Jillian Worssam, July 4, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 4, 2008

Science Log

Today will be my first day as part of the MOCNESS team, so I though you should meet these amazing scientists.

From left to right: Alexei, Nicola, Elizabeth, and Ron, ready to deploy the MOCNESS.
From left to right: Alexei, Nicola, Elizabeth, and Ron, ready to deploy the MOCNESS.

Nicola studies the early life stages of fish and how they are effected by environmental changes, and how these changes affect their ecology.  Nicola works out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Juneau. Alexei studies zooplankton ecology with an emphasis on krill (euphausiids).  Alexei also works for the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Seward. Ron is a biochemist who works for NOAA, Auke Bay Lab in Juneau.  Ron studies fish lipid and fatty acid signatures, and looks at the energy stored in a fish’s body.  Ron also blows up fish, but that I will save for a later journal. Elizabeth is a PhD Graduate student for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she works with Nicola studying ichthyoplankton, and also looking at drift patterns with data on abundance and distribution of sample populations.

Nicola is blowing air into the flow meter making sure it is working correctly.
Nicola is blowing air into the flow meter making sure it is working correctly.

Before I forget, I guess you should know what “MOCNESS” stands for: Multiple Opening Closing Net Environmental Sampling System.  Quite simply a name for a wonderfully complicated piece of machinery.  The MOCNESS actually can take multiple samples of ichthyoplankton (small fish and different types of plankton) at multiple depths while on the same tow, or station.  There is a nine net capacity so theoretically the team can collect nine different samples at one station.

The scientists stand by as the Healy MST crew uses a wench to raise the MOCNESS prior to releasing it to fish behind the ship.
The scientists stand by as the Healy MST crew uses a wench to raise the MOCNESS prior to releasing it to fish behind the ship.

On a last personal note, I have been handling salt water today, so my hands have the most interesting consistency, dry like finely tanned leather.  I have a feeling that this will be the norm for the next month, and though it is not uncomfortable, it is interesting.

Quote of the Day: I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out until sundown; for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir

FOR MY STUDENTS: Why do you thin it is important to understand more about different types of plankton, where they live, how they travel, and how many there are?

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