Rough Seas Ahead

We set sail Tuesday afternoon and spent most of the day traveling to our first testing site.  The boat was moving a lot more than anticipated – it’s taking longer to find my sea legs than I expected.  Until then, I just bounce side-to-side a bit…it’s a good thing no one is required to walk in a straight line!

Once we departed, the science team attended a required safety presentation given by our awesome 2nd Mate, Chris.  He showed us a video and demonstrated proper safety procedures.  One safety measure we must do in case of emergency is to put on an immersion suit – it’s similar to a wetsuit that divers and surfers wear, but covers us fully from head-to-toe.  As the only member of the science team to have never work one, I had to learn to put it on.

It’s not easy  There’s a ton of neoprene to get over your body and it’s a tight fit (as it needs to be). I looked (and felt) like a lobster! We also discovered I’m much too short to wear a regular suit! Pictures to come – I promise!

Students, I added a new section titled “Critical Thinking.”  It contains a list of questions that I will be generating during my time at sea.  You will be responsible for answering some of them as part of your final paper, so make sure you are checking them occasionally!

We’re setting our first cast to collect water samples at 4:30am so I need to go make sure everything is prepped for the nutrient experiments.  I will post more later.

Until next time,

Ms. B.

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Anchors Away

Well, not quite.  🙂  The ship will sail tomorrow morning, April 29th, and will dock in Reykjavik around May 23rd.  It’s certainly a lot of days at sea!

R/V Endeavor - out home for the next month

R/V Endeavor – our home for the next month

We arrived on Sunday with all the supplies and equipment we will need throughout the expedition. Today, we unloaded everything from the truck, organized the equipment, and set up our labs.  There are three labs on board, and in each one various scientists will be studying something different. Nine researchers (including myself) make up the science team and I will be introducing each of them over the next few weeks.

One aspect of life at sea is that everything moves – we can’t control the ocean.  To maintain a safe lab and protect the equipment, everything must be bolted or tied down to prevent any movement, which is very different from the usual labs seen on land.

Equipment must be securely fastened to the lab bench prior to sailing

Equipment must be securely fastened to the lab bench prior to sailing

After securing the equipment, we started making the standard solutions we will need for the experiments.

What is a standard solution? How is it made?

Pre-massed stock compounds to make standard solutions.

Pre-massed stock compounds to make standard solutions.

As you can see, we massed each compound prior to boarding the vessel.  Balances are useless when we’re at sea.  Why do you think this is true?

For this standard, I needed the solvent to be a 10% acid solution.  To do this, I dissolved the solid in 450mL of pure water, then added 50mL of highly concentrated HCl.

Why is acid always added to water?

Do what you oughta...

Do what you oughta…

Today was an excellent start to the research expedition.  Tomorrow, we have a few more items to secure then we will be sailing towards the North Atlantic to begin sampling.  Stay tuned!

Head on over to the Assignments tab to see this week’s assignment!

Until next time,

Ms. B.