August 30, 2012 First station
It's safe to say that the weather conditions weren't ideal for our first full biological station. A cold rain/sleet prevailed for the entire 9 hours that people were on deck. In addition, it was in the dark, and it was the first station, the one where all the kinks get worked out. Fortunately, Arctic scientists are accustomed not only to tough weather but also to working in tight conditions with lots of other people. A full biological station incudes a CTD cast, zooplankton collection, benthic work (mud grabs and cores) as well as trawls for bottom dwelling organisms) and fish trawls. We completed our on deck work around 2:45 AM and Monica and I turned in. Jackie was, of course, still up. On my way to our lab this morning at 9AM I saw the members of the fish team who were still sorting samples from the trawl. They hadn't gotten any sleep at all.
Throughout the trip the hydrographic team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will deploy the CTD bottle rosette at each station in order to collect the core set of physical measurements for all of the science teams. These measurements include temperature, conductivity (which gives them salinity of the water), depth, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence, and CDOM (colored dissolved organic matter - an indication of decaying marine and terrestrial plant material). The rosette itself currently consists of 21 bottles that are deployed from the stern and sent as near to the bottom as possible. On the way up, the bottles trigger and close at different depths to capture water. The CTD instrument is actually on the bottom of the rosette, along with an altimeter that tells them how far the instrument is from the bottom. It´s a tricky job to send the CTD to the bottom because the boat is moving up and down, and the last thing the team wants is to have the CTD ram the bottom. Two other instruments on the cluster are an ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) to measure the velocity of the current, and a Video Plankton Recorder to keep a video record of the plankton passing by as the CTD descends and rises. The CTD team consists of Marshall Swartz, Jeff Pietro, Susan Knowles, all from WHOI as well as Masha Maria Pisareva from Russia.