Collaborative Research

Aloha from Hawaii!
by -- January 11th, 2013

My name is Molly Reichert and I am an undergraduate at Duke University. I am double majoring in Marine Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences. My research on this trip involves using a filtering system to separate phytoplankton based on size. I am trying to establish a depth profile of the smallest phytoplankton, Prochlorococcus.

All of the researchers have finally arrived in Honolulu. It is 70 degrees and extremely humid here. There must be something magical about Hawaii, but we have seen several beautiful rainbows arching over the city.  Most of the undergrads spent the morning playing in the ocean at Waikiki Beach. We didn’t have much time, but it was just long enough for us to finally feel like we were in Hawaii.

After checking out of our hotel rooms, we made our way to the University of Hawaii Marine Center and we caught our first glimpse of the Kilo Moana. At 185 feet, the ship is massive!


We were each shown our room and then we spent some time exploring the ship. It is very easy to get lost among the ever-twisting corridors and random staircases. After a quick meeting with the entire Duke group, we began the task of organizing the lab. I can’t believe that a whole lab had to be shipped to Hawaii, complete with a flow cytometer and many boxes of plastic gloves. One of the most important jobs was tying down all of the equipment. Since the ship will be rocking and rolling 24/7, we needed to strap everything to the tables and walls to make sure nothing would shift around or fall off during the cruise.

At six, we had a full scientific meeting to go over the main goals of the cruise and to make important announcements. We had a chance to meet the scientists from the University of Tennessee who will be joining us on the cruise. In total, there are 17 scientists. All 17 of us went out for a celebratory dinner on the eve of our departure!

Things are quieting down here as people prepare for the voyage ahead and try to catch some sleep while the beds are stationary. Tomorrow will be a new and exciting adventure and I cannot wait to see what the next month holds in store!

1 Comment

  1. Louise Damon
    Jan 12, 2013

    How exciting! Soak it all in and safe travels girl! Rick used to captain the Edwaard Lind, research vessel from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce. He took marine biologist research groups to similar excursions, once to Belize. I recall their mission was to extract specimens from coral (?) to find cures for cancer. He loved and learned a lot from those experiences, not to mention met some interesting people. Best wishes on a safe and exciting journey! Praying for you, from Louise & Rick back home.

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