Let the Science Begin!

What a day! It’s about 5:00pm EST but it feels so much later – probably a consequence of waking up around 3:30 to prep for the day’s activities!

Today marked the first day of data collection.  We launched the Niskins (see below) at 4:30am.  The Niskins are, essentially, 12 large bottles that are cast over the side of the ship to a specified depth (even to just above the ocean floor) then slowly brought back to the surface.  As the Niskins rise, each one is triggered to close at a different depth and collects water from that location.  Therefore, Niskin 1 has the deepest water while Niskin 12 has the water closest to the surface.



At about 5:30am, the Niskins were recovered and brought back on board, then the mad dash to collect our samples began.  I call it that because we have to move quickly – the longer the water samples are exposed, the less accurate the data will be.

What contaminants do you think can affect the samples?


Collecting the samples is really more of an organized chaos, with the most time-sensitive experiments going first.  But it truly is chaotic.  Combine all nine members of the science team crammed in a tight space, moving as quickly as possible with rough seas pouring water over the deck and soaking us.


It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.


Alas, all good things must come to an end and once Andrew (my twin brother, de facto boss, and favorite scientist) and I had our samples, we went back to our lab to get them ready for the tests we were to run.

Andrew injecting a sample into the NOx Box (more on that later!)

Andrew injecting a sample into the NOx Box (more on that later!)

We are analyzing three different nutrients from the collected seawater: ammonium ( (NH4+), nitrate (NO3) , and nitrite (NO2) .  Each nutrient is analyzed with a different instrument.  I will explain in detail what goes on in each experiment in a later post.

For now, I will leave you with the picture of me in my immersion (a.k.a. lobster) suit.

My lobster-like immersion suit.

My lobster-like immersion suit.

Until next time,

Ms. B.


9 thoughts on “Let the Science Begin!

  1. Siena Pilnick says:

    Awesome! Do you have to wake up as early as that every morning? We miss you in Period 10! Keep having as much fun as you are having! 🙂

    • yup! we drop the Niskins at 4:30 every morning so I need to be up by 3:30-4:00 to get everything prepped for the samples.

      I miss you guys too! Say hi to everyone 🙂

    • 30 seconds, max (but as quick as possible). we will only need them if we have to abandon ship, and those are the only things that will protect us from the freezing cold water.

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