Collaborative Research

Lions and Bears and … Ctenophores, Oh My!
by -- January 28th, 2013

Hello, this is Molly reporting live from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The days are starting to run together now that we have an established routine. Except for the occasional storm that draws us off track, the days are relatively similar. From an outside perspective, this might seem rather dull and monotonous. However, we have developed clever ways to spice up life on the ship. For instance, we are currently in the middle of a “coolness” war between the different labs. There are three lab rooms and the scientists of each room go to extremes to decorate the lab and add some spunk. Armed with coloring books, colored pencils and tape, the Duke scientists have added some bright colors to the walls of the lab.


We even have a few sets of Christmas light strung up around the room.

One of the University of Tennessee lab rooms has a hammock hanging from the ceiling, but I still think the Duke lab is winning!

Each day also holds surprises that can spice up even the most tedious filtering session. Most exciting is the wildlife! No, we haven’t seen any whales or giant squid. Yesterday, we saw something much more exciting… Ctenophores! We collected seawater in 39 clear plastic bottles. Three of those bottles were filtered yesterday while the other 36 bottles we put in the incubators to be filtered at a later time. In one of the bottles we filtered yesterday, we noticed about 10 ctenophores happily swimming in the water. Ctenophores are comb jellies and are notable because they are the largest species to propel themselves using rows of cilia. These ctenophores were less than a centimeter long and were transparent except for a little red spot at one end. We tried not to pour any of the little creatures into our filtering system, but we failed. At the end of the filtering process, we noticed four deflated ctenophores lying on our filters.

If you look closely, you can see a few transparent ctenophores with little red dots on one end.

Ctenophores on our filter!

Every day holds some new amazement to behold while we are wandering around the Pacific. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!




1 Comment

  1. Leanie
    Jan 30, 2013

    It sounds lik you are having a great time. I am so proud of you. Keep up the good work.

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