Dana Tomlinson: Day 10, March 10, 2002


NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 10, 2002
Lat: 1°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surf Temp: 79-82°F
Air Temp: 89-78°F

Today started out not looking so good – and I should know since I saw the sun rise behind the clouds. I have been up since 4am since I did the 4:30am CTD. The weather improved throughout the day, the seas have flattened out – you can tell we’re near the equator. By evening, it was just gorgeous – balmy, calm and a nice sunset behind the clouds. Ahhhhh.

Ok, I’ve strung you along long enough. Let’s talk barnacles. Actually, let’s talk about the hardest working woman on this ship: Raye Foster. She really is working in two capacities. She collects the barnacles off of the buoys. Those get sent to Dr. Cynthia Venn at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. And she collects water samples from different depths for Dr. Victor Kuwahara of MBARI. Why does she do these two things?

Dr. Venn has been doing barnacle research in the Pacific Ocean for almost ten years now. Since the NOAA buoys are moored from 8°N to 8°S all across the Pacific, she has had the unique opportunity to have a systematic set of hard objects from which to collect the barnacles in the open ocean. She has been studying this distribution of pelagic barnacle species across the tropical Pacific and the effects of El Niño and La Niña conditions on them.

Raye scrapes the barnacles off every part of the buoy and puts them in buckets according to which part of the buoy they were on. Then she counts them and puts them in bottles and covers them in Formalin, a preservative. Then, she bags them up with notations on the baggies as to which buoy they came from and the date, and the barnacles will be eventually shipped to Pennsylvania for more research by Dr. Venn.

Raye also takes water samples from every CTD cast for Dr. Kuwahara. She does several different experiments, but the most interesting to me is the chlorophyll extractions. Dr. Kuwahara is doing research on the amount of chlorophyll in the ocean at different depths over a period of time. And once again, the systematic testing done by NOAA for their El Niño research works perfectly for this purpose also.

Raye is therefore needed at every buoy recovery for work that takes hours to scrape the barnacles off of the buoy. Then days to do the prep work to send them to Dr. Venn. She is also needed at the end of every cast to collect the water samples. Those casts are basically every 6 hours around the clock – every 4 hours here close to the equator!! Needless to say, Raye, you need a raise! Seriously, everyone on board is aware of her diligent competence. You go, girl. 🙂

Questions of the Day: 

I decided that there can’t be just one because I wrote about so many possible questions. Please answer any of these you can:

What does MBARI stand for?
What does pelagic mean?
What is chlorophyll and why is it important?

Answer of the Day: 

Since I haven’t received all of my mail from over the weekend (it’s sent to me from NOAA in Maryland), let’s save it for Monday’s log, ok?

Til tomorrow (a very busy day),
🙂 Dana

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