the University of Georgia, at Athens. Dr. Yager explained that the purpose of the mission is to understand what happens in the ocean part of the Amazon River (plume) with respect to the ecosystem. There is a very efficient biological pump in the plume due to the perfect  conditions that allow DDAs to bloom. The Amazon Plume is an extension of the river into the ocean, but the question is: what happens when it reaches the sea? Does it sit on top of the ocean (like oil in water) or does it interact more? Already they have learned new things that don't fit their models about how the plume mixes with the ocean!

Working on Tish's team are Karie Sines, a UGA research professional formerly from Raytheon, Cristine Ewers, a grad student from UGA, and myself! Karie is in charge of measuring rates of bacterial production and monitors the underway PCO2 system (CO2 gas in the surface ocean). Christine is measuring rates of enzyme activity in bacteria. When bacteria lands on a particle , it exudes an enzyme that breaks it down. She works in a dark room using a  florescent marker to measure extra-cellular enzymes. And I am working the SOMMA  (Single-Operator Multiparameter Metabolic Analyzer) to measure total CO2 in the seawater.

Next post from closer to the equator!


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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.