Maggie Prevenas, April 24, 2007


NOAA Teacher at Sea
Maggie Prevenas
Onboard US Coast Guard Ship Healy
April 20 – May 15, 2007

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Alaska
Date: April 24, 2007

Science Log: Science on Ice

We hit very thick ice last night. That is exactly what the scientists were waiting for.  So the ship just tucked up into the ice, let down a metal ramp, and down we went.

The scientists were able to walk off the boat by way of this metal ramp. They had to grasp the handrails and walk backwards down the ramp. It was like climbing down a ladder.

The scientists were able to walk off the boat by way of this metal ramp. They had to grasp the handrails and walk backwards down the ramp. It was like climbing down a ladder.

All of the scientists were very excited to get off the boat. They have been researching in a lab since the cruise started. Most of the scientists are doing experiments associated with or needing seawater.

Most of the scientists are working with sea water. The collection of sea water  directly from these holes was a new protocol.

Most of the scientists are working with sea water. The collection of sea water directly from these holes was a new protocol.

The stop on the ice was the first for all of them, to drill ice cores, to collect ice and water directly from the hole.

Dr. Ned Cokelet drills an ice core using a gas powered engine. It allows the scientists to take samples quickly and efficiently.

Dr. Ned Cokelet drills an ice core using a gas powered engine. It allows the scientists to take samples quickly and efficiently.

When they return to the ship, they test it to see what secrets it may tell. Remember the reason they were collecting ice samples, was because of the puzzling results they were getting.

Ice samples were brought back onboard the Healy by attaching a rope and dragging them up the ramp.

Ice samples were brought back onboard the Healy by attaching a rope and dragging them up the ramp.

I believe every single scientist and assistant were on the ice except the marine mammal and bird folks, who are doing a different kind of sampling. The scientists were on the ice from 8:30 am through 11 am. That is the time when oxygen release and chlorophyll is dramatically observed and measured. They will be returning to the ice three more times to take the ice samples.

Seal Tagging: Oh, but my day was not over yet. I was about to get a hands-on experience in tagging ice seals. Instead of re-explaining it all here, I thought I could ask you to go into my journals and check the entry ‘Seal Tagging Adventure.’ You can get very good details and photos of the event. We got back to the ship around four pm. My tail was dragging from leaping over snow banks and falling over ice chunks. Tagging seals is a very rigorous science occupation.