Ruth Meadows, June 13, 2009

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

Mission: Census of Marine Life (MAR-Eco)
Geographical Area: Mid- Atlantic Ridge; Charlie- Gibbs Fracture Zone
Date: June 13, 2009

Weather Data from the Bridge 
Temperature 11.1o C
Humidity 96%
Wind 12.99 kts

Here we are during a safety drill donning our survival suits.

Here we are during a safety drill donning our survival suits.

Science and Technology 

We have just left the continental shelf off the coast of North America.  The depth of the water changed quite dramatically, from around 89 meters in depth to over 1600 meters in only a few minutes of time.  The current depth of the ocean is now 2600 meters.

Every week, a safety drill is held to make sure everyone knows how to protect themselves and others during an emergency.  Today was a fire drill and an abandon ship drill. Everyone was required to take their survival suits and life preserver to their assigned life boat positions.  Then we had to put on our suits to make sure we knew how in case of an emergency.  The survival suits are necessary because we are in the North Atlantic where the water temperature is currently 13o C. .

Personal Log 

meadows_log2aAs we travel to our location, we have a lot of free time to visit and get to know our fellow participants. Several of the people on board are students that are currently working on their PhD from various universities in the United States and abroad.  Most of the scientists have been on many cruises similar to this one to learn as much as they can about their specialty.   The weather has been really foggy both days so it has been difficult to see anything from a distance. This morning we had some common dolphins that were in the front of the boat.  After a few minutes, more dolphins joined them from both side of the boat. They traveled with us for about 15 minutes and then went on their way. I’m standing on the top deck of the ship. 

Did You Know? 

NOAA has a web page with information especially for students?  Learn more here. There are activities for elementary and middle/high school students.  Try one while you on summer vacation!!

Ruth Meadows, June 12, 2009

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

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

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

The Henry B. Bigelow

The Henry B. Bigelow

Science and Technology Log 

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

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

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

Personal Log 

My cabin on the Bigelow

My cabin on the Bigelow

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

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

Did You Know? 

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