Monday, May 16, 2011

Final Approach to Palmyra

We are on the last day of our "first leg" of  out voyage, the sail from Hawaii to Palmyra. Today was a super busy day on board the ship where our scientific focus has been on the deep scattering layer  (DSL)  and the oxygen minimum Layer (OML). We're exploring the relationship between the DSL and OML, the biophysical characteristics, the biodiversity and how when this region shoals it impacts the characteristics of the water column.

Our budding oceanographers have cast at least 20 nets ranging from the surface to 600 meters down. Neuston, Tucker, and Meter nets go over the side, and when they come up we're  examining the contents, getting the biomass, measuring the biodiversity and storing animals in vials, taking DNA samples, examining animals under microscopes and counting a lot of species. We've counted copepods, angler fish, myctophids, and gulper eels. Jellies, shrimps, ostracods and squid, amphipods, salps, halobates and octopi.

Our arrival in Palmyra is scheduled for tomorrow at 9am. This will mark a transition to our Line Islands phase- where student projects will be intertwined with the ecology of these very unique coral atolls. Its been a super first leg, great sailing, wonderful vistas, remarkable energy and real teamwork. Our class has really come together out here- and with beautiful weather its been an easy first leg!

-Dr. Barbara Block

1 comment:

vicki said...

Focus on DSL, fabulous! Another connection with the Te Vega: it was the focus of Cruise 5. Do you have the publication?

Vicki Pearse