CATHRINE PRENOT FOX
ONBOARD NOAA SHIP OSCAR DYSON
JULY 24 – AUGUST 14, 2011
(Limited data, as ship is in port)
If you follow the links on the side-bar for the NOAA fleet map, you will notice that yes, indeed, we are still in Kodiak on the Coast Guard Base. My father informs me that if you go to google maps, you can zoom in and actually see the ship! I’d say I would wave to you, but I haven’t really spent a great deal of time onboard with so much to see and explore. Today is an exception, with 100% humidity (code for pouring) and I have been busily finishing two cartoons; one of which follows.
I have always been fascinated by members of the taxonomic kingdom protista: a group of diverse organisms united by the fact that they don’t fit into any of the other kingdoms (plants, animal, fungi and two bacteria). Protists also have eukaryotic cells, or cells with a nucleus and specialized organelles. I can wax poetic for an hour about diatoms, extol the virtues of Spirogyra and Volvox (an of how my students should name bands after them), and get excited about cillates like Stentor or Blepharisma. Imagine my delight at finding Bull Kelp, Nerocystis luetkeana, washed up on shore during a walk along Women’s Bay.
I know. It may be difficult for you to imagine it. Instead, try reading Issue 8: The Mermaid’s Bladder and watching a short relaxing video… …then come back and we’ll have a little chat. (Cartoon citations: 1, 2 and 3)
Bull kelp is pretty amazing. Since it is an annual, it grows from a single spore to a ginormous height in one year–sometimes growing as much as 10 inches per day. Indigenous peoples have made use of the stem for nets, harpoons, and fishing lines; the hollow float can be dried to store water or oil, and the stem and blades can be eaten. Pretty impressive, for a lowly protist.
Until our next adventure,
p.s. Many thanks to my sister Laura for doing Adventures in a Blue World video research for me. We don’t have a great deal of bandwidth on ship, and are not allowed to pig out on available cyberspace with video watching (plus, it would be abysmally slow). xo LJ!