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2004 VERTIGO Hawaii Cruise- Chasing Down Ocean Particles
Overview | Science Principal Investigators | The Ship | Science Gear | Daily Updates


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Daily Updates

Dispatch 01 - June 21, 2004
VERTIGO is a go!
These are the words we’ve been longing to say as we worked for over two years to reach this point of departure out of Honolulu on the R/V Kilo Moana with 27 scientists and almost as many crew members on board.

Dispatch 02 - June 22, 2004
Needles in a haystack
In the early morning hours several scientists and crew members gather on the upper deck, peering out into the sea, still dark. They’re looking for a needle in a haystack.

Dispatch 03 - June 23, 2004
Surprises in the phytoplankton
One of our most surprising discoveries was the finding of clumps or “aggregates” of relatively large floating algae (phytoplankton) in this amazingly blue and otherwise clear oceanic water.

Dispatch 04 - June 24, 2004
From the VERTIGO air-traffic control…
The primary goal of VERTIGO is to measure and understand the controls on sinking particles as they enter the twilight zone from the well-lit, surface ocean.

Dispatch 05 - June 25, 2004
Like a glazed doughnut…
Things just happen at sea. Rob Condon, a graduate student with Debbie Steinberg's group, has been saying all week that "it's ALL happening."

Dispatch 06 - June 26, 2004
The Mochness Monster Lives
One of the many tools used on board the R/V Kilo Moana during this cruise is the MOCNESS zooplankton net. MOCNESS stands for Multiple Opening and Closing Net Environmental Sampling System.

Dispatch 07 - June 27, 2004
Crushing cups - A simple lesson in hydrostatic pressure
Water is much heavier than air (actually about 1000 times heavier). This is a simple fact we all take for granted. It is obviously true; if it weren't rain would fall up and the ocean would be the atmosphere (but this is a silly digression).

Dispatch 08 - June 28, 2004
Caught in a viscous goo
Caught in a viscous goo, unable to swim out, ahhhhrrgh - these small animals swam into our traps and were caught along with sinking detritus in a clear "gel" we put in some traps.

Dispatch 09 - June 29, 2004
European team looks for warmer waters
What is a University of Brussels, Belgium research team that is usually involved with studies of the ocean carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean looking for in the warmer waters off Hawaii?

Dispatch 10 - June 30, 2004
Open ocean jellies: alien ocean drifters
Typically, when we think about gelatinous animals we think of jellyfish, like the sea nettle, which sting sea bathers or clog fishing nets. Yet these organisms, collectively known as 'gelatinous zooplankton', can play an important role in many ecosystems including the open ocean.

Dispatch 11 - July 1, 2004
Catching rain in a hurricane
A basic problem that VERTIGO sets out to study, is how fast do particles in the ocean sink from the surface where they are produced, to the deep ocean, and how many break apart or are consumed by animals and bacteria along the way.

Dispatch 12 - July 2, 2004
Studying iron on a rusty ship
Here's a problem for you. How do you collect and study water from the ocean for iron, when you are surrounded by rust?

Dispatch 13 - July 3, 2004
Critter cam
Now that the "MOCNESS" plankton net samples are on board, Stephanie Wilson and colleagues are hard at work using microscopes to identify the tiny marine organisms caught at different depths in the ocean.

Dispatch 14 - July 4, 2004
Mocness captures giant squid
Never has and event caused so much stir amongst the scientific community so fast, as a giant squid being captured alive for the first time ever on the R/V Kilo Moana.

Dispatch 15 - July 5, 2004
Disappearances can be deceptive
Phytoplankton don't expect much from life except to chilli out, fix some carbon dioxide and grow as much as conditions will allow - and fortunately for us mere mortals, liberate an important ingredient for our well being, oxygen.

Dispatch 16 - July 6, 2004
Hawaiian bacteria experience polar conditions...
There are over a billion bacteria in every gallon of seawater at the VERTIGO sight, and these organisms play an important role in regulating the quantity of particles that are caught in sediment traps.

Dispatch 17 - July 7, 2004
What is the Café Thorium?
If you've been following our VERTIGO cruise from the home page of the Café Thorium, you might be asking yourself, what does a Café have to do with ocean science? and what the heck is thorium? and what does all of this have to do with VERTIGO, our study of the sources and sinking rates of marine particles, and this cruise off Hawaii?

Dispatch 18 - July 8, 2004
Determining Sinking Particle Collection Funnels
The sinking flux of particles in the ocean has many similarities and many important differences compared with the raining of raindrops in atmosphere.

Dispatch 19 - July 9, 2004
It's the Law, the Power Law, but why?
The flux of sinking particles, i.e. the mass sinking through a square meter each day, decreases as you go deeper into the sea, and in many regions this decrease is well described by a Power Law.

Dispatch 20 - July 10, 2004
VERTIGO is heading home
All thoughts are moving on shore as we steam in to Honolulu on this final day of our research cruise here on the R/V Kilo Moana.

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