First Days at Sea!
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.
While leaving the harbor, we had a great view of Harpa, a concert hall in Reykjavik, from deck. Lucy and I walked around Harpa on Sunday evening before the Armstrong moved to the warehouse dock on Monday.
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 capture the dissolved oxygen in the sample into a substance that looks like spoiled orange juice in the bottom of the bottle. After rigorous shaking, we store the samples, shake them again later, and Hilary analyzes each bottle using the Winkler Titration Method set up on our lab bench.
I also enjoy meeting the science staff and crew aboard the Armstrong. Taking pictures of the science team members has helped me learn names, and by sharing so much space in the main lab I’ve been able to talk to several people about their work and experience(s) on WHOI research cruises.
One of our nearest research lab neighbors, Henry Holm, is studying lipids and the changes they undergo in different conditions. Cell membranes are composed of double layers of lipids, and under certain conditions such as temperature, depth, and availability of nutrients, the cell’s lipid membrane will change. For this research cruise he is focusing on taking samples from the underway system during our transect from Reykjavik port to the Irminger Sea array, and taking additional samples from CTD casts.
|This is Henry Holm with his filtration rack. Henry is a joint-program grad student studying lipids at WHOI.|
We are also sharing a lab bench with the various sensors for the Irminger array, which will be deployed over the course of the research cruise. On Thursday, Stephanie Petillo and Allen Smith (scientists with OOI) gave us a tour of the surface mooring and subsurface moorings that are on deck. The surface mooring is much larger than the subsurface moorings, and features sensors both above and below the water surface. Stephanie and Allen pointed out the nitrate and dissolved oxygen sensors, which I was able to recognize because they look very similar to the ones we are using. They also told us about the mechanics of releasing the entire surface mooring and associated sensors. Each sensor will be attached to the main line as they are released, and once all sensors have been attached and are off the boat, the enormous anchor weights will be released and will pull the line of sensors down, leaving only the surface mooring floating above.
|The surface mooring is being loaded onto the stern of the Armstrong! A team of WHOI scientists and crew members are directing the ship’s crane to place the mooring on the working deck.|
On the first day of chlorophyll filtration, I noticed that we caught a zooplankton in the underway seawater system. It was still floating around in our filter when I caught this picture of it. Fortunately, a zooplankton on our chlorophyll filter should not interfere too much with our measurements, as the body itself does not contain chlorophyll.
|The underway sea system brought us a zooplankton! The zooplankton, shaped like a T and very tiny, is visible in the yellow circle. I (Emma) found it in our chlorophyll sample on Wednesday morning.|