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Current Sea Conditions
July 14th, 2011
1. Position: Lat:33-32.6N Long:121-10.5W
2. Course: 000 T
3. Speed: 9.1 kts
4. Distance: 114.2 nm
5. Steaming Time: 12 h 36 m
6. Station Time: 11 h 24 m
7. Fuel: 2315 gallons
8. Sky: Overcast, St, Sc 8/8
9. Wind: 330 -T 15 kts
10. Sea: 330 -T 3-5ft
11. Swell: 340 -T 4-6ft
12. Barometer:1018.1 mb
13. Temp: Air: 17.1 c, Sea: 16.1c
14. Equipment Status: Normal
15. Comments: Proceeding north of HARMEX Live Fire Zone.
Another busy day on the good ship R/V Melville. I find it interesting to learn more about the Melville. The R/V stands for: Research Vessel. R/V Melville is a multipurpose research ship that has served oceanographic scientists for more than 30 years. It has sailed hundreds of thousands of miles in almost every ocean, carrying out scientific missions involving geology, geophysics, physical oceanography, marine biology, and chemical oceanography. Melville is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), a graduate division of the University of California, San Diego. The ship, which is 278 feet (85 meters) long, is named after Henry Wallace Melville, a pioneer Arctic explorer and an innovative U.S. Navy engineer who served in the early 1900's. R/V Melville was built in 1969 for SIO by the U.S. Navy as part of a focused plan to improve the academic oceanographic fleet. It is the sister ship of the R/V Knorr of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). R/V Melville was overhauled about 15 years ago and lengthened by about 30 feet to add additional laboratory space, berthing, endurance, and a working area to the fantail for large-scale oceanographic sampling expeditions. Three 'Z' drives were added to increase maneuverability and station-keeping ability. A multibeam echo sounding system was also installed to gather high-resolution bathymetry data. Melville carries a crew of 23 people and 38 scientists and has an endurance of about 60 days at sea. It normally cruises at a speed of 12 knots. Our captain for this cruise is Dave Murline and our chief engineer is Paul Buerens. Certainly, without a highly experienced and superbly trained crew science would not be so successful. A crew member does wash sheets and towels, but you have to make your own bed and clean your own room ( Well, we are adults and this is not a carnival cruise!) It is nice that all the chores are shared. We will be up all night tonight taking samples from 7:30pm until about 7am. We will do 10 Bongo net tows, CTD and trace metal casts and tomorrow we will be doing Seasoar surveys again.Life onboard is busy, but pleasant. The pictures I am sending today are the galley/dining area and our cups/glasses rack. To reduce some of the work for the cooks , who not only provide us with a delicious three meals a day (no one loses weight on a cruise….). We are all assigned a coffee cup and glass. They have our bunk numbers on it and we are responsible for washing them and keeping track of them. The dishes are washed by hand on the ship, so anything we do helps. We have a ships laundry where we have access to washing machines and dryers to wash our clothes.
We are enjoying sunny weather, and very busy with sampling. We are well into Cycle 2 sampling and everybody sleeps when they can…sometimes where they can. A few minutes in a chair helps get you through. We caught another vampire squid today in the Oozeki trawl, it was “cute” (I really like cephalopods, so it was cute.) Sadly, they are never alive when we get them. Also in the plankton tow Cat separated out a very small larval squid. It’s adorable only about 3cm long. The copepods are bigger than it. I got some nice pictures of it with I am also including a picture of the ship track. The grid type pattern is the Seasoar data when we surveyed. Then the little back and forth pattern on the bottom is us sampling along the "front". I'd like to describe what a "front" is where two different water masses meet, and the gradient along a front is the gradual change between the two different masses. This is very similar to warm and cold air masses that meet and create lots of weather events (think storms!!!). We also got some more dragon fish last night, they are being preserved and sent to Dr. Jeff Drazen at University of Hawaii, he is an ichthyologist in their Marine Bio Dept.the microscope adaptor on my camera. We couldn’t put anything in the petri dish to show size, but the side of the petri can be seen in the photo. They don’t need it for their sample, so we release it back into the wild. We are sure it will tell horrible stories to its future offspring of how it was “abducted by aliens, the lights were horrible, they poked at me”. I am sure we will be the stuff of Squid Horror Movies.
We are in Cycle 2 of sampling. I helped deploy the Bongo plankton nets and the MOCNESS Plankton sampler during the day and at night. We took microand meso zooplankton samples and then preserved them for analysis later in the lab. Between MOCNESS and Bongo tows, there were CTD, Trace metals samples, and Oozeki tows. The Oozeki tows are for meso nekton (fish and larger animals than plankton) They also did several day and night tows. The animals migrate vertically in the water column, most coming up to feed at night and then going back down below the visible light level to hide during the day. So they want to sample twice a day to get a better idea of the biomass in each strata. Last night we got some interesting little guys in the MOCNESS and the Oozeki. The Oozeki caught a viperfish, a black dragon fish and a vampire squid. (Vampirotuethis infernalis). Everyone was excited and went out to check the little critters. The dragon fish was about 20cm long, with big, translucent fangs. The viper fish was also small, but looked really scary! The squid was about the size of a baseball and very strange looking. The ones from the Oozeki were already dead when we brought them up. The MOCNESS caught a few fish as well tonight, another dragon fish and a smaller fish. They were both alive and we kept them in containers for awhile. They will all go back for identification and study to Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). It was a wet busy night. We are going to move to another area tomorrow to start the sampling cycle all over. Everyone is working hard, some getting more sleep than others, depending on when sampling happens. Sometimes you get a few hours of sleep then its time to get up and do another sample. The Oozeki went out last night at about 1am and got in at 3am. We put the MOCNESS in at 11pm and were done with processing by about 1:30am. But as tired as we all are, everyone was happy to run over with cameras to look at the strange fish and squid they brought up, from undergrads to postdocs, its still exciting.
The weather report says cloudy, but we had sun off and on all day. Still a little bouncy out here from time to time, but not too bad. It was a busy day and a long night for me , we had lots of Bongo tows ( live plankton) and a MOCNESS tow as well. Then I also helped with the prep and preservation of samples. We finished the MOCNESS tow last night at 2am. Some of the samples, probably a large majority are preserved for later study and identification. Here is a description of what 'Cat' is doing with some of the live Copepods (think plankton from Spongebob) in an experiment onboard. Title: Egg production of copepods (Calanus pacificus and Eucalanus californicus) Process: • Live samples taken from each side of the front in the vertical chlorophyll maximum layer • Females separated into petri dishes with a little bit of seawater • Females differ from males with two , small, opaque spots on their urosome, these are seminal receptacles where the males attach spermatophores. They shed their eggs past the seminal receptacles to fertilize them as they are released. The species 'Cat' is studying are broadcast spawners, meaning they release their eggs freely into the water. • Some species of copepods, like crabs (crustaceans), will keep their fertilized eggs on their bodies. • These were chosen as broadcast shedders because they are among the most abundant species of copepods and are a likely responder to food gradients associated with fronts. • The females will be incubated for a day in the incubator. • The eggs are left in the incubator for an additional 1.5 days to determine how many hatch successfully. Egg production is a surrogate for copepod secondary production and represents one measure of the zooplankton response to food availability in ocean regions of strong spatial gradients.
MOCNESS and Oozeki tows. The MOCNESS is a large plankton tow net that collects at several different levels. The Oozeki is a large trawl net that collects larger specimens, krill, fish and squid at greater depths. This collection they decided to collect from beneath the O2 limited depth, several hundred meters below the surface. They get creatures like hatchet fish, lantern fish, deep water krill. We did an Oozeki at night and during the day. Weather is still cloudy today , and we are moving to a new sampling site.Happiness is being able to find an empty washing machine in the laundry room when you want one!! Yes, it’s the little things that count! On the ship you clean your own room, make your own bed and do your own laundry…..kind of like home. But they cook and do dishes and the food is amazing!!! Today, we did several CTD casts, Trace metal casts,