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Winding down!

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(by Emma)
Now that all of our CTD casts have been completed, our team has started working on other tasks, and we’ve made time in our schedule for daily Science Meetings. Hilary has invited other researchers on the ship to discuss some of their scientific research with us during these meetings. This gives us a chance to learn more about them and their experiences in depth.

On Wednesday, we learned about Chief Scientist Alison Macdonald’s research on transport of water through the Pacific Ocean using chemical signatures. Alison is a physical oceanographer, which means that she focuses on understanding the physical movement of water within the ocean. On one of her research projects, she gathered data on various cruises crossing the Pacific using CTD casts to determine at what depths a certain chemical signature was found, and how far across the Pacific the currents carried the signature. Knowing that several specific types of water, called mode waters, are formed on the western Pacific, A…

Cups!

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Meet the Cast(s)!

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(by Emma)

With four official CTD casts now under our belt, the Biological Carbon Pump Team (BCP Team) is feeling much more confident in our sampling and sample processing abilities. We have worked on establishing a system for pre-cast preparations, sampling procedures while the CTD is on deck, and post-cast sample processing. Before each cast, we gather and label the necessary bottles for each depth that we want to sample. 

Sensors on the CTD show us a profile of factors like dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature as it descends. We pay special attention to changes in the concentration of dissolved oxygen along the profile, because this variable is particularly important for our research. Changes in dissolved oxygen may indicate whether the water at these depths was previously in contact with the atmosphere. Air exchange at the ocean surface and mixing of surface water with deeper water contribute to the formation of a mixed layer visible in the profiles provided by the CTD. We try…

A Day in the Life Aboard the Armstrong

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We have now been aboard the ship for well over a week, and are settling into our routines. Thanks to a few reader requests, this post will be about a day in the life aboard the Armstrong!
Life aboard a research vessel is quite different than life on shore. For instance, most people aboard the ship do not sleep regular hours. For the crew members especially, someone needs to be awake at all times to do things like navigate the ship, make sure that everything is running smoothly and keep us safe. In the case of our group, since we are a team of three, Emma and I have separate watch schedules. Her watch is midnight-noon, and mine is noon-midnight. Neither of us are usually awake for those full 12 hours, but it means that Emma is responsible for the 6:30 am sampling, and I am responsible for the 6:30pm sampling. Additionally, she is responsible for morning tasks, like sample processing, and I am responsible for afternoon tasks.
The day starts with breakfast from 7:15-8:15. The food on th…

First Days at Sea!

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(by Emma)


Our team and the R/V Neil Armstrong have officially left the Reykjavik port. After we left the harbor waters, the underway sea system started pumping and we began to collect continuous data from the oxygen and nitrate sensor we set up earlier. Lucy and I also practiced collecting chlorophyll, dissolved inorganic carbon, and dissolved oxygen samples on the underway system.


I really enjoy the different types of bottles and measuring instruments we brought to collect samples; the distinct look and feel of each bottle helps me remember which sampling procedure to use. Dissolved oxygen samples are the most common samples that Lucy and I will be taking throughout the trip. For the dissolved oxygen sampling, everything happens in one glass bottle with a distinct, labeled stopper. The bottle is rinsed and filled with seawater from either the underway system or the Niskin flask from a CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) cast. We then add MnCl2 and NaI-NaOH as fixing reagents to cap…

OSNAP!

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