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Posts Tagged ‘Cruise’

June 18 – Home Again, Home Again

12:50 a.m. Japan Time Station 32; 37N, 142E Just like that. The CTD is stowed, the last net is aboard. The engines have spooled up and we’re slowly putting the final station behind us, though we’ll initially head northwest to a point half way between Stations 32 and 25. From there, we’ll turn south and…

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June 17 – Getting the Story

3:45 a.m. Japan Time Station 29; 36.5N, 142E We haven’t had much news out here on the ship the past two weeks other than our twice-daily satellite email uplinks. My wife, however, just sent me something that makes me a little sad. She said that when she tells people where I am one of the…

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June 15 – In the Zone

2:00 a.m. Japan Time Station 25; 37.5N, 141.4E There are demi stations, standard stations, and super stations. Then there are super-duper stations. At a little before midnight, we arrived at Station 25, our closest approach to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that is the source of the radiation we are trying to measure. We…

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June 14 – The Cause of it All

12:00 p.m. Japan Time Station 23; 37.5N, 142E I’ve touched on marine chemistry, physical oceanography, and marine biology over the past few days, now it’s time to delve into the dark arts of marine geology. Dark because much of what marine geologists study takes place deep beneath the bottom of the ocean. Late last night…

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June 13 – All Work, a Little Play

2:00 Japan Time Station 21; 25N, 142.5E We’ve entered a stretch that calls for us doing five so-called “super stations” interspersed with what we’ve termed “demi stations.” Our standard sampling station includes a CTD cast to 1,000 meters with a net on the wire that gathers phytoplankton from the top 100 meters, four Bongo net…

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June 12 – Tracers II

12:00 Japan Time Station 18; 37N, 143E We’ll come back to tracers in a bit. There are a couple of changes to report, first. For one, the weather has eased considerably. Seas are easy and the sun is just barely shining through a hazy sky. About the only wind out there is whatever we can…

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June 11 – Tracers

2:00 p.m. Japan Time 35N, 143E It’s Saturday, so I’m going to let someone else do some of my work for me today. In his book Seven-Tenths: Love, Piracy, and Science at Sea, WHOI’s David Fisichella does as good a job as anyone in describing the way that chemical oceanographers use tracers to study the…

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June 10 – Lines in the Water

10:00 a.m. Japan Time Station 10; 38N, 144E Last night we came to the end of our first sampling line, the furthest offshore. Everyone was looking forward to a little down time (even the people on the midnight to noon watch) and there were grand plans floated to watch movies or get caught up on…

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June 9 – Chasing Fish

3:00 p.m. Japan Time Station 9; 38N, 147E We had one good net haul after sunset yesterday and had a second around midnight cancelled due to weather that the biologists were sad to miss. Then early this morning, as soon as the sun came up, the net came back almost empty. What we were seeing…

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June 5 – Testing 1, 2 . . .

7:00 p.m. Japan Time 34 24N, 142 41E (100 nm west of Japan) Today was a test day, starting with the obligatory one long bell that signals all hands to muster at their emergency stations. For us in the science crew, that means we grab our life vests and survival suits and head to the…

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June 8 – Connections

6:30 a.m. Japan Time Station 4; 35.50N, 147E Today is World Ocean Day. Sort of snuck up on me because the ship sort of exists outside of time and I’m not really looking at my calendar except to label my blog posts. Hard to imagine a more fitting place to spend the day. We now…

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June 4 – To Sea

We are under way. At 2:30 p.m., our Japanese pilot came aboard (very dapper in his blue suit and fedora), a tug tied up to our stern, and by 3:00 sharp we had slipped our lines and were edging away from the dock into the busy Tokyo Harbor traffic. Tourists on the upper deck of…

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Dispatch 21 – Land ho, VERTIGO

We have had a rare opportunity these last 4 weeks to sample a remote region of the ocean on board the Research Vessel Revelle. We are fortunate to be heading to shore with 1000’s of samples and hard drives full of scientific data. Over the past few days we’ve met to discuss our results and…

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Dispatch 20 – An Oiler’s Perspective on VERTIGO

Lat: 40° N Long: 177° E Air temp: 21.87 °C, 71.36°F Sea temp: 21.37 °C, 70.47 °F Sky: Sunny, and beautiful! True wind : 9.8 knots Waves: 2-4 feet From port to starboard, forward to aft, ours is a space crammed with machinery. And it’s hot…really hot… …and loud. The work is not always glamorous,…

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Dispatch 17 – Next Stop: Honolulu

Lat: 44° N Long: 168° E Air temp: 12.03 °C, 53.65°F Sea temp: 13.0°C, 55.4°F Sky: Foggy, still. True wind : 30-40 knots Waves: 20 feet Heavy seas and 35-45 knot winds kept us off the decks and inside as we counted down the last 24 hours of our VERTIGO cruise (see storm photos). Up…

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Dispatch 15 – Life Aboard a Research Vessel

Lat: 47° N Long: 160° E Air temp: 12 °C, 53.6 °F Sea temp: 11.5°C, 52.8°F Sky: Foggy True wind : 13.5 knots Waves: Flat, 1-2 feet It’s 5.00am on board the R/V Roger Revelle, 300 nautical miles off the Kamchatka Peninsula. Soon, the sun will rise and once again be obscured by the dense…

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Dispatch 14 – Heavy Breathing

Lat: 47° N Long: 160° E Air temp: 12 °C, 53.6 °F Sea temp: 11.5°C, 52.8°F Sky: Foggy True wind : 13.5 knots Waves: Flat, 1-2 feet The most unexpected thing about the ocean is that it breathes…. heavily. How and why? Well that’s what we’re here to find out. Most of us have some…

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Dispatch 13 – A Needle in the haystack

Lat: 47° N Long: 160° E Air temp: 9.75 °C, 49.6 °F Sea temp: 10.366°C, 50.66°F Sky: Foggy True wind : 9.2 knots Waves: 2-5 feet We have a number of instruments on board the ship which when deployed are tethered to the ship or to surface moorings so we’re able to track them and…

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Dispatch 12 – What lies below? – Episode 2

Lat: 46°N Long: 161°E Air temp: 9.5° C, 49.1° F Sea temp: 10.5° C, 51° F Sky: Foggy True wind : 15 knots Waves: Flat In our earlier note “What lies below?” we pointed out that the strong near surface stratification in this corner of the North Pacific is a key aspect of the environmental…

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Dispatch 11 – How to make a living in the twilight zone

Lat: 46°N Long: 161°E Air temp: 9.5° C, 49.1° F Sea temp: 10.5° C, 51° F Sky: Foggy True wind : 15 knots Waves: Flat We concentrate our studies for this cruise on the mesopelagic zone, between about 100 and 1000 meters below the ocean surface. This zone of the ocean is cold (about 2°C…

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Dispatch 10 – We are out of Points

Lat: 47° 08’N Long: 161°06’E Air temp: 14.0°C, 57.2°F Sea temp: 10.8°C, 51.44°F Sky: Overcast True wind : 19 knots Waves: 13-14 feet The words “We are out of points” was written on a small post-it left by the Captain on my laptop this morning. What this referred to was that we needed to update…

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Dispatch 05 – IONESS a Success

Lat: 47°N Long: 159°E Air temp: 10.009 °C, 50°F Sea temp: 10.83 °C, 51.5°F Sky: mostly cloudy True wind : 25 knots Waves: 5-7 feet Last year we used the MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Net Environmental Sampling System) on board the R/V Kilo Moana to sample zooplankton at discrete depths. This year, due to…

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Dispatch 04 – Life at sea without email

Lat: 46°N Long: 160°E Air temp: 12.36°C, 54.2°F Sea temp: 11.284°C, 52°F Sky: mostly cloudy and very foggy The red arrow points to circle on this map where R/V Revelle was positioned when this satellite image of ocean color was taken on July 26th. The position of the Japanese time series site K2 is noted…

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Dispatch 03 – Out of the Frying Pan and into the Gyre

After an eventful and anxious few days at port in steamy Yokohama, we were relieved to finally get to sea, with all our equipment and people on board. Now, a nice relaxing 4 day transit to the cooler climes of the western subarctic gyre during which we could finish unpacking, chat with colleagues and plan…

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Dispatch 02 – A Birthday at Sea

Current air temperature: 21.5°C, 70.7°F Wind speed: 6 knots Seas: 3-6 feet I just celebrated my 40th birthday, July 22, at sea! Last time I had a birthday at sea was another significant year, my 21st birthday. That was my very first oceanographic cruise, and I have been on many since. You might wonder, “What…

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Dispatch 20 – 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. It is hard to measure the impact of any given cruise, but certainly this VERTIGO cruise has had more than its share of success. In cruise jargon, the “event…

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Dispatch 19 – 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: Flux(z) = Flux(zo) (z-zo)-b This expression states that the flux at depth z depends on the initial flux at…

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Dispatch 18 – 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. Both raindrops and sinking particles undergo transformations (combining to make larger particles, disaggregating into smaller, etc.) as they fall. Again, many of the processes creating these transformations are the same and some…

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Dispatch 17 – 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…

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Dispatch 16 – 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. Karen Casciotti and I (both from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) have big plans for the bacteria that are being sampled…

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Dispatch 15 – 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. Of course, like anyone else you or I know, their diet requires lots of other goodies too…

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Dispatch 14 – 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, July 1st, 2004. “Rarely do we see any organisms in a zooplankton net over 5cm in length,” said the stunned Robert Condon, a graduate…

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Dispatch 13 – 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. Here is just a selection of their favorite critters caught thus far during VERTIGO.

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Dispatch 12 – 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? By most laboratory standards, ships are dirty places, rusting, greasy, and bathed in diesel fumes. Stopping the rust is nearly impossible, as seawater is a perfect medium for accelerating corrosion of metallic…

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Dispatch 11 – 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. Part of the problem is that catching sinking particles in classic…

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Dispatch 10 – 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. On the VERTIGO cruises, our group (comprising of Joe Cope, Steph Wilson…

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Dispatch 09 – European team looks for warmer waters

Why 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? During a 2001 cruise in the icy Southern Ocean waters, we had the opportunity to collaborate with Ken Buesseler, Tom Trull and Phil…

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Dispatch 08 – Caught in a viscous goo

Tom Trull and his colleagues Lisette Robertson and Clodagh Curran from University of Hobart in Tasmania Australia came quite a distance to be part of VERTIGO. They are studying the composion of ocean particles that they catch using a variety of sampling methods. Here they report on their first look at what they have caught…

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Dispatch 07 – 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). The weight of a…

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Dispatch 06 – The Mocness Monster Lives

One of the many tools used on board the RV Kilo Moana during this cruise is the MOCNESS zooplankton net. MOCNESS stands for Multiple Opening and Closing Net Environmental Sampling System. This net is used to collect tiny zooplankton species in discrete depths from the surface of the ocean to, in this case, 1000m. This…

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Dispatch 05 – 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”. Many good things have happened and some not so good. And with lots of big machinery around and lots of moving parts, sometimes bad things happen. First, the good news. No one…

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Dispatch 04 – 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. To do this, a wide variety of tools and platforms have been deployed. Some of these are arrays of tubes or large cones designed to collect sinking particles from…

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Dispatch 03 – Surprises in the phytoplankton

Mary Silver (University of California, Santa Cruz) and her collaborator Sara Tanner (Moss Landing Marine Lab) are on board the Research Vessel Kilo Moana collecting water samples and using microscopes to probe the mysteries of the marine particle cycle as part of their contribution to VERTIGO. Here is Mary’s report from June 23rd. One of…

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Dispatch 02 – 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. Well, actually they’re looking for the antenna of the second Neutrally Buoyant Sediment Trap (NBST) deployed on this leg of VERTIGO. The 24-inch antenna is…

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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/VKilo Moana with 27 scientists and almost as many crew members on board. It took us only two days to load thousands of pounds of scientific gear to…

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