17 Aug 2012

CCE LTER Cruise: Day 21,Twinkle little Scat

Posted by dlebental

Written by Dana Lebental, Teacher at Sea

August 17- Day 21

 

Dr. Mike Stukel is studying how carbon and nutrients such as nitrogen, flow through the food chain. By looking at the amount of carbon, which is found in the scat (poop/fecal matter) of zooplankton or other sinking material, he can determine the amount of matter flowing through the ecosystem.

To gather his samples, he lowers vials filled with salt water that is more dense (heavier) than the salt water in the ocean into the deep . These vials sit in the ocean at different depths, so anything that floats down the water column will float into the vial. It’s kind of like a floating poop scoop!

When he lifts the vials back to the surface, he then filters out any zooplankton that might have swam into the trap so he can look at all of the marine snow that was collected. Marine snow is what scientists commonly call all the scat and other materials, such as phytoplankton, that fall through the water column. It can look like snow falling through the ocean.

Talk about Dirty Jobs, Dr, Stukel is truly up to his eyes in ocean “dirt, dust and scat” everyday.

Vials for Sediment Traps

Sediment Traps

Closeup Vials

Closeup of Vials in Trap

Sediment Trap Setup

Dr. Stukel and Dr. Landry Sediment Trap Setup

Sediment Trap Lowered into Water

Sediment Trap Lowered into Water

 

Sprinkle, Twinkle little Scat,

zooplankton produces that.

Down below the ocean so deep,

like a spec of dirt we care to keep.

Sprinkle, Twinkle little Scat,

zooplankton produces that.

 

Through the ocean, down they go,

slowing sinking, marine snow.

In the Vials on our Trap,

some people might call it Scat.

 

Dr. Stukel studies scat, and the nutrients that flow through that,

Sprinkle, Twinkle little Scat,  zooplankton produces that.

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One Response to “CCE LTER Cruise: Day 21,Twinkle little Scat”

  1. [...] to the surface, Alexis spends a lot of time in front of the computer sorting all of the images from marine snow to copepods. By doing this, we can calculate how many copepods are found in this [...]