Today was a perfect weather day. The winds were light and the sky was clear. Visibility seemed unlimited. We spent a lot of the day processing a mega core and a JPC. They collect sediment samples that are used to look for the remains of diatoms and forams, among other things. The diatoms produce a glasslike shell that can be dated. The forams (foraminifera) are primitive zooplankton. Both specimens provide a wealth of physical data as to past glacial activity. It takes all day to do the work but the data will be very useful. We have gathered and processed a significant amount of specimens. The marine geologists are happy with what has been found.

The Yo Yo Camera

Deploying the yo yo camera off the back deck.
Deploying the yo yo camera off the back deck.

Can you see the octopus on the right?
Can you see the octopus on the right? The picture was taken from the underwater camera called a yo yo cam.

I have spoken about many of the pieces of equipment that all the scientists have been using. As we are only a few days from packing up and heading home, many have been put away. One of these is the Yo Yo camera. The name comes from its up and down motion as it travels deep into the sea. It is equipped with a remote controlled motor and lights. The yo yo as it is called on board provides a fish eyes view of the ocean floor.

If you have been following the journal (blog) entries each day you have probably realized that we spend a lot of time working the sea floor. It is because it holds so much information. Kind of like reading the rings on a tree to determine its age, we use these sediments much in the same way. It is important to have past history to compare what is happening now.

Here you can see a sponge (porifera). Can you make out the fish hiding inside it
Here you can see a sponge (porifera). Can you make out the fish hiding inside it?

Using the yo yo allows the scientists to do a kind of reconnaissance of the bottom. I thought you might like to see a few creatures that inhabit the deep waters of the Southern Ocean. I find it so amazing how incredibly tough and well adapted these species must be.

A single boulder teaming with sponges, bryozoan and brittle stars
A single boulder teaming with sponges, bryozoan and brittle stars

It is hard for me to fathom (no pun intended) what it must be like to survive in total darkness under such pressure. We have a few biologists on board who specialize in Antarctic wildlife. It is nice to see how they become so excited even after years of experience. I guess it only goes to show how unique this region is. We are winding down quickly. Tomorrow we will be working the edge of the sea ice. We expect to see a lot of animals. I better clean the lenses of my binoculars.

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Weather Summary
Clear, Cold

Comments

Carol Scott

Thanks for the excellent pictures Glenn! About how deep down is the sea floor where they were taken?

Glenn Clark

You are welcome Carol. They were taken from approx. 600-770 meters

Guest

Glen, I'm curious about the people who do this science.....the people who you have introduced us to in your journal entries. As you make your final journey back to Hobart can you let us know how these good people live their lives around their careers. When teaching students in class Social studies teachers often refer to the work that scientists do at the poles and sometimes we can even show images taken during these science expeditions. However, we have no idea on how to describe what these people(scientists, ship pilots, computer technicians, etc.) do in their lives away from work. How many months do they work in Antarctica? Do they all live in that hemisphere? Do they have families? What do they do in their free time? What causes do they feel strongly about? What games do they play? What music do they like? Are these scientists extensive travelers and adventurers? Humans are exploring and still solving the problems (sometimes human made) of our planet. Its nice to give the human side of this science. You have done well on this journey Glen! Carmy