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Corals in the Drake Passage - NBP11-03 Expedition

June 7, 2011

 

9th May - 11th June 2011

 


MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011

Packing Dos and Don’ts, Wishes and Wants

June 5th 


As we wrap up NBP1103, I thought it would be fun to apply our newfound Antarctic expertise to reflect on what each of packed for this trip. What did people pack that they subsequently didn’t need? Were there items left at home that are now desperately desired? What about items that were surprisingly useful or nice to have?


Approaching a month into the cruise, I can definitively say that I overpacked. Way overpacked. I-could-have-survived-being-abandoned-in-the-wild-for-a-year overpacked. Some things have been worthwhile; for example I brought 14 pairs of socks I am glad for all of them. But six short-sleeve t-shirts? Did I think I was going to the tropics? With some rare exceptions I’ve uniformly worn long-sleeve shirts. In fact, most of the clothing I wear was issued to me in Punta Arenas: our designated “Extreme Cold Weather” gear. It turns out the staff who live and work in Antarctica know exactly what you’ll need and, in my experience, the issue clothing has completely replaced my own over-stuffed luggage.


I decided to ask around on the ship the three questions I posed above. The range of Antarctic packing experience in the interviewees ranges from none (ie: me!) to quite a lot (our Raytheon staff, many of whom only bring down a single backpack and count on personal and issued gear left in Punta Arenas after their last trip). So, if you find yourself packing for an Antarctic trip anytime soon, best take a look at this list of packing regrets, surprises, and recommendations!


Is there an item you brought but haven’t yet used?


Laura: My own chocolate. There are so many cakes in the galley!
Kathleen: Knitting supplies
Kate: Sunglasses
Tina: Hairdryer
Chris: Personal cold-weather clothing
Mercer: Razor
Andrew: Sea sickness medications
Mariana: T-shirts
Lindsey: First aid kit
Sandy: High-heeled sandals (from a wedding prior to NBP1103)
Skip: Laptop
Melissa: Extra shampoo
George: Everything I brought
Kais: Binoculars. The ship has them!
Stian: Camera
Eric: Sick sickness wristbands
Michelle: Nail polish
David: My own cold-weather clothing (except for my REI vest, Hi Elizabeth!)
Rhian: Running sneakers
Ben: Snow boots
Suzy: Tweed shorts


Is there an item you didn’t bring but wish you had?


Laura: Hot water bottle
Kate: Third book of the Stieg Larssen trilogy
Tina: A hairband
Mercer: More photos of family
Andrew: Speakers and a 1-foot ruler
Mariana: Mate, an Argentinian infused tea
Joe: More coffee
Sheldon: Spare wireless card
Lindsey: Pajama pants
Sandy: A really good book
Melissa: Mustache/beard hat
George: A computer
Andrea: Winter boots and more black sharpies
Kais: A videocamera
Michelle: Deely boppers and HP Sauce (British thing)
David: More podcasts
Rhian: Chocolate-covered raisins
Shannon: Some DVD’s from my personal collection
Ben: A football
Suzy: Slippers


Is there something you did bring and are now really glad to have?


Laura: Purple hard-hat
Kathleen: Down comforter
Kate: Intensive hand moisturizer
Tina: A hat
Andrew: Thin gloves (For better taking photos outdoors)
Chris: An iPod
Mercer: Gum
Joe: A laptop
Lindsey: Quilting stuff
Sandy: Christmas lights!
Skip: Books
Melissa: A laptop
George: Grapefruit seed extract (for getting over colds)
John: Lots of socks
Andrea: A hot water bottle
Kais: Camera
David: Slippers, Bohnanza
Marshall: Extra video monitors for the TowCam, speakers for music
Rhian: Deely boppers (everyone has had so much enjoyment from them!)
Shannon: Chapstick
Ben: Low-cut socks
Suzy: Swimming costume for the sauna


By David


Weather: temperature 30 ºF, windchill -4 ºF, wind speed 30 knots (gusting to 40-50 knots), some sun peeking through the clouds


Figure 1: Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)


Figure 2:  


Figure 3: Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).


Figure 4:  Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!


Figure 5: Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).


Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)
David and Andrew sporting their issued United States Antarctic Program (USAP) coats on board the ARV Nathaniel B Palmer.
Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).
Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!
Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).






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Sars Seamount









 4th June 2011
We have just left our penultimate sampling site, Sars Seamount. Sars Seamount rises up dramatically from the abyssal seafloor, from 4000m up to just 500m below the sea surface. The flanks of the mountain are rugged: covered in pinnacles, ridges and steep cliffs. If it was on land it would be a popular site for extreme mountaineers and climbers. Strangely the top of Sars is completely flat, so flat in fact that we were able to trawl across the top collecting all sorts of interesting live animals and fossil remains. 

One of the reasons I was so interested to come to Sars is that it has all these features that rise to different depths, so we can find a place to sample from shallow to deep whatever the wind direction. We spent nearly a week at Sars, and during that time we have taken photos, collected water, collected bathymetric data and sampled the seafloor fauna. The photographs have blown me away – they are crystal clear glimpses into another world – we are getting a four dimensional view of Sars. Not only can we see the bathymetry – we can see the animals that are living there today – and the fossil remains of animals that inhabited the seamount tens to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Even here, so far from any city we saw signs of human activity: a rope lying on the seafloor encrusted with seafloor animals – a reminder of our ability to impact all parts of the Earth – even deep below the sea surface. 

Perhaps not surprising we saw and collected the most abundant and diverse samples at the shallower depths on the seamount. When we deploy equipment over the side we let it out at 30m per minute, so it can take a many hours to collect samples from deep sites. Despite the long times, and the lower recovery rates in deep water we worked hard to sample at 2000m water depth. In the end we were able to collect fossil coral remains from the peak of the seamount all the way down to 2000m. Together these samples will let us piece together information on the vertical structure of the water column here at Sars in the past, and compare it to the ocean currents that we have observed here today. 

I am sad to be leaving Sars, it was a wonderful place to collect samples. But today we are moving to new adventures on the shelf of Cape Horn. 

Wish us luck on our last week of sampling. 

Laura 


PS Happy Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad! 

Weather: temperature 32 ºF, winchill -4 ºF, windspeed about 30 knots, sunny intervals 

A 3D rendering of Sars Seamount prepared by Kathleen Gavahan and Shannon Hoy.

 

A fossil stylasterid coral from Sars Seamount (A. Margolin).

 

Early morning on the back deck, with Sebastian watching the dredge on its way up (R. Waller). 
Stian, Mark and John retrieving one of the many dredges recovered from Sars (R. Waller).




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A new and unbelievable experience! / Una nueva e increíble experiencia!





June 3rd/3 de Junio 

Hi, my name is Mariana. I’m a biologist; I work in the benthos lab of the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP). I have a postdoctoral fellowship (CONICET) since 2010. I am interested in echinoderms such as starfish, sea urchins, and brittlestars, and know about their distribution patterns and taxonomy along the shelf-break front in the Argentine Sea. I was selected to participate in this cruise as an Argentinean observer. Although this is not my first research cruise I was very nervous at first. I have never been a long time at sea, and in addition it would be in the Drake Passage, well-known for its rough seas and strong winds! Besides I have to be a month with new people who speak a different language! 

My nervousness disappeared when we left Punta Arenas, when I saw that all were very excited for this new experience. During the first days I met all the people on board, all of them with a strong feeling of camaraderie ready to do their best so all the cruise would be successful; What can I do? How can I help you? And all eager for knowledge – What is it? How does it work? And what is that for? I am in the day watch with other two biologists, Chris and Mercer; we sort and preserve biological material that we collect with dredges. I learned a little more about deep sea corals, live and fossils, and I helped to indentify several echinoderm species, some of them were similar to the species I work with! Some of the species I observed during this cruise, I thought that I would only see in pictures! 

Antarctica! We get to the southernmost point in the whole cruise! I don´t believe that the thousands of pictures and videos that we got, can show the emotion, happiness and beauty of that day! I got up very early that day when I saw pancake ice by the window of my cabin, there was no time to lose! The emotion of the first iceberg! Whales! Seals! Penguins! No words or pictures can explain all these sensations. 

We are now heading north and counting down the days for the end of the cruise. Drake Passage showed us a little more of its nature. Although some stations were delayed, soon, as scheduled, we will be in port with all goals reached. After all these days, I think that my initial nervousness were only normal feelings facing a new life experience! Luckily - science and laughs, stories and jokes that make you feel good, are the same in any language! 

By Mariana 



Hola, mi nombre es Mariana, soy bióloga; trabajo en el laboratorio de bentos del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP); tengo una beca postdoctoral (CONICET) desde el año 2010. Actualmente estoy trabajando en taxonomía y patrones de distribución de equinodermos a lo largo del frente de talud del Mar Argentino. Fui invitada a participar en esta campaña como observadora argentina. Al principio estaba nerviosa dado que, si bien no es mi primera campaña de investigación, nunca estuve embarcada tanto tiempo ni en el Pasaje de Drake! Conocido por sus grandes olas y fuertes vientos! Además de tener que estar un mes con gente que uno no conoce y con un idioma diferente! 

Mis nervios desaparecieron cuando dejamos Punta Arenas y vi que todos estaban igual de ansiosos por esta nueva experiencia. Con el correr de los días pude ir conociendo cada una de las personas en el barco, todos con un gran sentido de camaradería para lograr que todo salga bien, no todos los días se tiene la oportunidad de estar en una campaña de investigación en estas latitudes!! Qué hago? En que puedo ayudarte? Además todos con ganas de aprender Qué es? Como funciona? Para qué sirve? Participo en la guardia de día junto con otros dos biólogos, Chris y Mercer, separamos, clasificamos y guardamos el material biológico que colectamos con los distintos equipos. Aprendí un poco más sobre corales de profundidad, vivos y fósiles, y ayudé también a identificar algunas especies de equinodermos que resultaron similares a muchas con las que trabajo! Pude ver especies que pensé que solo las conocería por fotos! 

Antártida! Llegamos al punto más austral de toda la campaña! No creo que las miles de fotos y videos que tomamos puedan mostrar la emoción, alegría y belleza de ese día! Por supuesto fue el día que más temprano me levante, cuando vi por la ventana de mi camarote que había hielo en el agua, no había tiempo para perder! La emoción del primer iceberg! Ballenas! Focas! Pingüinos! No hay palabras ni imágenes que puedan explicar todas esas sensaciones. 

Ahora ya con rumbo norte y en cuenta regresiva. El Pasaje de Drake nos mostró un poco más de su naturaleza y aunque algunos lances fueron retrasados por su causa, en breve y en el día pautado estaremos en puerto con todos los objetivos cumplidos. Después de todos estos días creo que mis nervios iniciales fueron solo los normales frente a una nueva experiencia de vida! - por suerte tanto la ciencia como las risas, historias y bromas que hacen que uno se sienta bien, son las mismas cualquiera que sea el idioma! 

Por Mariana 



Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 10 °F, windspeed 10-20 knots, cloudy
Tiempotemperature 3°C, factor viento -10°C, velocidad del viento 10-20 nudos, nublado  

 

Mariana, our Argentinian observer, gets stuck into some sponge sorting from a trawl on Sars Seamount / Mariana, nuestra observadora de Argentina, separando esponjas del arte de arrastre en el monte submarino SARS (S. Jennions).
Some echinoderm species collected in the cruise / Algunas especies de equinodermos colectadas en esta campaña.
Iceberg in front of the West Antarctic Peninsula with a group of seals swimming between the ice sea / Iceberg frente al lado Oeste de la Península Antarctica con un grupo de focas nadando entre el hielo (M.Escolar).
Sunshine peeking through the clouds this morning/ Rayos de sol asomando entre las nubes al amanecer (A.Margolin).
“Men wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success” – advert by Ernest Shackleton for men to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole. (photo by A. Margolin).




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FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011




Tow Cam Blog





June 2nd 

The WHOI Tow Cam is a multiple instrumental package mounted onto an aluminum frame. Along with the two separate camera systems there are: Niskin Bottles for water collection, altimeters for altitude, standard CTD (see Tina’s post), batteries, data link, lasers for a measurement scale, and a whole lot of wires! The primary use of this sled is for underwater photography. Attached to the frame are two cameras that have the ability to record over 4000 images on one tow alone. 

One camera is called the DSPL, the other OIS. The DSPL produces an image with a large footprint. The OIS produces an image that has 4 times the resolution than the DSPL but the footprint of the image is much smaller. Another ingredient to this camera system is the data link, which gives us the ability to see the pictures in real time on a monitor. The data link provides ethernet up the sea cable. Which makes the camera operation exciting and fun for everybody! 

Each camera is set up to take pictures at 10-second intervals. Tow Cam operations can only happen when conditions (weather) are ideal. If the ship’s heave is too great we run the risk of “crashing” the frame and cameras on the bottom. If the winds are too high it’s difficult for the ship to hold position for deployment and recovery. And this is a risk we are NOT willing to take! 

An average deployment and recovery time is about 6-10 hours. During this process another member of the science party is plotting the ships position, speed, depth of frame, and altitude every 5 minutes. Once the frame is on board, the pictures are downloaded from the cameras and backed up, which could range from an hour to five, depending on how many pictures are on the camera and how well the coffee has been flowing that day. 

Luckily, both ships crew and officers have been unbelievable at handling the ship during operations, and controlling the over the side operations safely so we can optimize our time with the science (And there is a lot). 

When I said “TOW CAM!”, NPB 11-03 participants said: 

“Yea, Lets Do it!”… “Don’t stare at the lasers”… “GO CAM”… “live feed from Tow Cam is awesome”… “far out images”… “what I have seen is pretty cool, watch for hours, plotting lots of locations”… “brings up a lot of water”… “makes me think of my friends in the hydro lab”… “cool to watch deployment and recovery”… “mind blowing images”… “exciting to see what undisturbed habitats and life looks like 3000 meters down”… “it’s heavy”…“useful”… “crisp”… “weather”… “Bonanza”… “awesome”… “cool”… “lots of water”…“take it back out we need to rinse it off”…“amazing advancements in supportive science”… “fun seeing the real time imagery”… “backing up lots and lots of pictures”… “Daffy Duck”…“lots of logging and pictures”. 

NBP-11-03 thanks for a great cruise! 

By Ben 

Weather: temperature 35 °F, windchill 15 °F, wind speed reducing to 10 knots, sunny intervals 

Skip, Sandy and Ben deploy the Drop Cam, another type of underwater camera system (R. Waller).
The Tow Cam being deployed a few days ago (R. Waller).
Ben and Marshall in the hydrolab, looking at some Drop Cam photos today (A. Margolin).
Bonanza! David and Ben playing a card game to relax after a long day of work! (A. Margolin).
Andrea celebrates after bringing up her first dredge (M. Swartz).




Posted by Linda at 11:37 AM 0 comments
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THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2011




Reminders of Home





1 June 2011 

As a researcher investigating deep-sea and cold-water organisms, a large part of my life is spent at sea collecting samples and data to be analyzed once we head back to shore. In fact, by the end of this cruise I will have spent 685 days at sea since 2000, the year I started my Ph.D. at the Southampton Oceanography Center in the UK. That’s just shy of two whole years I’ve spent on the rolling ocean, and a long time to be away from home, friends and family. Because most of my cruises go to remote places, they also tend to be long, just a small handful of the 31 cruises I’ve been on have been less than 3 weeks, and 5 weeks is more the norm. This is nothing compared to the Raytheon Polar Services Technicians we have out here though, or the crew of the ARV NB Palmer, many of whom spend many months at a time down here. 

So how do people stay connected at sea and what reminders of home do they bring? 

For me it’s pictures. On the wall in front of me right now are pictures of my little niece and my dog, and a drawing my 6yr old neighbor drew and emailed out to me (Hi Karter!). On my computer I frequently wander through photos of my last trip to the UK (where i’m from), my nephew and niece, trips with friends and photos of my new home in Maine. 

Marshall (who often spends more time at sea than on land!) brings along his coffee maker and mug for down in the lab and a personal throw rug and folding chair for up in his bunk-room. “Just something to make the space more personal and cover the cold floor” he says. 

For George it’s not so much things, but phone calls that keep him in the loop (and who could expect less from our Electronics Technician). Reliable satellite phones are often still rare at sea, but we’re lucky on the ARV NB Palmer to have a “moral phone”, for those times you just need to check in. George calls his daughters and mother to keep in touch with what’s happening in the ‘real world’. 

As we start to reach the homestretch of this cruise, it certainly makes me think more of home and wondering what’s been happening back there the last 3 weeks. Is it warm in Maine now? Are the black flies gone? What is under all those snow piles I left behind? How much paperwork is piled on my desk awaiting my return? I guess some things I’m more excited about than others….. 

By: Rhian 

Weather: temperature 33 °F, windchill -4 °F, wind speed 30-40 knots, cloudy with some sun 

Rhian’s ‘desk’ in the dry lab. Nestled amongst the shift and berthing lists, paperwork, daily plans and notes-to-self are photos and drawings from home. (R. Waller).
Sometimes creating a little levity in an ordinary day helps everyone when away from home for such long periods of time. Over the map table, Rhian calls the Bridge with the coordinates for the next dredge. (K. Scanlon).
Coffee break in the cold room! From left to right: Sebastian, Kais, Melissa, Shannon, Eric, Michelle and John (R. Waller).
Andrea doing some arts and crafts (R. Waller).
Mercer looking for biology in a photograph taken by the Towcam (A. Margolin)
Laura and Skip running the dredge again, after a few hours downtime due to bad weather (A. Margolin).




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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011




An extremely young group of scientists process animals in the Drake Passage





May 31st 

How many doctors (of philosophy) does it take to ensure a successful research cruise? Well, that depends on whether you take the census at the front end or back end of the cruise. One of us (myself) boarded this cruise as a PhD candidate, and will return as a doctor. Two other biologists, Michelle from Imperial College London and Eric from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, submitted their dissertation to their advisors only moments before and during the cruise respectively. Although a few years away from being a doctor, biologist Sebastian successfully completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Maine only days before departing for Punta Arenas, Chile. 

Eric and Michelle lead the midnight to noon biology shift while Mercer and Chris (graduate student at the University of Maine) head the noon to midnight shift. Sebastian supports the former shift, while Argentinean observer Mariana supports the latter. Both parties are responsible for processing animals obtained during overboard operations. ‘Processing’ is a broad term that refers to the following activities: 

1) Mixing formaldehyde with seawater to make formalin, a (nasty) reagent that preserves morphological structures very well, but not DNA. 

2) Mixing ethanol with pure water to make a reagent that preserves DNA (i.e., genetic information). Ethanol is very dry and distorts morphological structures. 

3) Filling 20+ buckets with ice-cold seawater for temporary specimen storage 

4) Aiding in the deployment and recovery of sampling gear. 

5) Removing large boulders from the opening of sampling gear to allow the bulk of the material (generally much smaller) to be removed. 

6) Removing mud and other sediment from the trawled material using a high-pressure seawater hose in combination with sieves of different mesh size 

7) Conducting a gross sort of the trawled material on the back deck of the ship and placing animals into ~8 buckets based on very broad categories (e.g., cnidarians, crustaceans, sponges, mollusks, worms, fish, etc.). 

8) Moving the buckets, filled with animals, into the first wet lab for sorting into more defined groups (e.g., soft corals vs. hard corals, shrimp vs. crabs, etc.); each specific group is placed in its own bucket of ice-cold seawater. 

9) Moving the ever-growing number of buckets to a second wet lab for identification and preservation of the animals contained within them. 

10) Laugh politely, but nervously, when a paleoceanographer asks you “What is that?” because you have no clue. Stumped by external features, you begin dissecting the animal, only to become more confused. Now the paleoceanographer asks “What was that?” You still have no clue. Perhaps the animal in new to science. Perhaps it’s simply new to you. 

11) Count the number of individuals within each type or species. 

12) Photograph a representative of each type or species. 

13) Subsample select individuals twice for subsequent DNA analysis. Place subsamples into screw cap tubes filled with either ethanol or seawater. Tag select individual using fishing line and an archival-quality paper label. Take photograph of individual that was subsampled. Run sample to the -80°C freezer located in the aft dry lab. 

14) Determine if all the individuals of a single type or species will fit better in a bottle or jar, or if the specimens are destined for the -80°C freezer, determine what size Whirl-Pak should they be placed in. 

15) Label the outside of each bottle, jar, or Whirl-Pak appropriately. 

16) Panic because the principle investigators are bringing yet another dredge to the surface before this one, or the one before it, are processed. 

17) Include an archive-quality paper label inside of each container that contains the same information as written on the outside of the container. 

18) Cringe as someone picks up a container you just wrote on and smears the label. 

19) Place all individuals of a single type or species into the container. 

20) Walk the animals from the second wet lab to the biology lab, where the preservatives noted above are stored in a fume hood. 

21) Release expletives as you realize the last shift left you with no formalin or ethanol. 

22) Cringe as you walk back to the wet lab and realize that you forgot to include the archive-quality paper label in the specimen container that now contains preservative. 

23) Realize that the next trawl is already on deck (and full of new animals to process). Panic. Contain panic. Panic. 

24) Look outside and realize you’re in the Drake Passage. Not only are you overwhelmed with samples, but you are in the roughest seas in the world trying to process them. Pray for a weather delay in overboard operations. Prayer granted…. 

By Mercer 

Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 12 °F, wind speed 20-30 knots, cloudy

Chris and Mercer sweating over some buckets in the first wet labs… the number of buckets only increases from here… (R. Waller).
Rhian, Shannon, Melissa, Andrea, Kate, David and Kais waiting for the otter trawl to arrive on deck last night (S. Jennions).
Sandy and Skip deploying the otter trawl, which is closed using the two metal doors just visible above the sea (A. Margolin).
Kais and Stian landing the otter trawl, overflowing mostly with giant sponges (S. Jennions).
Michelle, Sebastian, Andrea and David… and many sponges… (S. Jennions).




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TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011




Happy Memorial Day!





May 30th 2011 

To celebrate Memorial Day, today’s blog is a selection of one-line reactions from many of our science party to the things they have seen and experienced thus far on this expedition. 

“So many amazing experiences, trawls, dredges, and multibeam. Oh my!” 
Shannon


“A terrific selection of dedicated scientists, and they are slightly mad, enthusiastic and great fun too (plus penguins, fur seals and pack ice); who could ask for more from an expedition?” 
Michelle






“Penguins!” 
Andrea 


“Twist’a’thon Drake Passage Style!” 
Ben 


“Steep learning curve – incredible research experience” 
Eric 


“You’ve been sorting trawled material for too long when you search through your meals in anticipation of finding animals” 
Mercer 


“An eclectic mix of exciting science and interesting people, in dramatic and beautiful surroundings” 
Kate 


“Antarctica – exciting science, amazing people, fulfilled dreams” 
Kais 


“It feels like a different world out here, with an enthusiastic crew dedicated to a singular goal: corals, corals, corals!” 
David 


“Never a dull day with this group and hoping for some more fun times in the future!” 
Sebastian 


“So far, the new multibeam data we have collected has changed my interpretation of the geology of Burdwood Bank, confirmed what I knew about the Shackleton Fracture Zone, and given me new insight into the morphology of the Antarctic Shelf – not bad for two and a half weeks!” 
Kathy 


“Incredible/hard work/excellent – couldn´t be better/awesome, unbelievable!!!” 
Mariana 


“Absolutely brilliant cruise – unique sights, stellar science, outstanding people!” 
Tina 


“The taste of salty water from hosing off West Antarctic Peninsula shelf mud while sorting corals on deck evoked nostalgia and confusion because I am not at the beach.” 
Andrew 


“The Drake Lake, twister, buckets of coral, baby coral, more coral, sea creatures, sauna, cake….all I need is another tube of toothpaste and a pair of slippers to make this an excellent trip.” 
Suzy 
(P.S….we found Suzy a tube of toothpaste in case her mum is worried…..)


“Awesome science party – hard working, fun loving, data gathering machines!” 
Rhian 


“Phew, it’s all working, everyone is happy and we are doing tons of science – perfect…” 
Laura


Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 14 °F, windspeed 20-30 knots, sunny with light cloud 




Laura, Skip and Rhian (M. Brugler)
Mariana, Chris and Mercer (A. Margolin).
Sebastian and primnoid friend (A. Margolin).

 

Ben (A. Margolin).
Kate and Mariana playing Twister (A. Margolin).
John, David, Eric, Andrea and Shannon on deck (A. Margolin).
David and Suzy (A. Margolin).
Michelle (R. Waller).
Kais and fruit (M. Taylor).
Stian testing a dredge model, watched by Kathy (R. Waller).
Melissa doing some arts and crafts (R. Waller).
Laura, Skip, Andrew, and Bruce the Shark (S. Jennions).




Posted by Linda at 3:49 PM 0 comments
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PROJECT DESCRIPTION





Did you know there are corals in Antarctica?
Many people don't! The corals that live here survive in the most extreme conditions of any corals around the world. The NBP11-03 expedition will leave on the 9th May - 11th June 2011 to examine cold-water corals that straddle the Drake Passage, investigating the paleoclimate that has led to their present day biogeography.


Join us on the expedition!



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WHERE ARE WE?


 
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ARV NATHANIEL B. PALMER


 
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2008 DRAKE PASSAGE EXPEDITION


 
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Corals in the Drake Passage - NBP11-03 Expedition



9th May - 11th June 2011





























































































MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011




Packing Dos and Don’ts, Wishes and Wants





June 5th 


As we wrap up NBP1103, I thought it would be fun to apply our newfound Antarctic expertise to reflect on what each of packed for this trip. What did people pack that they subsequently didn’t need? Were there items left at home that are now desperately desired? What about items that were surprisingly useful or nice to have?


Approaching a month into the cruise, I can definitively say that I overpacked. Way overpacked. I-could-have-survived-being-abandoned-in-the-wild-for-a-year overpacked. Some things have been worthwhile; for example I brought 14 pairs of socks I am glad for all of them. But six short-sleeve t-shirts? Did I think I was going to the tropics? With some rare exceptions I’ve uniformly worn long-sleeve shirts. In fact, most of the clothing I wear was issued to me in Punta Arenas: our designated “Extreme Cold Weather” gear. It turns out the staff who live and work in Antarctica know exactly what you’ll need and, in my experience, the issue clothing has completely replaced my own over-stuffed luggage.


I decided to ask around on the ship the three questions I posed above. The range of Antarctic packing experience in the interviewees ranges from none (ie: me!) to quite a lot (our Raytheon staff, many of whom only bring down a single backpack and count on personal and issued gear left in Punta Arenas after their last trip). So, if you find yourself packing for an Antarctic trip anytime soon, best take a look at this list of packing regrets, surprises, and recommendations!


Is there an item you brought but haven’t yet used?


Laura: My own chocolate. There are so many cakes in the galley!
Kathleen: Knitting supplies
Kate: Sunglasses
Tina: Hairdryer
Chris: Personal cold-weather clothing
Mercer: Razor
Andrew: Sea sickness medications
Mariana: T-shirts
Lindsey: First aid kit
Sandy: High-heeled sandals (from a wedding prior to NBP1103)
Skip: Laptop
Melissa: Extra shampoo
George: Everything I brought
Kais: Binoculars. The ship has them!
Stian: Camera
Eric: Sick sickness wristbands
Michelle: Nail polish
David: My own cold-weather clothing (except for my REI vest, Hi Elizabeth!)
Rhian: Running sneakers
Ben: Snow boots
Suzy: Tweed shorts


Is there an item you didn’t bring but wish you had?


Laura: Hot water bottle
Kate: Third book of the Stieg Larssen trilogy
Tina: A hairband
Mercer: More photos of family
Andrew: Speakers and a 1-foot ruler
Mariana: Mate, an Argentinian infused tea
Joe: More coffee
Sheldon: Spare wireless card
Lindsey: Pajama pants
Sandy: A really good book
Melissa: Mustache/beard hat
George: A computer
Andrea: Winter boots and more black sharpies
Kais: A videocamera
Michelle: Deely boppers and HP Sauce (British thing)
David: More podcasts
Rhian: Chocolate-covered raisins
Shannon: Some DVD’s from my personal collection
Ben: A football
Suzy: Slippers


Is there something you did bring and are now really glad to have?


Laura: Purple hard-hat
Kathleen: Down comforter
Kate: Intensive hand moisturizer
Tina: A hat
Andrew: Thin gloves (For better taking photos outdoors)
Chris: An iPod
Mercer: Gum
Joe: A laptop
Lindsey: Quilting stuff
Sandy: Christmas lights!
Skip: Books
Melissa: A laptop
George: Grapefruit seed extract (for getting over colds)
John: Lots of socks
Andrea: A hot water bottle
Kais: Camera
David: Slippers, Bohnanza
Marshall: Extra video monitors for the TowCam, speakers for music
Rhian: Deely boppers (everyone has had so much enjoyment from them!)
Shannon: Chapstick
Ben: Low-cut socks
Suzy: Swimming costume for the sauna


By David


Weather: temperature 30 ºF, windchill -4 ºF, wind speed 30 knots (gusting to 40-50 knots), some sun peeking through the clouds


Figure 1: Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)


Figure 2:  


Figure 3: Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).


Figure 4:  Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!


Figure 5: Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).


Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)
David and Andrew sporting their issued United States Antarctic Program (USAP) coats on board the ARV Nathaniel B Palmer.
Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).
Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!
Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).






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Sars Seamount









 4th June 2011
We have just left our penultimate sampling site, Sars Seamount. Sars Seamount rises up dramatically from the abyssal seafloor, from 4000m up to just 500m below the sea surface. The flanks of the mountain are rugged: covered in pinnacles, ridges and steep cliffs. If it was on land it would be a popular site for extreme mountaineers and climbers. Strangely the top of Sars is completely flat, so flat in fact that we were able to trawl across the top collecting all sorts of interesting live animals and fossil remains. 

One of the reasons I was so interested to come to Sars is that it has all these features that rise to different depths, so we can find a place to sample from shallow to deep whatever the wind direction. We spent nearly a week at Sars, and during that time we have taken photos, collected water, collected bathymetric data and sampled the seafloor fauna. The photographs have blown me away – they are crystal clear glimpses into another world – we are getting a four dimensional view of Sars. Not only can we see the bathymetry – we can see the animals that are living there today – and the fossil remains of animals that inhabited the seamount tens to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Even here, so far from any city we saw signs of human activity: a rope lying on the seafloor encrusted with seafloor animals – a reminder of our ability to impact all parts of the Earth – even deep below the sea surface. 

Perhaps not surprising we saw and collected the most abundant and diverse samples at the shallower depths on the seamount. When we deploy equipment over the side we let it out at 30m per minute, so it can take a many hours to collect samples from deep sites. Despite the long times, and the lower recovery rates in deep water we worked hard to sample at 2000m water depth. In the end we were able to collect fossil coral remains from the peak of the seamount all the way down to 2000m. Together these samples will let us piece together information on the vertical structure of the water column here at Sars in the past, and compare it to the ocean currents that we have observed here today. 

I am sad to be leaving Sars, it was a wonderful place to collect samples. But today we are moving to new adventures on the shelf of Cape Horn. 

Wish us luck on our last week of sampling. 

Laura 


PS Happy Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad! 

Weather: temperature 32 ºF, winchill -4 ºF, windspeed about 30 knots, sunny intervals 

A 3D rendering of Sars Seamount prepared by Kathleen Gavahan and Shannon Hoy.

 

A fossil stylasterid coral from Sars Seamount (A. Margolin).

 

Early morning on the back deck, with Sebastian watching the dredge on its way up (R. Waller). 
Stian, Mark and John retrieving one of the many dredges recovered from Sars (R. Waller).




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A new and unbelievable experience! / Una nueva e increíble experiencia!





June 3rd/3 de Junio 

Hi, my name is Mariana. I’m a biologist; I work in the benthos lab of the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP). I have a postdoctoral fellowship (CONICET) since 2010. I am interested in echinoderms such as starfish, sea urchins, and brittlestars, and know about their distribution patterns and taxonomy along the shelf-break front in the Argentine Sea. I was selected to participate in this cruise as an Argentinean observer. Although this is not my first research cruise I was very nervous at first. I have never been a long time at sea, and in addition it would be in the Drake Passage, well-known for its rough seas and strong winds! Besides I have to be a month with new people who speak a different language! 

My nervousness disappeared when we left Punta Arenas, when I saw that all were very excited for this new experience. During the first days I met all the people on board, all of them with a strong feeling of camaraderie ready to do their best so all the cruise would be successful; What can I do? How can I help you? And all eager for knowledge – What is it? How does it work? And what is that for? I am in the day watch with other two biologists, Chris and Mercer; we sort and preserve biological material that we collect with dredges. I learned a little more about deep sea corals, live and fossils, and I helped to indentify several echinoderm species, some of them were similar to the species I work with! Some of the species I observed during this cruise, I thought that I would only see in pictures! 

Antarctica! We get to the southernmost point in the whole cruise! I don´t believe that the thousands of pictures and videos that we got, can show the emotion, happiness and beauty of that day! I got up very early that day when I saw pancake ice by the window of my cabin, there was no time to lose! The emotion of the first iceberg! Whales! Seals! Penguins! No words or pictures can explain all these sensations. 

We are now heading north and counting down the days for the end of the cruise. Drake Passage showed us a little more of its nature. Although some stations were delayed, soon, as scheduled, we will be in port with all goals reached. After all these days, I think that my initial nervousness were only normal feelings facing a new life experience! Luckily - science and laughs, stories and jokes that make you feel good, are the same in any language! 

By Mariana 



Hola, mi nombre es Mariana, soy bióloga; trabajo en el laboratorio de bentos del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP); tengo una beca postdoctoral (CONICET) desde el año 2010. Actualmente estoy trabajando en taxonomía y patrones de distribución de equinodermos a lo largo del frente de talud del Mar Argentino. Fui invitada a participar en esta campaña como observadora argentina. Al principio estaba nerviosa dado que, si bien no es mi primera campaña de investigación, nunca estuve embarcada tanto tiempo ni en el Pasaje de Drake! Conocido por sus grandes olas y fuertes vientos! Además de tener que estar un mes con gente que uno no conoce y con un idioma diferente! 

Mis nervios desaparecieron cuando dejamos Punta Arenas y vi que todos estaban igual de ansiosos por esta nueva experiencia. Con el correr de los días pude ir conociendo cada una de las personas en el barco, todos con un gran sentido de camaradería para lograr que todo salga bien, no todos los días se tiene la oportunidad de estar en una campaña de investigación en estas latitudes!! Qué hago? En que puedo ayudarte? Además todos con ganas de aprender Qué es? Como funciona? Para qué sirve? Participo en la guardia de día junto con otros dos biólogos, Chris y Mercer, separamos, clasificamos y guardamos el material biológico que colectamos con los distintos equipos. Aprendí un poco más sobre corales de profundidad, vivos y fósiles, y ayudé también a identificar algunas especies de equinodermos que resultaron similares a muchas con las que trabajo! Pude ver especies que pensé que solo las conocería por fotos! 

Antártida! Llegamos al punto más austral de toda la campaña! No creo que las miles de fotos y videos que tomamos puedan mostrar la emoción, alegría y belleza de ese día! Por supuesto fue el día que más temprano me levante, cuando vi por la ventana de mi camarote que había hielo en el agua, no había tiempo para perder! La emoción del primer iceberg! Ballenas! Focas! Pingüinos! No hay palabras ni imágenes que puedan explicar todas esas sensaciones. 

Ahora ya con rumbo norte y en cuenta regresiva. El Pasaje de Drake nos mostró un poco más de su naturaleza y aunque algunos lances fueron retrasados por su causa, en breve y en el día pautado estaremos en puerto con todos los objetivos cumplidos. Después de todos estos días creo que mis nervios iniciales fueron solo los normales frente a una nueva experiencia de vida! - por suerte tanto la ciencia como las risas, historias y bromas que hacen que uno se sienta bien, son las mismas cualquiera que sea el idioma! 

Por Mariana 



Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 10 °F, windspeed 10-20 knots, cloudy
Tiempotemperature 3°C, factor viento -10°C, velocidad del viento 10-20 nudos, nublado  

 

Mariana, our Argentinian observer, gets stuck into some sponge sorting from a trawl on Sars Seamount / Mariana, nuestra observadora de Argentina, separando esponjas del arte de arrastre en el monte submarino SARS (S. Jennions).
Some echinoderm species collected in the cruise / Algunas especies de equinodermos colectadas en esta campaña.
Iceberg in front of the West Antarctic Peninsula with a group of seals swimming between the ice sea / Iceberg frente al lado Oeste de la Península Antarctica con un grupo de focas nadando entre el hielo (M.Escolar).
Sunshine peeking through the clouds this morning/ Rayos de sol asomando entre las nubes al amanecer (A.Margolin).
“Men wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success” – advert by Ernest Shackleton for men to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole. (photo by A. Margolin).




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FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011




Tow Cam Blog





June 2nd 

The WHOI Tow Cam is a multiple instrumental package mounted onto an aluminum frame. Along with the two separate camera systems there are: Niskin Bottles for water collection, altimeters for altitude, standard CTD (see Tina’s post), batteries, data link, lasers for a measurement scale, and a whole lot of wires! The primary use of this sled is for underwater photography. Attached to the frame are two cameras that have the ability to record over 4000 images on one tow alone. 

One camera is called the DSPL, the other OIS. The DSPL produces an image with a large footprint. The OIS produces an image that has 4 times the resolution than the DSPL but the footprint of the image is much smaller. Another ingredient to this camera system is the data link, which gives us the ability to see the pictures in real time on a monitor. The data link provides ethernet up the sea cable. Which makes the camera operation exciting and fun for everybody! 

Each camera is set up to take pictures at 10-second intervals. Tow Cam operations can only happen when conditions (weather) are ideal. If the ship’s heave is too great we run the risk of “crashing” the frame and cameras on the bottom. If the winds are too high it’s difficult for the ship to hold position for deployment and recovery. And this is a risk we are NOT willing to take! 

An average deployment and recovery time is about 6-10 hours. During this process another member of the science party is plotting the ships position, speed, depth of frame, and altitude every 5 minutes. Once the frame is on board, the pictures are downloaded from the cameras and backed up, which could range from an hour to five, depending on how many pictures are on the camera and how well the coffee has been flowing that day. 

Luckily, both ships crew and officers have been unbelievable at handling the ship during operations, and controlling the over the side operations safely so we can optimize our time with the science (And there is a lot). 

When I said “TOW CAM!”, NPB 11-03 participants said: 

“Yea, Lets Do it!”… “Don’t stare at the lasers”… “GO CAM”… “live feed from Tow Cam is awesome”… “far out images”… “what I have seen is pretty cool, watch for hours, plotting lots of locations”… “brings up a lot of water”… “makes me think of my friends in the hydro lab”… “cool to watch deployment and recovery”… “mind blowing images”… “exciting to see what undisturbed habitats and life looks like 3000 meters down”… “it’s heavy”…“useful”… “crisp”… “weather”… “Bonanza”… “awesome”… “cool”… “lots of water”…“take it back out we need to rinse it off”…“amazing advancements in supportive science”… “fun seeing the real time imagery”… “backing up lots and lots of pictures”… “Daffy Duck”…“lots of logging and pictures”. 

NBP-11-03 thanks for a great cruise! 

By Ben 

Weather: temperature 35 °F, windchill 15 °F, wind speed reducing to 10 knots, sunny intervals 

Skip, Sandy and Ben deploy the Drop Cam, another type of underwater camera system (R. Waller).
The Tow Cam being deployed a few days ago (R. Waller).
Ben and Marshall in the hydrolab, looking at some Drop Cam photos today (A. Margolin).
Bonanza! David and Ben playing a card game to relax after a long day of work! (A. Margolin).
Andrea celebrates after bringing up her first dredge (M. Swartz).




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THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2011




Reminders of Home





1 June 2011 

As a researcher investigating deep-sea and cold-water organisms, a large part of my life is spent at sea collecting samples and data to be analyzed once we head back to shore. In fact, by the end of this cruise I will have spent 685 days at sea since 2000, the year I started my Ph.D. at the Southampton Oceanography Center in the UK. That’s just shy of two whole years I’ve spent on the rolling ocean, and a long time to be away from home, friends and family. Because most of my cruises go to remote places, they also tend to be long, just a small handful of the 31 cruises I’ve been on have been less than 3 weeks, and 5 weeks is more the norm. This is nothing compared to the Raytheon Polar Services Technicians we have out here though, or the crew of the ARV NB Palmer, many of whom spend many months at a time down here. 

So how do people stay connected at sea and what reminders of home do they bring? 

For me it’s pictures. On the wall in front of me right now are pictures of my little niece and my dog, and a drawing my 6yr old neighbor drew and emailed out to me (Hi Karter!). On my computer I frequently wander through photos of my last trip to the UK (where i’m from), my nephew and niece, trips with friends and photos of my new home in Maine. 

Marshall (who often spends more time at sea than on land!) brings along his coffee maker and mug for down in the lab and a personal throw rug and folding chair for up in his bunk-room. “Just something to make the space more personal and cover the cold floor” he says. 

For George it’s not so much things, but phone calls that keep him in the loop (and who could expect less from our Electronics Technician). Reliable satellite phones are often still rare at sea, but we’re lucky on the ARV NB Palmer to have a “moral phone”, for those times you just need to check in. George calls his daughters and mother to keep in touch with what’s happening in the ‘real world’. 

As we start to reach the homestretch of this cruise, it certainly makes me think more of home and wondering what’s been happening back there the last 3 weeks. Is it warm in Maine now? Are the black flies gone? What is under all those snow piles I left behind? How much paperwork is piled on my desk awaiting my return? I guess some things I’m more excited about than others….. 

By: Rhian 

Weather: temperature 33 °F, windchill -4 °F, wind speed 30-40 knots, cloudy with some sun 

Rhian’s ‘desk’ in the dry lab. Nestled amongst the shift and berthing lists, paperwork, daily plans and notes-to-self are photos and drawings from home. (R. Waller).
Sometimes creating a little levity in an ordinary day helps everyone when away from home for such long periods of time. Over the map table, Rhian calls the Bridge with the coordinates for the next dredge. (K. Scanlon).
Coffee break in the cold room! From left to right: Sebastian, Kais, Melissa, Shannon, Eric, Michelle and John (R. Waller).
Andrea doing some arts and crafts (R. Waller).
Mercer looking for biology in a photograph taken by the Towcam (A. Margolin)
Laura and Skip running the dredge again, after a few hours downtime due to bad weather (A. Margolin).




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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011




An extremely young group of scientists process animals in the Drake Passage





May 31st 

How many doctors (of philosophy) does it take to ensure a successful research cruise? Well, that depends on whether you take the census at the front end or back end of the cruise. One of us (myself) boarded this cruise as a PhD candidate, and will return as a doctor. Two other biologists, Michelle from Imperial College London and Eric from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, submitted their dissertation to their advisors only moments before and during the cruise respectively. Although a few years away from being a doctor, biologist Sebastian successfully completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Maine only days before departing for Punta Arenas, Chile. 

Eric and Michelle lead the midnight to noon biology shift while Mercer and Chris (graduate student at the University of Maine) head the noon to midnight shift. Sebastian supports the former shift, while Argentinean observer Mariana supports the latter. Both parties are responsible for processing animals obtained during overboard operations. ‘Processing’ is a broad term that refers to the following activities: 

1) Mixing formaldehyde with seawater to make formalin, a (nasty) reagent that preserves morphological structures very well, but not DNA. 

2) Mixing ethanol with pure water to make a reagent that preserves DNA (i.e., genetic information). Ethanol is very dry and distorts morphological structures. 

3) Filling 20+ buckets with ice-cold seawater for temporary specimen storage 

4) Aiding in the deployment and recovery of sampling gear. 

5) Removing large boulders from the opening of sampling gear to allow the bulk of the material (generally much smaller) to be removed. 

6) Removing mud and other sediment from the trawled material using a high-pressure seawater hose in combination with sieves of different mesh size 

7) Conducting a gross sort of the trawled material on the back deck of the ship and placing animals into ~8 buckets based on very broad categories (e.g., cnidarians, crustaceans, sponges, mollusks, worms, fish, etc.). 

8) Moving the buckets, filled with animals, into the first wet lab for sorting into more defined groups (e.g., soft corals vs. hard corals, shrimp vs. crabs, etc.); each specific group is placed in its own bucket of ice-cold seawater. 

9) Moving the ever-growing number of buckets to a second wet lab for identification and preservation of the animals contained within them. 

10) Laugh politely, but nervously, when a paleoceanographer asks you “What is that?” because you have no clue. Stumped by external features, you begin dissecting the animal, only to become more confused. Now the paleoceanographer asks “What was that?” You still have no clue. Perhaps the animal in new to science. Perhaps it’s simply new to you. 

11) Count the number of individuals within each type or species. 

12) Photograph a representative of each type or species. 

13) Subsample select individuals twice for subsequent DNA analysis. Place subsamples into screw cap tubes filled with either ethanol or seawater. Tag select individual using fishing line and an archival-quality paper label. Take photograph of individual that was subsampled. Run sample to the -80°C freezer located in the aft dry lab. 

14) Determine if all the individuals of a single type or species will fit better in a bottle or jar, or if the specimens are destined for the -80°C freezer, determine what size Whirl-Pak should they be placed in. 

15) Label the outside of each bottle, jar, or Whirl-Pak appropriately. 

16) Panic because the principle investigators are bringing yet another dredge to the surface before this one, or the one before it, are processed. 

17) Include an archive-quality paper label inside of each container that contains the same information as written on the outside of the container. 

18) Cringe as someone picks up a container you just wrote on and smears the label. 

19) Place all individuals of a single type or species into the container. 

20) Walk the animals from the second wet lab to the biology lab, where the preservatives noted above are stored in a fume hood. 

21) Release expletives as you realize the last shift left you with no formalin or ethanol. 

22) Cringe as you walk back to the wet lab and realize that you forgot to include the archive-quality paper label in the specimen container that now contains preservative. 

23) Realize that the next trawl is already on deck (and full of new animals to process). Panic. Contain panic. Panic. 

24) Look outside and realize you’re in the Drake Passage. Not only are you overwhelmed with samples, but you are in the roughest seas in the world trying to process them. Pray for a weather delay in overboard operations. Prayer granted…. 

By Mercer 

Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 12 °F, wind speed 20-30 knots, cloudy

Chris and Mercer sweating over some buckets in the first wet labs… the number of buckets only increases from here… (R. Waller).
Rhian, Shannon, Melissa, Andrea, Kate, David and Kais waiting for the otter trawl to arrive on deck last night (S. Jennions).
Sandy and Skip deploying the otter trawl, which is closed using the two metal doors just visible above the sea (A. Margolin).
Kais and Stian landing the otter trawl, overflowing mostly with giant sponges (S. Jennions).
Michelle, Sebastian, Andrea and David… and many sponges… (S. Jennions).




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TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011




Happy Memorial Day!





May 30th 2011 

To celebrate Memorial Day, today’s blog is a selection of one-line reactions from many of our science party to the things they have seen and experienced thus far on this expedition. 

“So many amazing experiences, trawls, dredges, and multibeam. Oh my!” 
Shannon


“A terrific selection of dedicated scientists, and they are slightly mad, enthusiastic and great fun too (plus penguins, fur seals and pack ice); who could ask for more from an expedition?” 
Michelle






“Penguins!” 
Andrea 


“Twist’a’thon Drake Passage Style!” 
Ben 


“Steep learning curve – incredible research experience” 
Eric 


“You’ve been sorting trawled material for too long when you search through your meals in anticipation of finding animals” 
Mercer 


“An eclectic mix of exciting science and interesting people, in dramatic and beautiful surroundings” 
Kate 


“Antarctica – exciting science, amazing people, fulfilled dreams” 
Kais 


“It feels like a different world out here, with an enthusiastic crew dedicated to a singular goal: corals, corals, corals!” 
David 


“Never a dull day with this group and hoping for some more fun times in the future!” 
Sebastian 


“So far, the new multibeam data we have collected has changed my interpretation of the geology of Burdwood Bank, confirmed what I knew about the Shackleton Fracture Zone, and given me new insight into the morphology of the Antarctic Shelf – not bad for two and a half weeks!” 
Kathy 


“Incredible/hard work/excellent – couldn´t be better/awesome, unbelievable!!!” 
Mariana 


“Absolutely brilliant cruise – unique sights, stellar science, outstanding people!” 
Tina 


“The taste of salty water from hosing off West Antarctic Peninsula shelf mud while sorting corals on deck evoked nostalgia and confusion because I am not at the beach.” 
Andrew 


“The Drake Lake, twister, buckets of coral, baby coral, more coral, sea creatures, sauna, cake….all I need is another tube of toothpaste and a pair of slippers to make this an excellent trip.” 
Suzy 
(P.S….we found Suzy a tube of toothpaste in case her mum is worried…..)


“Awesome science party – hard working, fun loving, data gathering machines!” 
Rhian 


“Phew, it’s all working, everyone is happy and we are doing tons of science – perfect…” 
Laura


Weather: temperature 37 °F, windchill 14 °F, windspeed 20-30 knots, sunny with light cloud 




Laura, Skip and Rhian (M. Brugler)
Mariana, Chris and Mercer (A. Margolin).
Sebastian and primnoid friend (A. Margolin).

 

Ben (A. Margolin).
Kate and Mariana playing Twister (A. Margolin).
John, David, Eric, Andrea and Shannon on deck (A. Margolin).
David and Suzy (A. Margolin).
Michelle (R. Waller).
Kais and fruit (M. Taylor).
Stian testing a dredge model, watched by Kathy (R. Waller).
Melissa doing some arts and crafts (R. Waller).
Laura, Skip, Andrew, and Bruce the Shark (S. Jennions).




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PROJECT DESCRIPTION





Did you know there are corals in Antarctica?
Many people don't! The corals that live here survive in the most extreme conditions of any corals around the world. The NBP11-03 expedition will leave on the 9th May - 11th June 2011 to examine cold-water corals that straddle the Drake Passage, investigating the paleoclimate that has led to their present day biogeography.


Join us on the expedition!



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ARV NATHANIEL B. PALMER


 
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2008 DRAKE PASSAGE EXPEDITION


 
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Packing Dos and Don’ts, Wishes and Wants





June 5th 


As we wrap up NBP1103, I thought it would be fun to apply our newfound Antarctic expertise to reflect on what each of packed for this trip. What did people pack that they subsequently didn’t need? Were there items left at home that are now desperately desired? What about items that were surprisingly useful or nice to have?


Approaching a month into the cruise, I can definitively say that I overpacked. Way overpacked. I-could-have-survived-being-abandoned-in-the-wild-for-a-year overpacked. Some things have been worthwhile; for example I brought 14 pairs of socks I am glad for all of them. But six short-sleeve t-shirts? Did I think I was going to the tropics? With some rare exceptions I’ve uniformly worn long-sleeve shirts. In fact, most of the clothing I wear was issued to me in Punta Arenas: our designated “Extreme Cold Weather” gear. It turns out the staff who live and work in Antarctica know exactly what you’ll need and, in my experience, the issue clothing has completely replaced my own over-stuffed luggage.


I decided to ask around on the ship the three questions I posed above. The range of Antarctic packing experience in the interviewees ranges from none (ie: me!) to quite a lot (our Raytheon staff, many of whom only bring down a single backpack and count on personal and issued gear left in Punta Arenas after their last trip). So, if you find yourself packing for an Antarctic trip anytime soon, best take a look at this list of packing regrets, surprises, and recommendations!


Is there an item you brought but haven’t yet used?


Laura: My own chocolate. There are so many cakes in the galley!
Kathleen: Knitting supplies
Kate: Sunglasses
Tina: Hairdryer
Chris: Personal cold-weather clothing
Mercer: Razor
Andrew: Sea sickness medications
Mariana: T-shirts
Lindsey: First aid kit
Sandy: High-heeled sandals (from a wedding prior to NBP1103)
Skip: Laptop
Melissa: Extra shampoo
George: Everything I brought
Kais: Binoculars. The ship has them!
Stian: Camera
Eric: Sick sickness wristbands
Michelle: Nail polish
David: My own cold-weather clothing (except for my REI vest, Hi Elizabeth!)
Rhian: Running sneakers
Ben: Snow boots
Suzy: Tweed shorts


Is there an item you didn’t bring but wish you had?


Laura: Hot water bottle
Kate: Third book of the Stieg Larssen trilogy
Tina: A hairband
Mercer: More photos of family
Andrew: Speakers and a 1-foot ruler
Mariana: Mate, an Argentinian infused tea
Joe: More coffee
Sheldon: Spare wireless card
Lindsey: Pajama pants
Sandy: A really good book
Melissa: Mustache/beard hat
George: A computer
Andrea: Winter boots and more black sharpies
Kais: A videocamera
Michelle: Deely boppers and HP Sauce (British thing)
David: More podcasts
Rhian: Chocolate-covered raisins
Shannon: Some DVD’s from my personal collection
Ben: A football
Suzy: Slippers


Is there something you did bring and are now really glad to have?


Laura: Purple hard-hat
Kathleen: Down comforter
Kate: Intensive hand moisturizer
Tina: A hat
Andrew: Thin gloves (For better taking photos outdoors)
Chris: An iPod
Mercer: Gum
Joe: A laptop
Lindsey: Quilting stuff
Sandy: Christmas lights!
Skip: Books
Melissa: A laptop
George: Grapefruit seed extract (for getting over colds)
John: Lots of socks
Andrea: A hot water bottle
Kais: Camera
David: Slippers, Bohnanza
Marshall: Extra video monitors for the TowCam, speakers for music
Rhian: Deely boppers (everyone has had so much enjoyment from them!)
Shannon: Chapstick
Ben: Low-cut socks
Suzy: Swimming costume for the sauna


By David


Weather: temperature 30 ºF, windchill -4 ºF, wind speed 30 knots (gusting to 40-50 knots), some sun peeking through the clouds


Figure 1: Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)


Figure 2:  


Figure 3: Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).


Figure 4:  Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!


Figure 5: Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).


Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)
David and Andrew sporting their issued United States Antarctic Program (USAP) coats on board the ARV Nathaniel B Palmer.
Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).
Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!
Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).

 

 
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