Jillian Worssam, July 30, 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 30, 2008

Today is our last day at sea. We are scheduled to arrive at Dutch Harbor tomorrow morning at 09:00, and I am a bit sad. After 27 days I feel a part of a new family and do not think I can ever thank the scientists or the crew of the HEALY enough for the amazing experience they have provided.

David has many boxes all getting ready for the trip back to Seattle in ...October
David has many boxes all getting ready for the trip back to Seattle in …October

I have learned science about the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf, I have learned dynamics about the U.S. Coast Guard. The science leaves me wanting more, to delve a bit deeper into this amazing ecosystem that I know so little. The Coast Guard makes me want to talk to students, to let them know about the remarkable career options they could have, and the benefits of such an exciting job.

With a scientific tool for filtering water Chief Gray and I had some photographic fun!
With a scientific tool for filtering water Chief Gray and I had some photographic fun!

Everyone works hard to get the research of science accomplished on a cruise like this, but it is important to also have time for play, and to laugh. I have laughed a lot this month, laughed at three in the morning when I grabbed a stinging jelly fish, laughed at eleven at night when I lost in a game of cribbage, I especially laughed when we played a five person round of running ping pong, that also involved spinning. I almost threw up with that one, but the laughter was the most prevalent action.

Rich is working hard handling the crane to move the now empty MOCNESS, but he too has a great sense of humor!
Rich is working hard handling the crane to move the now empty MOCNESS, but he too has a great sense of humor!
As the crane swings the MOCNESS to its resting point for the enxt three months we watch and say farewell!
As the crane swings the MOCNESS to its resting point for the enxt three months we watch and say farewell!
The nets have been removed and now the MOCNESS is ready for a rest, I am too.
The nets have been removed and now the MOCNESS is ready for a rest, I am too.
Day is done, and as the sun sets I have fond memories of the past, and great expectations for the future!
Day is done, and as the sun sets I have fond memories of the past, and great expectations for the future!

**Quote of the Day: **

Never look back, use the knowledge you have gained to move forward. Never question decisions you have made, learn from them even if the lessons were hard.

And never forget, for it is the life that we live that gives meaning to our lives! ~Jillian Worssam

Jillian Worssam, July 29, 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 29, 2008

was told yesterday that if you want too much, or have expectations too high you will be disappointed.  Well I disagree.  I believe in going full tilt into everything I do, and well, I want to do pretty much everything.

We have two more full days at sea and still I am learning.  Yesterday was busy for me, a 22 hour busy day.  The funny thing is, I slept in until 8:30 am, but didn’t go to bed until 6:30 this morning.

MK2 Jeffrey Coombe covered in grease after he emerges from the depths of the engine.
MK2 Jeffrey Coombe covered in grease after he emerges from the depths of the engine.

It all started with the Webinar and ended with three successive MOCNESS as Alexei tried unsuccessfully to catch pregnant Krill.  But I digress.  Yes the science is winding down, but there is still so much to do.  After the webinar I went to the engine room to watch the successful removal of a piston cylinder liner in one of the four main engines.  Salt water is used to cool fresh water to cool, I think, jacket water that cools the engine.  This is not a typical repair while at sea, but the engineering team in charge knew exactly what they were doing and proceeded with care and skill.

That is actually MKC John Brogan in the Engine.
That is actually MKC John Brogan in the Engine.

After the engine room, and dinner I joined FN Angela Ford as she did her TOW rounds.  The TOW (technician of the Watch) is responsible for walking the ship from stern to bow, covering all engineering spaces.  The TOWs are looking for water leaks, electrical concerns, fire, pretty much everything and anything out of place or potentially hazardous.  Even though I had already taken a tour of the vessel this trip was predominantly focused on safety and I was able to see new spaces I had not previously ventured into.

There is a right and wrong way to open, enter and leave all hatches aboard an ocean going vessel.
There is a right and wrong way to open, enter and leave all hatches aboard an ocean going vessel.

We even managed to find a crew member I had not previously met, Oscar.  This poor headless fellow is used in man overboard drills as well as other casualty drills during the voyage.  Oscar is also no light weight, weighing in at over 50 lbs he is a great way to practice and for crew members to realize what it would be like to actually work on an injured individual.

Oscar is also the designation of the flag flown when there is a man overboard.
Oscar is also the designation of the flag flown when there is a man overboard.

But the day is not over yet, we still had THREE MOCNESS drills to complete.  Alexei wants to find pregnant krill so that he can develop a baseline for aging.  Unfortunately after over four and a half hours of work all we had to show for our labors were some shrimp and krill that were not pregnant, bummer.

This could be a scientist, or a crew member, all we know is that the past 29 days have worked them to exhaustion!
This could be a scientist, or a crew member, all we know is that the past 29 days have worked them to exhaustion!

Quote of the Day: The “Control of nature” is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.      Rachel Carson

FOR MY STUDENTS: Please find three authors who predominantly write about knowledge and preservation of the earth’s ecosystems and the species within.

Jillian Worssam, July 28, 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 28, 2008

Today will be the last installment of my meet the crew Monday.  There are so many people that I would love to interview and share in this forum, but there is just not enough time in the day.

To start today we have MK1 Allan Whiting, and an amazing list of responsibilities he and his department have on board.  MK stands for machinery technician, and is within the engineering division. Allan’s “A gang” is responsible for EVERYTHING that doesn’t move the ship, thus auxiliary equipment, refrigeration, cranes, hydraulics, water (can make up to 8000 gallons of drinking water a day), winches, therefor a lot of responsibility.

Working on refrigeration is only one part of his job!
Working on refrigeration is only one part of his job!

I think I have previously talked about the scientists as being a web of different fields that drive a bigger picture of how this entire Bering Sea Shelf Ecosystem is changing and adapting with global climate differences.  Well the vessel is not too dissimilar.  Each person, each division is a vital link to the effective and smooth running of the ship, and if the vessel didn’t work, neither would the scientists.

Another responsibility for the “A gang” is the transfer of the starting 1.3 million gallons of fuel from storage tanks while we are underway.  These “A Gang” members are the “FOWK’s” of the vessel; Fuel, Oil, Water, Kings,” and out technical gurus should any fuel casualty occur.  So as you can tell a lot of responsibility with this department.

Where Allan is a lead with the “A Gang,” EM1 Hans Shaffer works with all things wires.  Yes, he is one of our electrical specialists and if it generates, or uses power Hans is part of the team that is responsible for making sure it works.  From all monitoring systems, to the propulsion and even lighting systems, without the electricians the ship wouldn’t move.

While working on the cyclo-converter I stood way back!
While working on the cyclo-converter I stood way back!

Hans also works with the cyclo-converters, and I must be honest, I know that they take 1444 volts at 60 hrtz and convert it to usable power, but that is about all.  This technology is one that I have never studied.  It is a shocking shame I am not more wired in on the intricacies of electricity.  All I know is this electricity is directly proportional to the speed of the propellers and for a vessel, propeller speed is very important.

I usually do only two people on my meet the Crew Mondays, but today I would like to add two more individuals into the mix.  There is camaraderie on this vessel that is amazing, it really is a family.  And a family that exponentially doubles every thirty days or so with the advent of the scientists, yet still all are welcome.  Smiles abound and I have not once felt unwelcome.

FN Angela Ford learning how to operate the winches with excellent guidance from MST1 Chuck Bartlett.
FN Angela Ford learning how to operate the winches with excellent guidance from MST1 Chuck Bartlett.

FN Angela Ford is one of those people who always has a smile, and who appears to always be learning new skills.  Angela started out in the deck department, and then transferred to engineering (which I have heard is a bit difficult to do).  Angela is also studying to get rated as an YN3, Yeoman third class.  If you see Angela she is either studying, doing rounds with engineering or learning new components of the vessel.  Yesterday while in Aft-Con Angela was supported by the MST crew and took a hand at running the winch to deploy and retrieve the CTD, it was great to watch.  Under the guidance of MST1 Chuck Bartlett, Angela jumped right in, ready to learn something new.  As an educator I was not only impressed with her desire to learn, but Chuck’s patience in teaching.  The whole experience was an educational gift!

XO Commander Bateman teaching me how to make a delicious pie.
XO Commander Bateman teaching me how to make a delicious pie.

Unfortunately I could not stay too long, because I had my own educational experience waiting for me.  The XO, Commander Dale Bateman was preparing to give me a lesson in making a Chocolate French Silk Pie.  Ok, get that smile off your face, because, well, let me tell you, it was one of the tastiest lessons I have had in a while.

For those interested here is the recipe:

(multiply all ingredients times 3 for a standard pie crust)

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1 oz chocolate

1 egg

A smidgen of brown sugar

A splash of vanilla

To make this recipe, you first construct a pie crust, then in a mixer blend the butter and sugar.  According to the XO, you can never blend too much.  Add the chocolate and blend, add the eggs and blend some more.  To be precise once all the ingredients are in the bowl blend for at least 15 more minutes, you want this no bake wonder to be frothy and smooth.  Place in a refrigerator over night, and in two hours I will be able to get a piece of our masterpiece, and let you know how the finished product tastes.

Meet 1C Jennifer Peterson a senior at the Coast Guard Academy and MK3 Betty Brown, always smiling these two are.
Meet 1C Jennifer Peterson a senior at the Coast Guard Academy and MK3 Betty Brown, always smiling these two are.

I would like to add a special thanks to all those who participated in the webinar today.  It was wonderful to hear your voices, and even better to share with you this amazing adventure of discovery I have been fortunate enough to experience, thank you!

Quote of the Day:  Since water still flows, though we cut it with swords.  And sorrow returns, though we drown it with wine, since the world in no way answers to our craving, I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishing boat. – Li Po

FOR MY STUDENTS:  Are you prepared for school in two weeks?

Jillian Worssam, July 27, 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 27, 2008

Today is Sunday, and there is change in the air. For one, we have left the sun and re-entered fog. We have also started the 70 meter line back to Dutch Harbor. A large portion of the scientists have completed their work, and each station is now predominantly the CTD, calvet, and optics. With three days left, the tenor of the vessel is mellow, the frenzy of departure just a warm memory. Three full days and then on the morning of the 31st we arrive in Dutch Harbor. I am not ready to leave; there is still much to learn, and this goodbye will be bittersweet. Needless to say I need to get busy; there are words to be written.

U.S. Coast Guard Healy
U.S. Coast Guard Healy

I recently received a blog asking questions about the vessel and yes, I have been lax about sharing information about the HEALY and what it is like to live on a four hundred and twenty foot cruising scientific ice breaking mobile command center that floats!

Here are the facts: –Four decks are dedicated to berthing –The Main deck is predominantly the Galley forward, the Engine space a mid ship and the science labs aft. –There are three more decks below the main deck and the bridge above the 04 deck. It is approximately 70 feet from the bridge to the water line. –There is a helicopter hanger and flight deck.

The flight deck without a helicopter is perfect for social functions.
The flight deck without a helicopter is perfect for social functions.

Each deck has shared open space all with TV, computers and other lounge type equipment

With the permission of the room mates here is a corner of a crew room, quite large.
With the permission of the room mates here is a corner of a crew room, quite large.

There is a weight room far forward and a cardio room off the flight deck aft.

With a tv and all this equipment, anyone would be happy here!
With a tv and all this equipment, anyone would be happy here!

And the best of all, there are mapped out distances on the weather deck for those who wish to jog (stairs are part of the experience) –Don’t forget the ships store, they even have latte!

Hi Andy, any new merchandise today? hehehe
Hi Andy, any new merchandise today? hehehe

There it is the bare bones of the HEALY, plenty of places to go, lots of things to do. Bingo on the mess deck every Saturday, ping pong in the hanger. Not a moment passes when I am not trying something new.

Everything on a sea going vessel is always strapped down.
Everything on a sea going vessel is always strapped down.

Even as the science of our cruise slows down my days are full. There is much still to learn and experience. This afternoon I was able to assist the XO in making a chocolate silk pie…tomorrow we eat!

I am in heaven licking the beaters, and chocolate, perfect!
I am in heaven licking the beaters, and chocolate, perfect!

 

Nautical Expression: “Square Meal” originally when ships were close enough of shore to get fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fare. The meals were served hot on square plates., thus a healthy most nutritious meal was a square meal.

FOR MY STUDENTS: Think up an entire square meal based only on items you can eat from the sea?

Jillian Worssam, July 26, 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 26, 2008

Saturday’s on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY are morale dinner nights. This is when different divisions within the crew prepare, cook and then clean up the evening meal. Well today was the scientists turn, and under the direction of Scott Hiller game on!Right after lunch was served and cleaned, it was our turn to invade the galley. Let’s see, hamburgers, dogs, salmon patties…to start. Potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, and baked beans, were just a few of the accessories. For dessert apple crisp (my contribution) with vanilla ice cream.

It was a lot of fun working with happy people in making other people happy!
It was a lot of fun working with happy people in making other people happy!

When I say we invaded the galley, we really did. Kristen Blattner and I took charge of the crisp, we recruited Chris Moser and the pealing began. There are two types of crisp, the home version when the cook is too lazy to peel apples, and then the social version, naked apples. Once we had our large supply of pealed, cut apples I started the crisp, and having never made such a large quantity before was blown away by the volume of ingredients used.

Grilling the burgers
Grilling the burgers

Once all the fixings were completed it was up to the flight deck. Now was the time for Pat and John to work on grilling the burgers. I managed to get a quick “calvet” in and then helped with the set up.

The clock struck five, crew and scientists arrived, dinner was served. It was a beautiful sunny day, calm seas, perfect picnic weather. No fog in sight.

With all sorts of tasty morsels, no one should have left hungry.
With all sorts of tasty morsels, no one should have left hungry.
As far as morale evenings went, I think this one was pretty good. After dinner bingo was on, and then at eight o’clock a movie in the hanger. We might be on a four hundred twenty foot ice breaker, but that does not limit anyone in the pursuit of “good morale!”
With plates laden, the crew and scientists alike sit down for a glorious evening on board the HEALY.
With plates laden, the crew and scientists alike sit down for a glorious evening on board the HEALY.

Quote of the Day: It’s so bright out my face hurts. Rachel Pleuthner

FOR MY STUDENTS: Imagine it is the start of the day and you have worked all night, what would be your quote for the day?

Lots of hands made the clean up quick and easy.
Lots of hands made the clean up quick and easy.

Jillian Worssam, July 25, 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 25, 2008

As you might be able to tell, I am about a day behind in my journaling so I thought this would be a perfect time to really explain my “typical” day. One of the hardest parts of explaining a classic day is knowing when to start, because I go to bed when most people are getting up, soooo I will start at six o’clock in the morning and give you a glimpse into a typical twenty four hours.

I have always hated making the bed, now I can just close the curtains.
I have always hated making the bed, now I can just close the curtains.

06:00 Between six and seven in the morning we will have completed our scientific sampling station so I go to bed. There is no fanfare, I collapse!

11:00 The alarm usually rings by eleven, I head down for my breakfast/lunch (today I had chicken nuggets and fries, I know I have a lot of running to catch up on)

Washing down the nets with salt water for any additional copepods.
Washing down the nets with salt water for any additional copepods.

12:00 Alexei finally trusts me so I take the day shift of deploying, retrieving and collecting the samples from the calvet. Yesterday I did approximately five stations, each 1.5 hours apart. Today I had the calvet stations and managed to squeeze in observing a casualty drill in the “bow thruster void.” This was a training drill, flooding in the compartment with an injury. After watching the drill I returned to the back deck for another calvet.

Notice the size of the hatch, not an easy rescue for an injured person.
Notice the size of the hatch, not an easy rescue for an injured person.

17:00 Dinner, even if I am not hungry no way will I miss this social experience. After dinner Alexei returns and I get work on my journals, talking with scientists interviewing the crew, learning more about how this amazing vessel works. (might squeeze a trip to aloft con to visit with Gary)

20:00 A trip to the mess deck reveals a heated game of trivial pursuit, though my journal is incomplete I sit in for an hour.

22:00 My head is falling over, I need a nap, off to my room for a two hour refresher.

23:00 If interested, Mid-Rats are being offered, our fourth meal of the day.

00:00 Is that my alarm, yes, time to check when the MOCNESS will deploy, night time fishing. As most of Alexei’s team left a week ago I am actually needed, it feels great. While waiting to deploy I again try to work on my journal, and squeeze in a game of cribbage.

After the sampling tow and the work of processing samples begins.
After the sampling tow and the work of processing samples begins.

03:30 We get the deploy signal, and start to fish with the MOCNESS. Remember we are fishing for micro-zooplankton, so no big fish at all. Some evenings the tow is late and we do not begin the station until after four.

06:00 If I am lucky back to bed. There is something to be said for not missing anything and it has been very important to me that I see everything. This is a once in a life time experience, to miss even a single moment would be a moment lost. Oh and I pretty much always skip breakfast at seven, I am unconscious by then. And showering, I will hold off on that story.

Just another wonderful sight from the HEALY.
Just another wonderful sight from the HEALY.

Quote of the Day: Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man ~ who has no gills. Ambrose Bierce

FOR MY STUDENTS: It is summer, what has been your busiest day, why?

Jillian Worssam, July 24, 2008

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

While looking at the collected sediment trap, it is obvious that many unsuspecting pieces of debris were caught within its clutches.
While looking at the collected sediment trap, it is obvious that many unsuspecting pieces of debris were caught within its clutches.

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 24, 2008

One of the pleasures while at sea is the concept of time; which is in a word, timeless. Last night the sun set around three in the morning, and if you had asked me what day it was when I went to bed, I could not have answered. I know the date because I made files prior to this cruise so that I could keep track, in some infinitesimal way, of my journals. Right now I know for sure that I am a day behind in writing, that the cruise will be over in less than a week, I still have a lot more science to learn and this afternoon I am making Apple Crisp for the Morale dinner. These things I know, what I am still learning is the science of a sediment trap.Pat Kelly is from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and he is here, in part, to collect sediment samples that float in the ocean.

There are many components to the research Pat is working on; one is in collecting particles sinking vertically in the ocean. By using an established brine (denser NaCl) solution in an array of floating tubes Pat is able to catch these falling sediments. The process is to deploy his trap, a series of tubes for the falling sediments held aloft by floats that drift in the ocean, for no more than 24 hours.

After the brine from the sediment trap is filtered and dried the collected sediments will be analyzed.
After the brine from the sediment trap is filtered and dried the collected sediments will be analyzed.

When collected, Pat will remove the sediments from the brine, looking at the thorium and organic carbon, there is a relationship between these two elements and Pat wants to focus particularly on the carbon. Now this is where it gets sticky for me as I am not a chemical oceanographer. Pat is looking at the carbon flux. The team wants to look at the carbon transfer as it changes from atmospheric carbon, to organic carbon in the oceans, thus taking it out of the carbon cycle.

The scientists making sure the trap is ready before being deployed off the back deck of the vessel.
The scientists making sure the trap is ready before being deployed off the back deck of the vessel.

One of the underlying questions in this component of the HEALY research is how the oceans will respond to all the increased carbon due to global climate change. Pat’s group is actually looking at carbon cycling in many different oceans, with their hypothesis: The arctic will respond faster to increases in carbon (changes more apparent, faster), due to decreased ice, and the fact that it is dark for ½ the year. Think of it this way, after a long dark winter with good nutrient build up, a higher yield is to be expected with 24 hours of sunlight. The sinking particles Pat studies are also very important to the benthos species providing nutrients and food as they sink.

The scientists are carefully retrieving the tubes of brine that for the past 24 hours have collected ocean sediments.
The scientists are carefully retrieving the tubes of brine that for the past 24 hours have collected ocean sediments.

Like many of the scientists on board, Pat is doing multiple investigations. The ocean as I talked about before is layered and Pat’s team is looking at productivity in the mixed layer using 02 isotopes. This data will give the scientists the rate that phytoplankton is growing.

The team also uses radium isotopes to estimate advection of deep water to the surface along the shelf break. The information will tie in with the scientists studying iron. There is belief that the iron is up welled from the sediments in the deep water to the surface layers.

I am still learning about the chemistry of ocean science, and do not fully understand all of Pat’s research. I do though see that everything is intimately linked, that all components of this ecosystem are dependent upon each other and if one component is changed then ALL will change as well.

I hope to never be so jaded as to not appreciate the beauty in nature.
I hope to never be so jaded as to not appreciate the beauty in nature.

Quote of the Day: Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. -William Wordsworth

FOR MY STUDENTS: No question for today, go out and enjoy the sunset!

Jillian Worssam, July 23, 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 23, 2008

Last night I went to bed at four, my wake up call was for seven forty five this morning, needless to say if I have a little difficulty explaining micro-zooplankton there is an excuse.Today I am spending time with Diane Stoeker and Kristen Blattner, both from The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

If she is not at the computer Diane is either at the microscope, the incubators or working on her phytoplankton experiments.
If she is not at the computer Diane is either at the microscope, the incubators or working on her phytoplankton experiments.

Diane and Kristen are studying phytoplankton and micro-zooplankton, and it is amazing how these small components of an oceanic ecosystem are vital for the survival of pretty much the entire environment. Diatoms are small single-celled organisms, called phytoplankton. Diane is studying how fast phytoplankton are eaten by micro zooplankton, and how this “grazing” effects phytoplankton populations.

It is a long process to measure water and extract chlorophyll, Kristen is up for the challenge.
It is a long process to measure water and extract chlorophyll, Kristen is up for the challenge.

Let’s try a visual

Phytoplankton = the microscopic “plants” of the ocean. These organisms photosynthesize and drift with the current. Although some phytoplankton do have locomotive capabilities they cannot swim again the current.

Diatoms are a type of phytoplankton. Zooplankton = small animals who also move with currents and eat phytoplankton as well as micro-zooplankton.

Now enter Diane and Kristen, they look at phytoplankton to find out what is eating them, predominantly micro-zooplankton, and are even looking at their relationship with zooplankton pee and how it might work as a fertilizer for phytoplankton. What these ladies do is collect samples of sea water once a day. They use a mixture of 20% whole sea water and 80% filtered sea water (which removes most of the algae, copepods and protozoa), and a 100% whole sea water sample.

This is part of the larval stage, nauplius of a copepod.
This is part of the larval stage, nauplius of a copepod.

Kristin then strains both types of water pre and post incubation, and will compare the chlorophyll samples. What Kristin is hoping for is that after 24 hours there will be more chlorophyll in the 20/80 sample indicating greater phytoplankton growth, due in part, to the fact that there are fewer predators (micro-zooplankton) in this water. Micro-zooplankton eat nearly 50-60% of the phytoplankton, which they are fertilizing at the same time. This relationship is fundamental to a healthy oceanic ecosystem; you could even say these micro-zooplankton help sustain the growth if phytoplankton in the ocean.

After the 24 hour incubation, samples are taken for further study back at the lab. One specimen they often see is a heterotrophic dinoflagellate. This guy has no chlorophyll and wants to eat phytoplankton; it is in other words a micro-zooplankton.

This little gem does not photosynthesize and locomotors by the little hair like tenacles.
This little gem does not photosynthesize and locomotors by the little hair like tenacles.

As I look at the pictures Diane has taken, I am transported to a word that is so small that to tell the difference between plant is animal is very difficult.

Isn't this a great looking microzooplankton, can you see how it moves?
Isn’t this a great looking microzooplankton, can you see how it moves?

Quote of the Day: The great sea has sent me adrift, it moves me, it moves me, as the weed in a great river. Earth and the great weather move me, have carried me away and moved my inward parts with joy. Uvavnuk Eskimo Song

FOR MY STUDENTS: What other areas of study can we focus on while using microscopes?

Jillian Worssam, July 22, 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 22, 2008

I have spent the past twenty days discussing science and life aboard a U.S. Coast Guard Ice Breaker, and do not think I have done justice to the “WHY” I am here, and the “WHAT” this will tell us.A grant was written for an extensive five year study of the Eastern Bering Sea shelf, (BEST)The Bering Ecosystem Study. This program involves the collaboration of many scientists, and multiple agencies that research marine ecosystems.

Can you believe it is only ten o'clock at night?
Can you believe it is only ten o’clock at night?

One component of this cruise which I find extremely fascinating is the link between all the sciences of the scientists. It is as if the HEALY is its own food web. Water samples that the krill grazers use are also vital for people studying oxygen, in turn used by people studying phytoplankton, and again by those studying the benthic region, and again by scientists looking at nutrients. Where each team of scientists has their own particular niche of study, or specialty, all together they are making a collaborative map or picture representing the Bering Ecosystem. This data will be used as a benchmark for future research while adding significantly to the knowledge base provided by decades of previous Bering Sea research. The Earth is changing. For scientists it is important to see how these changes will affect the health and productivity of different ecosystems.

From aloft-con the viewing is endless, especially on such a marvelous day
From aloft-con the viewing is endless, especially on such a marvelous day

Today I spent some time with two scientists on board the HEALY that we have not yet met, one of the ornithologists and the mammalogist. First there is Gary Friedrechsen, he spends his day in “aloft-con,” approximately 25 feet above the ship’s bridge, in a little room with a glorious view of the sea. Gary is looking for right whales and works for the National Marine Fisheries Service, a branch of NOAA, and “right” now is looking for the “rights!” Historically considered the “right” whale to hunt due to the fact that they did not sink when harpooned, these majestic beauties were hunted to the brink of extinction. Gary is on the HEALY hoping to get a glimpse of the remnant northwest population who are believed to number less than one hundred. These whales have not been seen in quite some time with surveys dating from 2005 with no whale sightings.

This fall the northwest marine mammal lab will even hire a crab boat out of Dutch Harbor and dedicate two months to finding this illusive pod. The BEST cruise is very diverse because we will now go down the stairs from “aloft-con” to the bridge and there is Tom van Pelt, marine scientist for BSIERP ( Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program). Tom spends his day recording bird species found in a 300 meter sampling area port side of the center line of the ship. He uses specialized computer software to log all observations; so that once he enters his user input the computer will attach the longitude, latitude, weather data, and seas to each of his sightings. One of the goals in his part of this project is to try and understand where birds and mammals are feeding. Zooplankton, phytoplankton, even ocean currents all directly drive sea bird distribution, so correlating the observed species with all the other scientific data collected during the day really does allow for the development of an excellent ecosystem model.

When the fog rolls in it is hard to spot bird species, when it rolls out, the landscape is glorious.
When the fog rolls in it is hard to spot bird species, when it rolls out, the landscape is glorious.

One of the great components of the BEST/BSIERP study is that time was written into the grant to take the data collected by the various scientific teams and compile the results. Often grants do not have a lot of analysis time, and in this case there will be a synthesis between all the different teams to make a comprehensive document on the current state of the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf.

The time is always close to four in the morning when the back deck comes alive with the dancing of the "euphas-ettes."
The time is always close to four in the morning when the back deck comes alive with the dancing of the “euphas-ettes.”

Hopefully by 2012 this integrated study will provide a model of the Bering Sea from the benthic regions to the surface and above showing the relationships between marine species and ALL ecosystem components that affect and change living conditions.

A little salty, very wiggly, definitely a one time only experience.
A little salty, very wiggly, definitely a one time only experience.

But again, all work and no play, makes Jillian sad…

**Poem of the Day: ** Wild Nights! by Emily Dickinson Wild Nights! Wild Nights! Were I with thee, Wild Nights should be Our luxury! Futile the winds To a heart in port, — Done with the compass, Done with the chart! Rowing in Eden! Ah! the sea! Might I but moor To-night in Thee!

FOR MY STUDENTS: Could we develop an ecosystem study for the area surrounding school to include the pond, and Mars Hill?

Jillian Worssam, July 21, 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 21, 2008

Today is “Meet the crew Monday,” and the two sections you will meet today are both fundamental to the smooth running of the HEALY. One, you never want to visit, the other you visit three to four times a day, so with that introduction meet the “Galley, with Tysin Alley” Due to the great quality of the food I usually make it to the galley at least two and in some instances for three meals a day. I am also up most nights and I do not think a day has gone by when I have NOT seen Tysin cooking. He is always there, baking pies, cleaning, boiling crab legs the man never stops.

Surf and Turf Friday, steak and crab legs. Mouth wateringly good.
Surf and Turf Friday, steak and crab legs. Mouth wateringly good.

When living aboard a floating ice breaker, kilometers from land out for 30 days you need to think of priorities, yes maps and scientific operations are important, but full bellies vital. No one wants to work when they are hungry. And to be honest I think many individuals are gaining weight, especially with four meals a day.

There is no shortage of protein on this vessel. And even after 21 days we still have fresh greens for salads.
There is no shortage of protein on this vessel. And even after 21 days we still have fresh greens for salads.

There is not a time, 24 seven when food is not accessible. Bread and the fixings for sandwiches between meals, always cereal, and in the rare instance when zoning out after midnight a possible taste of something new Tysin has created. And yes, I am one of the few who have gained weight.

The food is hot, fast and readily available, no one goes away hungry.
The food is hot, fast and readily available, no one goes away hungry.

Since we are now satisfied gastronomically, let’s talk about the Medical division, a place where no one really wants to end up, yet, the proficiency I saw today makes me feel very safe should an injury occur.

From fillings to feet and everything in between the training and skills these men have is beyond excellent.
From fillings to feet and everything in between the training and skills these men have is beyond excellent.

Jason and Corey are always on, 24 – seven and constantly available should a medical emergency occur. They work with training teams practicing scenarios involving injuries and offer classes to the crew in topics such as CPR. These responsibilities are not only their duty, but a chosen profession to care for the welfare of everyone on board the HEALY.

Spotlessly clean with numerous testing equipment these men appear to be ready to handle any emergency.
Spotlessly clean with numerous testing equipment these men appear to be ready to handle any emergency.

Both men entered the U.S. Coast Guard when they were young, and in Corey’s case 17. Both men also entered as enlisted personnel and choose to go through “A School” as Health Services Technicians. Corey and Jason are also within the five year mark for retiring, with over 15 years of amazing service to the United States Coast Guard…

While talking with Jason I was amazed to follow his Coast Guard career. Here is a sample: Oregon→Alaska→Hawaii→Texas→Nebraska→New Jersey→Virginia→Bering Sea…

…and all this with the total support, financially, and physically, from the U.S. Coast Guard. Jason was also able to not only become a Physicians assistant, but also received a fellowship to do post graduate work at the Navy hospital in Portsmith, Virginia in orthopedics.

I find the career paths of both men fascinating and an excellent recruiting example for the Coast Guard. Two men with high school degrees and now look at them, pretty darn impressive! I am hoping my students take the hint!

Well they can't work all the time!
Well they can’t work all the time!

Quote of the Day: “The art of medicine is in amusing a patient while nature affects the cure.” -Voltaire

FOR MY STUDENTS: Have you figured out yet how many career paths are available within the U.S. Coast Guard? How about in Science, have you figured out yet how many different types of scientists are aboard?

Jillian Worssam, July 20, 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 20, 2008

It is Sunday, I am relaxing. Alexei and I finished our MOCNESS last night around 4:30 am, I looked at copepods for about 30 minutes then went to bed. Got up this morning ( at 9:30am ) for a tour of the medical center and the two men who run it, they will be the focus of tomorrow’s meet the crew Monday, but for now…I am relaxing. There is not another scientific sampling station for about four hours, so it is time to kick my feet back and relax. Yes, all work and no play will make ANYONE dull!

Burgers, fries, onion rings, ice cream...delicious!
Burgers, fries, onion rings, ice cream…delicious!

Now you might think there is no life on board a four hundred and twenty foot ice breaker, but you would be greatly mistaken. Let’s take yesterday afternoon for our “Moral” dinner. At 4:30 pm the “First Class Petty Officers” made dinner and let me tell you the best burgers and “stuff” I have had in ages. You name the topping it was on the burger.

Greg and his burger of delight, it was a super moral dinner.
Greg and his burger of delight, it was a super moral dinner.

Then at 7:00 pm weekly Saturday bingo began. I bought three cards, won nothing, ate popcorn and had a blast. But wait I am not yet done.

Doesn't look like the Bingo was in BMCM Thomas Wilson's favor.
Doesn’t look like the Bingo was in BMCM Thomas Wilson’s favor.

We still had time before getting on station so of course a midnight game of hacky sac on the flight deck. I watched, it would have been too easy to shoot my “crocs” through the air. And after observing all this physical activity, I settled down to…

MST3 Thomas Kruger as he goes for a kick.
MST3 Thomas Kruger as he goes for a kick.

You guessed it a rousing game of cribbage. I am in the lead right now. We are counting wins and I am up by two. Oh I hope I didn’t just jinx it by boasting of my prowess and considerable luck.

Not that I am at all competitive, I just like to win.
Not that I am at all competitive, I just like to win.

But now it is Sunday, I am relaxed, though a bit tired. Was just up on the aloft-con with Gary looking for whales, and well…Summer time and the living is easy, the spray if flying and the swell is alive. The deck is wet and the walking is slippery, but hush little scientist it is warm inside.

Do you see what I see? Ops Department discussion during the Friday quarters meeting.
Do you see what I see? Ops Department discussion during the Friday quarters meeting.

Quote of the Day: Now I hear the sea sounds about me; the night high tide is rising, swirling with a confused rush of water against the rocks below… -Rachel Carson

FOR MY STUDENTS: Did you have as good a Saturday and Sunday as I have had?

Jillian Worssam, July 19, 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 19, 2008

Numerous times over the past two and half weeks I have mentioned the CTD, small ones attached to moorings, there is one on the MOCNESS, there are even CTD sensors aboard the HEALY, but what does this CTD really tell the scientists?

For every sampling station the CTD needs to be prepared ahead of time so that all the equipment is functioning fully.
For every sampling station the CTD needs to be prepared ahead of time so that all the equipment is functioning fully.

As a review, let’s remember that a CTD records the Conductivity of the water that when adjusted for Temperature gives us salinity. The Depth of each sample is recorded because the ocean is not static; it is constantly moving both vertically and horizontally, and changing as it moves. When you sample with the CTD you can add a variety of accessory sensors to measure other ocean parameters: O2 salinity, temperature, pressure, fluorescence, turbidity and on our specific cruise we are also collecting data in regards to micro-zooplankton, nitrates, iron, and radon.

Each line represents a different element that the CTD is measuring.
Each line represents a different element that the CTD is measuring.

Let’s stop for a moment and talk about ocean currents. There are three ocean currents that affect the ecosystems of the Bering Sea: The Alaska Coastal Current, heavily freshwater, colder runoff that shoots through Unimak Pass; The North Pacific Gyre, warmer(relatively) water that seeps through the entire Aleutian chain, like water through a sieve. And the deep ocean conveyor belt, this one actually comes from the Mediterranean…water that has not seen the surface for a thousand years or more! This dense and cold fluid flows through Kamchatka pass, and has traveled from the north Atlantic through the Pacific to get to the Bering Sea, and is really rich in nutrients. No wonder it takes a thousand years. Anyway here we have all this water filtering into the Bering Sea, and here on the HEALY we have the CTD to give us precise data on the composition of this water.

The scientists all getting their water samples out of the 30 liter bottles.
The scientists all getting their water samples out of the 30 liter bottles.

During the actual cast of the CTD at each recorded station 24 data points are collects each second, giving an excellent representation of each specific water column. It is Scott’s job to run the CTD and let me tell you this is no easy task. The electronic equipment has to be constantly calibrated, the physical instrument array maintained, and all the collected data cataloged and stored for transmission to all the scientists both during and at the end of this cruise. None of this is an easy task. I also find Scott’s role on the vessel fascinating. Scott is an engineer who works for Scripts out of California and is hired on as outside technical support. He is not technically one of the scientific team, not technically part of the U.S. Coast Guard, and the HEALY could not technically collect most of their data with out him!

Hamming it up, Scott shows us the real science behind the CTD.
Hamming it up, Scott shows us the real science behind the CTD.

Quote of the Day: If you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate your children. Chinese Proverb.

FOR MY STUDENTS: What is a pycnocline?

Jillian Worssam, July 18, 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 18, 2008

So there I was feeling really confident on my introductory journal on krill only to realize I really knew nothing at all. Tonight I sat down with Alexei Pinchuk and Rachel Pleuthner, wow, I am so impressed with the depth of their knowledge and expertise. But now I am tasked with trying to open a small window into this vital part of an oceanic food web.You have met Kirby the krill, but we should have called him Sam the spud, for the krill is the potato of this ecosystem. These little guys fuel this bionetwork like there is no tomorrow. But I am getting away from myself. Let’s get back to the krill science going on aboard the HEALY.

Part of Tracy's day is spent in front of a microscope keying out different krill species.
Part of Tracy’s day is spent in front of a microscope keying out different krill species.

The krill team is currently involved with at least three different experiments, and I will try to describe each, but please cut me some slack, this is a field of discovery I am just beginning to learn and as Rachel was explaining I would find myself not writing notes and becoming totally engrossed with the discussion.

This machine is one of five different incubators aboard, fresh sea water is constantly run through so that the temperature stays constant for a krill environment.
This machine is one of five different incubators aboard, fresh sea water is constantly run through so that the temperature stays constant for a krill environment.

Experiment # 1: Krill grazing /aging

We already touched on this aspect of the krill work, looking at the diet of krill over a 24 hour period. But what we didn’t hit on was what is then done with the krill after they have grazed. Tracy will measure and key out the specific species of each animal and then pass the krill off to Rachel…Rachel in turn will remove the eyes. Yes, this delicate operation will give a general idea on the age of the krill. Basically our team will extract from the eyes a substance called lipofusion which can then be used to age the krill.

This machine is able to quantify the lipofusion extracted from the krill.
This machine is able to quantify the lipofusion extracted from the krill.

Did that make sense? Because now Alexei comes into the picture, he is trying to actually raise krill in a controlled setting, providing valuable baseline data on how old a krill is to the day. When lipofusion is removed from wild krill it gives a general idea on aging, but is not completely quantitative, thus the two experiments work together to finding the exact age of a krill.

Experiment #2: Starvation is another component to the work the krill grazers are completing. At the start of the voyage, 14 days ago, approximately 20 krill were placed in filtered sea water. What that means is that the krill salad bar was empty. Then, once a week a sample has been removed to look at the lipids. The type of lipids in a krill will tell the scientists what they had been eating, and how the components are breaking down in their systems.

This is actually a female Krill, how can you tell?
This is actually a female Krill, how can you tell?

A krill can live up to three years, with their specific ecosystem and species as two variables that can affect longevity, but what about the source and timing of food. If the juvenile (nauplii – first stage in krill development) hatch when there is no food and they need food well, you can guess what will happen. There are though some krill who store their lipids all winter so that they pass this nutrient source to their young, really fat babies, who are in turn not as dependant on the first zooplankton bloom.

Ughhhhhhh I really do have a beginning understanding to this krill research, but explaining it has been a challenge. I still have more to share, but need to do a bit more of my own fact finding and research.

There can be up to twelve stages in the life cycles of some krill.
There can be up to twelve stages in the life cycles of some krill.

Photo of the day:

Which of these three items is krill poop?

Quote of the Day: For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea. -E.E. Cummings

FOR MY STUDENTS: Are there any microscopic organisms that might live in our aquatic ecosystems that you think we could study?

There can be up to twelve stages in the life cycles of some krill.
There can be up to twelve stages in the life cycles of some krill.

Jillian Worssam, July 17, 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 17, 2008

To fully understand the today I need to go back two nights. I had been up for over 20 hours and was ready for bed. The educational team and I had been working fiendishly ( love that word) on a power point presentation with fun activities for the students. I was also working on putting together the slides for next Monday’s webinar. Anyway, after dinner, I went to bed. The next I knew my clock said eight thirty, and I had slept 13 hours! Frantically I got up got, dressed, and went to “Aft Con” to check on the retrieval of a floating sediment trap. MST Rich Layman told me that the pick-up would be the next day. I of course disputed his time analysis; it had been 24 hours why weren’t we picking up the trap? Rich of course replied, “We just set the trap this morning, we have to wait 24 hours.” My rebuttal was fun and sassy. There was discussion about a quarter and well to make a long story short. Here it is, I had slept for, you got it, an hour. It was still Tuesday night, I was really confused and a great laugh for many people, including myself. The moral of this story; there really is a purpose for military time!But now it is Thursday, and time to take our traveling science show to St. George. The day did not turn out as we had planned, and with the advent of really thick fog well our adventure was different than what we had planned.

Thus today’s journal will be a photo montage, a sequence of eleven shots highlighting (for me) the pleasure in the day!

"Bridge, do we have permission to launch the small boat?"
“Bridge, do we have permission to launch the small boat?”
As the HEALY fades into the background I really get a good glimpse of how huge she really is.
As the HEALY fades into the background I really get a good glimpse of how huge she really is.
The ride was cloaked in fog, a bit choppy and a blast.
The ride was cloaked in fog, a bit choppy and a blast.
I bet John James Audubon knows who these little beauties are.
I bet John James Audubon knows who these little beauties are.
A brief glimpse at the coast as the surf pounded.
A brief glimpse at the coast as the surf pounded.
BM2 Gaines Huneycutt patiently waits to return us to the ship.
BM2 Gaines Huneycutt patiently waits to return us to the ship.
The small boats are ready to leave while getting last minute advice on the change in weather.
The small boats are ready to leave while getting last minute advice on the change in weather.
The swells at over eight feet provided a wonderfully exciting ride, for most!
The swells at over eight feet provided a wonderfully exciting ride, for most!
Both Tasha and I were loving the ride as we crested each swell.
Both Tasha and I were loving the ride as we crested each swell.
At one point we stopped and listened for the fog horn, a muffled sound to the left.
At one point we stopped and listened for the fog horn, a muffled sound to the left.

Today’s quote is from one of my most favorite individuals, and has summed up the day gloriously!

Quote of the Day: The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences. -Eleanor Roosevelt

MY STUDENTS: DO you have a hero, someone you look up to as a role model?

From beginning to end an amazing day.
From beginning to end an amazing day.

Jillian Worssam, July 16, 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 16, 2008

Today I would like you to meet Kirby Krill, well not really Kirby, it could be Kathy. Whatever the gender “The Krill Grazers” are interested!

(From left) Tracy Shaw, Karen Taylor, Rachel Pleuthner, Megan Bernhardt and Gigi (Virginia) Engel
(From left) Tracy Shaw, Karen Taylor, Rachel Pleuthner, Megan Bernhardt and Gigi (Virginia) Engel

These five women work nights, waiting until dark to collect their samples.  They only need one sampling station an evening where they send down the “bongo net” and retrieve their live critters.  What the “Krill Grazers” are interested in is: What krill eat, and if their food choice changes seasonally.  They also want to know: if the krill are given a choice, what would they choose to eat.  This is similar to a salad bar mentality, give the krill everything, and see what food they prefer, thus the need for a live experiment.

This krill has a parasite attached, can you find the parasite?
This krill has a parasite attached, can you find the parasite?

For the first part of our experiment, enter Tracy. She is after the live samples and will choose 4 – 8 krill, depending on size.  She will then place the krill in a four liter plastic container with fresh sea water and observe them for 24 hours.  Prior to placing the krill in the container, Megan and Gigi will take a sample of the sea water, and at the end of the 24 hours will take another sample of the same water from the krill containers.  They put the water through a filtering process and preserve the flora and fauna. Megan’s job then continues back at the lab in Washington.  That is when she will count and identify both pre and post samples to determine what the krill are eating.  In the mean time, while still on the ship, at the end of the experiment, Tracy will remove the krill from their incubator, measure them, and figure out what species they are.  This information will be important later when looking at the results of the experiments in order to understand whether larger krill are eating more or different types of food than smaller krill.

When you work all night it is important to have a sense of humor.
When you work all night it is important to have a sense of humor.

The sea water is collected with a CTD so the scientists can exactly match the depth from their live tow on the bongo and the CTD.  So why are five women from three different states (Oregon, Washington and Maryland) working collaboratively on krill?  Krill are a food source for many other species: fish, birds, baleen whales, and many other animals eat krill to live.  Even the seals that eat fish need krill, for the fish have eaten krill.  An oceanic food web is not complete without our little zooplankton buddies.

This BONGO is set up so that the samples are not crushed, thus live krill.
This BONGO is set up so that the samples are not crushed, thus live krill.

There is a lot more science to the grazing of krill, I haven’t even touched on what Rachel does and it involves the removal of the krill’s eyes.  So check in tomorrow for “Grazing with krill.”   

Gigi wondering if the krill soup is finished. Just kidding!
Gigi wondering if the krill soup is finished. Just kidding!

Quote of the Day: One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  William Shakespeare

FOR MY STUDENTS: What is an example of a microscopic plant or animal that might live in an Arizona aquatic ecosystem?

Jillian Worssam, July 15, 2008

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

Ron Heinz
Ron Heinz

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 15, 2008

For the past thirteen days I have predominantly been working with the MOCNESS team. These scientists have opened their nets to me, and I have entered a world of plankton, juvenile fish, copepods, jelly fish, crab larva, and even juvenile squid.  There is though one member of our team who I have been remiss in mentioning, meet Ron! Ron Heinz is the head of the nutritional ecology lab for AFSC (Alaska Fisheries Science Center) in Juneau, Alaska. And well Ron collects samples of species and literally blows them up!  Yes you heard me, he combusts his samples.

Ron has a quest, he wants to know how much energy is stored in a fish and how it is partitioned, specifically in either fat or protein.  Basically juvenile fish want protein to help them grow muscle to avoid predators, they also want to store fat for the winter when there is nothing to eat.

The underlying question in Ron’s research is:  what happens to juvenile fish as the climate warms and there is a “mis-hatch” between when the food is available and the fish, hatch.   Ron’s current project is collecting fish, identifying the species, and saving samples for the lab in Juneau.  He will freeze his samples for transport, and then the fun begins again.

The MOCNESS is deployed ready to catch juvenile fish, and other micro critters.
The MOCNESS is deployed ready to catch juvenile fish, and other micro critters.

To extract fat from juvenile fish the process is simple: -Grind up the sample. -Add solvents to the sample to dissolve the fat. (the fat is trapped in suspension with the solvent) -Filter the sample to remove all other “stuff.” -Evaporate the solvent and weigh the left over and voila, you have fat.

Ron and Elizabeth are working together in identifying these juvenile fish; it is not an east task.
Ron and Elizabeth are working together in identifying these juvenile fish; it is not an east task.

To extract protein we now need the other “stuff.”    Nitrogen is found in protein, so simply put, burn the fish sample, remove the CO2 and you have Nitrogen.  Multiply by 6.25 and voila, you have the amount of protein.  To do this he… drum roll please, combusts the sample,  torches it, and poof.  Since there is not a lot of existing data on larval fish Ron is a forerunner in his field.

Ron is ready to collect a sample from this cod-end from on of the MOCNESS nets.
Ron is ready to collect a sample from this cod-end from on of the MOCNESS nets.

Basically Ron is developing nutritional labels for marine species.  He finds out what the different species are made of and in turn can then figure out what would be considered a healthy ecosystem for that specific species.  Right now the target species in his research are pollock, pacific cod, and arrow tooth flounder.  Ron has also made nutritional  labels for other species including a five foot sleeper shark.    In a nutshell his “nutritional labels” tell of metabolic demand, and how who eats whom when and why is so important.

I think I have been up for a day, really bad hair but over 120 fish at this sampling station.
I think I have been up for a day, really bad hair but over 120 fish at this sampling station.

Right now the pollock we are collecting have approximately less than 1% body fat, in the fall it is hoped that they will have 3- 4% body fat so as to survive the winter.  The diet of pollock is predominantly micro-zooplankton.  And for those of you who do not know pollock, every time you eat a fish stick, you are eating pollock! So there you have it “Ron’s World.”  It might be a small and microscopic world but in marine ecology it is very important!

Can you find the pollock, the lumpsucker, and the copepods?
Can you find the pollock, the lumpsucker, and the copepods?

 

Quote of the Day: The Earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone – and to no one.  -Edward Abby

FOR MY STUDENTS: Can you find a quote about nature that inspires you?

Seven to Eight fin whales sighted off the port bow, close enough to hear and see.
Seven to Eight fin whales sighted off the port bow, close enough to hear and see.

Jillian Worssam, July 14, 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 14, 2008

Prior to sailing on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY I had no idea what it took to run such a huge floating, moving, science sampling community. Everyone that works aboard appears to be constantly busy not only with their formally assigned duties, but also with collateral duties, so that each one of the 15 separate divisions is constantly hopping. This was the case yesterday for the deck division, the largest aboard the HEALY with 17 crew members.

The deck department working with the scientists to retrieve an optical array.
The deck department working with the scientists to retrieve an optical array.

The ship was working with scientists to retrieve an optical array, thus the need for small boats and the deck crew. It was through the guidance of Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kidd that not only were two boats launched with appropriate crew, but that they had the equipment necessary to try and accomplish their task.

Always prepared Chief Kidd always keeps a sharp lookout while operations are underway.
Always prepared Chief Kidd always keeps a sharp lookout while operations are underway.

Chief Kidd is a career military man who started as a combat photo journalist. It was while I was listening to his account of the past that I learned even more about the history of the Coast Guard and how technology has really changed their world. Chief Kidd used to be a quartermaster, a traditional navigator aboard a sailing vessel. For twelve years he worked on the bridge of ships using tools such as a compass and sextant to plot and record courses. Then came the GPS. Thus the Chief’s “Legacy skills” became obsolete. Now he runs the deck division, responsible for: Having his crew stand bridge watches. Providing bridge lookouts. All small boat operations. Crane operations (not related to science). Armed bear watch when working in the ice. Rescue swimmer when scientists are on the ice. Line tending/deck work…the list is endless.

Working for Chief Kidd is enlisted crew Chelsey Rheyann Kaleoalohalanimalamalama Fernandez. Chelsey works on the Bridge for four hours a day, her primary duty is to record all ship operations while the HEALY is underway. The rest of her time is spent in, of course, collateral duties: maintaining and checking all float coats, checking the weapons locker, checking immersion suits, regular PMS (Preventative Maintenance Systems) checks of small boats and again the list is endless.

Working on the Bridge using the computer to record all ships operations during her four hour watch.
Working on the Bridge using the computer to record all ships operations during her watch.

Chelsey is new to the U.S. Coast Guard and will have her three year anniversary this winter when she hopes to get accepted into “A School,” to start her training to become a Health Services Technician/Corpsman. There are many opportunities for enlisted personnel within the Coast Guard, and this one will be Chelsey’s path.

The deck department retrieving a mooring.
The deck department retrieving a mooring.

 

Quote of the Day: The survival of the human species is inescapably linked with the survival of all other forms of life. Michael Frome

**FOR MY STUDENTS: **How many different careers do you think there are within the U.S. Coast Guard?

Everyone works hard on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY!
Everyone works hard on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY!

Jillian Worssam, July 13, 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 12, 2008

Science Log

First there is the disclaimer, then the alarm rings indicating a general emergency.  The Crew jumps to action and the science personnel report to their designated standby stations.

I was very lucky when DCC (Damage Control Chief) George Marsden said that I could observe today’s training.   Three teams were involved in this specific drill: Medical, Damage Control and Engineering with approximately 10 people per team observing the actions of the crew as they responded to the reported emergency scenario.

It is very important to prepare for any drill scenario, and make sure it doesn't turn into an actual casualty.
It is very important to prepare for any drill scenario, and make sure it doesn’t turn into an actual casualty.

Our situation is a fire in the number two boiler room with a collateral injury, a crew member with a broken arm.  Prior to the drill all training personnel met to discuss the risk assessment and make sure all safeties were in place so that an actual casualty would not occur.    The crew knows that a drill is impending, they just don’t know the specific details of this drill.  The DCC and I first traveled to the CO2 room to discuss the situation with Chief Kidd who was responsible for simulating the release of the CO2 into the Boiler room compartment.

Making sure that the release of the CO2 system is only a simulation.
Making sure that the release of the CO2 system is only a simulation.

The set up prior to the drill was that a hot work chit (notice) was placed in the engineering control center that hot work was being done in Boiler Room two.  This notice set the stage for DCC Marsden who then began to set up his props for the drill, a smoke machine, identifying flags and a strobe light.  All vital components in alerting the crew as to exactly what casualty they were responding to.

Finally the black smoke flag was placed in front of a shipboard closed circuit camera system and we were off.  Bells and whistles, crew doing exactly as they were trained and I an active observer with a  camera!

Just one of the props used in training scenarios. This flag indicates black smoke.
Just one of the props used in training scenarios. This flag indicates black smoke.

Here are the steps to extinguishing a fire in number two boiler room.   Shut off ventilation TOW first responder CO2 released Investigators set up for fire suppression team.

Similar to an initial response team, specialists work to ensure safety
Similar to an initial response team, specialists work to ensure safety

Simultaneously on the vessel, boundary compartments are checked, water tight doors closed and ALL personnel are accounted for. Once the CO2 has been activated the fire suppression team waited fifteen minutes before entering the space, and checked the door for heat.  AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) was also discharged .

Once the all clear was issued for entering the space in went the fire suppression team, with DCC Marsden and me right on their heals.  I was amazed at how effective the smoke machine was, there was literally no visibility.  DC2 Petty Officer Redd had a thermal imaging camera which was used as soon as they entered the space.

Using the thermal imaging camera helps the crew members know more about the intensity of the fire.
Using the thermal imaging camera helps the crew members know more about the intensity of the fire.

Had this been an actual fire it would have taken the crew up to a day and a half to clear the space as safe.  And I was fascinated to learn that in an enclosed space at around 1800° degrees a fire can actually do structural damage, which  to me is terrifying.  And so I say again, thank goodness the crew is trained and maintains these types of training drills so that if a casualty similar to this did occur, we would no doubt be in good hands!

I would say that the smoke machine was pretty effective.
I would say that the smoke machine was pretty effective.

**Photo of the Day:*

Thermal imaging!

Quote of the Day: Man is whole when he is in tune with the winds, the stars, and the hills…Being in tune with the universe is the entire secret. -Justice William O. Douglas

FOR MY STUDENTS: Have you ever thought of a career in the U.S. Coast Guard?

Jillian Worssam, July 12, 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 12, 2008

Science Log

Yesterday I watched the deployment of the “Spider C40” a bottom mounted instrument mooring.  Today I will spend some time with Jimmy Johnson as he builds a new mooring, from scratch, right here on the HEALY.

The parts

Jimmy is building a subsurface mooring, but this one is barely subsurface, designed to float about 10 meters below the surface.  But wait a minute, I think I need to back up a bit.  Check out this drawing, the potion of the mooring Jimmy is building is at the tippy top.
BEST N55-08

This is the BEST (Bering Ecosystem STudy) mooring to be deployed on the northwest side of Nunivak Island.

The entire length of this mooring is over 55 meters.  But for our build a mooring experience we are only focusing on the top component of the mooring, which lies at the 10 meter mark.

Jimmy’s mooring has an ISCat, Inductive Sacrificial microCat, phew… This piece of equipment is designed for shallower depths, and works like a CTD, collecting information on the Conductivity of the water, Temperature, and Depth.  This microCat is an inductive device, it uses sea water to complete a circuit (similar to a potato clock) to send the data it collects to the ISCAT logger found 11 meters lower.  So what does all this mean?  If seas get rough, the mooring caught in fishermen’s nets, or the ice gets too thick, Jimmy’s sacrificial mooring has a 600 lb weak link that will snap and sacrifice his creation.  But there is no need to worry, all the data the device already collected has been sent to the logger at the end of the cable, safe from the unpredictable conditions close to surface.  Thanks to this great design scientists are able to sample areas previously un-sampleable do to the conditions I already mentioned.

Voila!

The final product, you can’t see the microcat, it is on the other side.

If you look carefully at the design for this mooring you will see that it includes a:    -Flurometer:  which measures chlorophyll (primary productivity organism) concentrations. -MicroCats (3):  This measures conductivity, temperature and depth. -HOBO sensors:  Temperature sensor to look at the water column and temperature changes. -ADCP:  An Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler sends out a frequency, gets a return signal that has bounced off small animals and or particles that FLOAT/MOVE with the current (not swim) which can give them the speed and direction of the current.

Can you find the microCat?

A scientific work station is a sacred place, there is even a HOBO in here.

Wow, I think my brain is tired, it took a while to understand the concept of the mooring, and then to transcribe was a challenge.  Needless to say these amazing oceanic devices collect valuable data. These records are then used in scientific research papers to better explain and understand the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study, thus BEST!

The nuts and bolts of any operation!

If you need it, Jimmy has it, all the hardware to make a mooring.

**Photo of the Day:*

Waiting to retrieve!

It was a little chilly yesterday as Chief Rieg and MST3 Kruger patiently waited in the cold for the signal to retrieve.

Saying of the Day:  “Rummage Sale” From the original French, Arrimage, a rummage sale historically was when damaged cargo that could not be delivered was sold at cost, or discounted.  As a source of great discounts, the present day rummage sale was originally nautical.  I wonder if Jimmy ever needed a rummage sale while making a mooring aboard a sea going vessel?

FOR MY STUDENTS:  Can you make up a list of the equipment we will need to make our mooring?   I need to add a post script…The deployment of a mooring is not the most thrilling science I have seen on board.  A lot of work, and then, well it is gone.  There is though one part that is a hoot, which I really love.  When the quick release is activated and the 800 lb train wheel plummets to the sea floor, the floats shoot across the surface before they are pulled under.  It is great and reminds me of the movie Jaws!

Jillian Worssam, July 11, 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 11, 2008

Meet Kevin, Jimmy, John and Dave, all ready for mooring action on the Bering Sea!
Meet Kevin, Jimmy, John and Dave, all ready for mooring action on the Bering Sea!

Science Log

They are the men of the back deck, working diligently to prepare and then release their moorings in depth determined locations, where they will settle (literally) for a year.  These unsung heroes are the mooring men!

For the past week I have been observing a lot of scientific research and much has been based on living critters, but there is so much more occurring on the HEALY this summer.  Under the guidance of Tom Weingartner, the mooring men have been working diligently to not only construct, but then release their moorings which will stay here in the Bering, collect data and then be retrieved, next year!

With various forms of sampling equipment the Spider C40
With various forms of sampling equipment the Spider C40

So what then is a mooring, well this specific example is a bottom mounted instrument, or “Spider C40.” You will notice that the “Spider” is chock full of sampling equipment, there is an: acoustic Doppler current profiler, flurometer, Sea Cat, and transmissometer.  Each one of these instruments is designed to collect specific data, which will be saved then interpreted next year.

The “spider” commonly referred to as Helen, is the second of three instruments being placed on what is known as the central ray to the south of Nunivak Island.  There are three ” mooring rays,” central, southern and northern,  and placed on each will be a series of three mooring. At this time Tom is working on a three year NSF grant. What exactly is Tom learning from this data, well check in tomorrow for a more in-depth look at what scientists learn from moorings? I would though like to go into a bit of detail on the deployment of a “spider” to the bottom of the Bering.

This Spider was deployed in 25 meters of water.  Its objective to sit firmly on the bottom.

AS the winch raises the instrument array, the scientists and MST team work in tandem to make sure everyone is safe and the deployment successful.
AS the winch raises the instrument array, the scientists and MST team work in tandem to make sure everyone is safe and the deployment successful.

Not only is this mooring going to the bottom, but it has two acoustic release mechanisms, one to be used in a year to bring the entire mooring back to the surface, and the other to be used, right now.  For a controlled fall, the spider is securely placed on the sea floor by the MST team using a 3/8inch winch wire. Kevin will then send a 12 kilohertz signal telling the second release mechanism to let go.

Kevin is setting up the electronics equipment necessary to release the mooring after placement on the sea floor.
Kevin is setting up the electronics equipment necessary to release the mooring after placement on the sea floor.

Once the signal is sent to the acoustic release, the line to the ship is let loose, and then a GPS bearing taken so that in a year the scientists will be able to retrieve the mooring and all the wonderful data it has collected.

Check in tomorrow for a continuation with the mooring men and the science behind why they are setting these moorings, and what they will do with the data.  We will also look at the actual construction of a mooring onboard.

Using the GPS to get an accurate location so that the team can come back for a pinpoint retrieval.
Using the GPS to get an accurate location so that the team can come back for a pinpoint retrieval.

Quote of the Day:  What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and looses itself in the sunset. -Crowfoot

FOR MY STUDENTS:  Do you think we could construct a simple mooring to record data from the pond?

Those mooring men are working him to exhaustion! Thank goodness for the excellent food on board!
Those mooring men are working him to exhaustion! Thank goodness for the excellent food on board!

Jillian Worssam, July 5, 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 5, 2008

02becce
A pre-drill brief, to discuss props, expectations and safety issues that the trainers might see. If a real casualty happens during a drill, the ETT would let the individuals who are training take control unless there were difficulties in responding to the casualty. Remember a casualty in this respect does not infer human.

At dinner last night I was invited to meet BECCE, and after a moments confusion I realized I had not been invited to meet a person, but to observe a readiness drill.  BECCE stands for Basic Engineering Casualty Control Exercise and I was on my way to watch as the experienced crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY maintains their skills, and passes that knowledge on to new cadets (students from the CG Academy in New London, CT who are here for a month during their summer break) and enlisted personnel. There is an expression in the engineering department, “Slow it down or shut it down,” and that is what BECCE is all about.  Once a crew member on watch finds a problem it is their responsibility to report it to engineering and then take appropriate action, thus BECCE a drill.

The steps to take when there is a problem or alarm in Engineering are simple: investigate the alarm, take initial action to control the casualty, stabilize the plant and report status to the bridge.
Jet fuel has ruptured, pipe spraying leak...the circle indicates people have started to work on the leak. This Brian Liebrecht part of the ETT
Jet fuel has ruptured, pipe spraying leak…the circle indicates people have started to work on the leak. This Brian Liebrecht part of the ETT

This procedure might sound simple, but if 250 gallons of lube oil is rushing from a punctured pipe individuals can easily get flustered.  That is why BECCEs are such a great idea!  Drill, practice and make sure all personnel are prepared for the advent of anything, and you then have a smoother running vessel.

On a side note, as I learn more about the roles and responsibilities aboard a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel I am constantly stumped by acronyms.  The EOW is in charge of the “plant” during this drill and is being evaluated on his responses to the various “casualties”.

LCDR Petrusa (The officer in charge of all engineering on the ship) is observing and watching protocol, with the results of this drill falling on his shoulders.  Simultaneously MKC Brogan evaluates the EOWs during their drill sets.  How about CWO3 Lyons who is in charge of all machinery technicians, both main propulsion and auxiliary divisions? Do you see what I mean, lots of acronyms, and it gets confusing.   Everyone has collateral duties, and don’t even think you can figure out what an OSG is????  I also learned that there are nicknames as well, you could be a twidget (electronics technicians), or a snipe (who are mechanics), sparky (electricians), all of which are vital positions on the boat.  There is a lot of humor as well with the use of slang, for instance I wonder if anyone knows the difference between a Clean EM and a Dirty EM?
This is a fuel oil leak that has not been engaged...the team is discussing the situation.
This is a fuel oil leak that has not been engaged…the team is discussing the situation.

Expression of the Day: “A Clean Slate” Before we had the technology of the 21st century, and there were no onboard computers, or GPS, vital information such as course and distance were written on slates.  At the end of each watch this information was copied into the ship’s log.  The slate was then…”wiped clean.”

Chief Machinery technician Doug Lambert is addressing the casualty during his BECCE drill, while Chief Machinery Technician John O'Brogan observes and evaluates, as a member of EET team.
Chief Machinery technician Doug Lambert is addressing the casualty during his BECCE drill, while Chief Machinery Technician John O’Brogan observes and evaluates, as a member of EET team.

FOR MY STUDENTS: Can you think of any other nautical expressions we now use in everyday language?

LCDR Petrusa as EO overseas operation of the BECCE exercises. On the computer you see a representation of main diesel generator set number one. Along with all live telemetry (pressure, temp, and speed) represented so that the EOW can at any time see what is going on with the engines.
LCDR Petrusa as EO overseas operation of the BECCE exercises. On the computer you see a representation of main diesel generator set number one. Along with all live telemetry represented so that the EOW can at any time see what is going on with the engines.
Recent academy graduate Lisa Myatt is the newest member of the engineering team. A rarity as a female engineer, Lisa probably represents the less than 10% of the HEALY crew as a woman in the engineering department.
Recent academy graduate Lisa Myatt is the newest member of the engineering team. A rarity as a female engineer, Lisa probably represents the less than 10% of the HEALY crew as a woman in the engineering department.
Petty Officer Hans proof-reads this journal entry to make sure that the information I have given on engineering is correct.
Petty Officer Hans proof-reads this journal entry to make sure that the information I have given on engineering is correct.

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?

Jillian Worssam, July 3, 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 3, 2008

Science Log

We are underway, a tug helped our vessel move away from the dock and we are now heading towards station number one.

Local tug used to get the Healy from the dock.
Local tug used to get the Healy from the dock.

Before we get to our first sampling point, which will be a CTD deployment and Mocness, I would like to give you a little background on some of the science that will be accomplished over the next 30 days.  At first I was told there would be approximately seven concurrent scientific data sampling experiments being conducted, well that estimate is off by a bit,  The scientists on board are studying:

Physical Oceanography and water circulation Hydrography Carbon productivity Nitrogen uptake and cycling Particle flux Iron Analysis Euphausiid and microzooplankton Euphausiid rate measurements Organic tracers and trophic transfer Ichthyoplankton Microzooplankton grazing Benthic biogeochemical fluxes Bird distribution and abundance Marine mammal observation: right whale observer Bio-optical and phyto plankton variations Water column bio-optics and phytoplankton  characteristics.

Alexie and team working on deployment of the Mocness.
Alexie and team working on deployment of the Mocness.

Phew, I am out of breath, and to be honest hope to by the end of the cruise to know more about each and every one of these scientific studies, how to pronounce their names, and explain their importance to this amazing ecosystem called the Bering Sea!

Stop in tomorrow to learn more about quantitative zooplankton studies with Alexei Pinchuk.  We will use the Mocness collect samples and well, I can’t tell it all today, there needs to be some surprises for tomorrow.

Here is today's photo challenge, what is this item, and what do you think it is used for?
Here is today’s photo challenge, what is this item, and what do you think it is used for?

Quote of the Day: On the path that leads to nowhere I have sometimes found my soul.  Corrine Roosevelt Robins

FOR MY STUDENTS: How long do you think you can go without sleep and still function effectively?

Jillian Worssam, July 2, 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 2, 2008

Science Log

I am not sure if today is the first day, or yesterday, or was it last March when I had my PolarTREC training, but either way a new component of my Bering Sea Research started today.  I have met the boat; she is a grad old dame, with an amazing crew, and now 49 new scientists completing about seven different Bering Sea experiments.

This is the Healy, my home for the next 30 days, and so large I can not get the entire vessel into the picture.
This is the Healy, my home for the next 30 days, and so large I can not get the entire vessel into the picture.

We have not had our briefing, tomorrow 10:00, and all the parties will meet and greet.  For today though I explored the ship over 400 feet of floating science, and assisted those scientists who could use my untrained skills.

This is Chris Moser, we have set up the multi-corer and it is ready to take a bite of Bering Sea Shelf Sediment.
This is Chris Moser, we have set up the multi-corer and it is ready to take a bite of Bering Sea Shelf Sediment.

Chris Moser is one of those scientists, and gratefully put me to work on the multi-corer a sediment sampler.  I was fascinated and for over an hour plagued him with question after question.  I know a lot more now, and can’t wait to work with the \team in collecting not only the sediment samples but then seeing what information they collect and how this information is used.

Here is today's photo challenge, what is this item, and what do you think it is used for?
Here is today’s photo challenge, what is this item, and what do you think it is used for?

Quote of the Day:  If you understand,  things are just as they are:  if you do not nderstand, things are just as they are.    {Zen Verse}

FOR MY STUDENTS:  How much do you think it costs to operate the Healy for one minute of use?

Jillian Worssam, July 1, 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 1, 2008

Science Log

Our plane from Anchorage arrived at 12:30 in the afternoon and it has been a whirlwind ever since.  Robert, one of the scientists, and John, the Armada teacher were on my flight so we rented a car and decided to explore Dutch Harbor and the surrounding countryside.

While checking out hundreds of crab pots we found these amazing net structures and still haven't figures out what they catch.
While checking out hundreds of crab pots we found these amazing net structures and still haven’t figures out what they catch.

Our first objective was to look for the vessels from the Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch, and well we found no boats, but lots of crab pots.  It was then on to this amazing coastal road, wow!  What scenery! We spent over four hours driving around the island and even though it was after eight o’clock at night upon our return, the sun was high in the sky when we spotted what appears to be an arctic fox on the bluff on the side of the road.

While driving around the coast of Unalaska, this is the type of scenery we were fortunate enough to see.
While driving around the coast of Unalaska, this is the type of scenery we saw.

I am at the edge of the Bering Sea, I have been given a gift and today is just the beginning of my adventure, isn’t life grand! As this is my first journal from the field I think it will end with a quote, who knows I might even start a trend.

“Tough the earth, love the earth, honor the earth: her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas: rest your spirit in her solitary places.”     Henry Beston

This could be an arctic fox, and as we watched, it continued to howl in a voice I have never heard before. I still have goosebumps from the sound!
This could be an arctic fox, and as we watched, it continued to howl in a voice I have never heard before. I still have goosebumps from the sound!

FOR MY STUDENTS:  Can you find another author who has quotes honoring the earth?