Ruth Meadows, June 12, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Ruth S. Meadows
Onboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow 
June 12 – July 18, 2009 

Mission: Census of Marine Life (MAR-Eco)
Geographical Area: Mid- Atlantic Ridge; Charlie- Gibbs Fracture Zone
Date: June 12, 2009

Weather Data from the Bridge 
Temperature 14.7o C
Humidity 96%
Wind 12.4 kts

The Henry B. Bigelow
The Henry B. Bigelow

Science and Technology Log 

We left Newport, Rhode Island today to begin our journey of 1750 miles to the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) located along the Mid- Atlantic Ridge.  Mar-Eco is an international exploratory study of the animals inhabiting the northern Atlantic Ocean.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a volcanic mountain range in the middle of the ocean marking the spreading zone between the Eurasian and American continental plates. New ocean floor is constantly being formed there. The groups of animals to be studied includes fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods (squids) and a wide range of gelatinous animals (e.g. jellyfish) living either near the seabed or half-way above the ridge.

The animals will be collected using special nets that will be lowered to a specific depth behind the boat and then pulled back up after a certain amount of time.  These animals will be transferred to the lab located in the ship to be studied, counted and cataloged by the research scientists.

Personal Log 

My cabin on the Bigelow
My cabin on the Bigelow

Life on a research ship is different from life on land.  The cabins are small but well planned.  Each cabin has two scientists in them.  Bunk beds and built in cabinets are in each unit as well as a computer with flat screen that can be used as a TV also. Each room has its own bathroom as well.

There is a lounge area with sofas, large TV and conference room.  The galley (think dining room) has tables with chairs and a serving area.  The food has been really good so far – fresh fruit and vegetables.  I wonder what will happen after 4 weeks to the freshness of the fruits. Of course there is a scientific lab with equipment that is used specifically for the job to be done.  The equipment on the boat for collecting samples is almost overwhelming.  I can’t wait to actually see it at work.  I haven’t been able to see much off the ship as it has been very foggy – hopefully it will clear up soon.

Did You Know? 

You can track the Henry B. Bigelow on the Internet here. Just select the ship you want to follow and the current cruise. It will give you our position as well as information about the weather.

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