Collaborative Research

Rock ‘n’ Roll
by -- January 16th, 2013

I’m Tristan, one of the undergraduates from Duke, and I am majoring in environmental science.  My project deals with the relative acidity of seawater and how expected increases in acidity might affect Prochlorococcus and the larger marine ecosystem.  The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so when we increase our emissions (as we have been since the industrial revolution) the ocean takes in more carbon dioxide and becomes more acidic.  Every morning I help deploy the rosette, and when it comes back to the surface I test samples for pH, a measurement of acidity.  My afternoons are generally less action-packed because I am an avid napper.

Our current ship track. Triangles mark the locations where we have stopped to sample. We are near the northern most triangle now.

Sunday, we encountered our first bout of choppy seas.  Many of us woke up feeling a little nauseous.  Fortunately for us–but unfortunate for the science–sampling was delayed until the afternoon when it was safer to deploy the rosette.  We had a similar delay Monday morning as well.  Although this interrupts our sampling and can affect some of the data, weather or equipment related glitches on a research cruise are bound to occur.

Rough Weather Sampling

According to the captain, at its highpoint yesterday we were going through 18 foot waves.  Rest assured to the parents reading this, we all received thorough safety training.  We minimize any time we are outside if the deck is at all dangerous, and when we get our samples from the rosette we always wear our life jackets.

Emergency safety training, in style.

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