For our final picture of the day, we send you a photo of most of the LTER scientists and Raytheon support crew taken on the 01 deck on 1 February just after we spent a morning on Peterman Island. Captain Verret and his crew were not able to join us - but they made sure that the background for the picture was appropriate! Tomorrow morning (8 February) we dock in Punta Arenas after a smooth and uneventful crossing. King Neptune was good to us! Photo Credit: W. Koslowski
This year has been remarkable for humpback whales. We've seen at least 40 humpbacks, from flukes, to breeching and just swimming by. This humpback is spyhopping, which is thought to just be a way for them to take a look as to what is going on outside of the water. You can see the barnacles growing all around it's face, which is very characteristic.
Our Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project studies various aspects of the Antarctic food web including the sunlight put into the system, water chemistry, phytoplankton (microscopic algae), bacteria, zooplankton and seabirds. Today's photo highlights some of the data collection methods of our phytoplankton group. Since primary productivity (algal growth rates) varies with the amount of light available, each sampling session begins by measuring light saturation at various depths. Our photo shows Pete Horne lowering an instrument called a Profiling Reflectance Radiometer (PRR) which allows us to identify the depths where we will collect water samples. Knowing those depths, we can measure the variation in primary productivity of phytoplankton collected from those depths. To gather this water of interest, a rosette with 25 water collection bottles that can be tripped to open by an on-board computer at any chosen depth is lowered by a winch into the water . In addition to the collection bottles, the rosette also has a Conductivity (salinity), Temperature and Depth (CTD) instrument strapped on board to help us find out more information about the water column being sampled (the larger portion of our photo). Dangling beside the ship outside the doors of the Baltic room is a moderately precarious position for our sensitive and expensive CTD instrument, so our Marine Technicians (MTs) keep an eye on the instrument and/or cable systems supporting the instrument during the entire CTD cast - sometimes 4 hours in the deepest water - brrrrr!! The last corner of our photo shows MT Pete Dal Ferro keeping warm while monitoring the cast. Photo credit: J.Watson, J.Bechtel.
Today we feature one of the sampling tools for the group studying zooplankton and micro-nekton in the pelagic (upper 300 m) of the ocean. Here we see the larger net being brought back on board by (from left) Mike Holmes, Pete Dal Ferro (MT) and Michelle Fuller. This 2-m on a side, fixed-frame net and a smaller one about 1/4 this size are used to document the spatial and temporal variability in the zooplankton community. The depressor (on the deck between Pete and the net) hangs down below the net when in the water, and helps keep the net oriented for efficient fishing. Mike and Michelle are using 'tag lines' to control the net's movements for a safe retrieval which is especially important as the seas increase in roughness. The focus of the on-board analysis is on the most abundant species that graze on the phytoplankton community, particularly the Antarctic krill and a salp. Antarctic krill are also one of the key prey items for many of the penguins and seals. Many experiments are performed on Antarctic krill in the aquarium room on board in order to understand how their production rates (growth and egg production) vary with environmental conditions. Photo Credit: C.Raulfs
Today's picture highlights two well known members of the LMG crew: Rudy Lucas and Fernando Naraga. Both of them live on the Philippines Islands and commute to work down here in the Southern Ocean for 10 months of the year. Fernando has been a deck hand and excellent winch operator on this ship since it came on line in 1998. Rudy has been nourishing us with good food for the last two years. Once a week or so they treat us with an outdoor BBQ dinner - Mmmm, mmm! Photo Credit: W.Kozlowski
Note, please read (sing?) this little ditty by the two 'Js' to the tune of Gilligan's Island: "Now sit right back and you'll hear the tale....the tale of a fateful trip...that started from a Chilean port, aboard this orange ship. The weather started getting rough, all the science was called off...if not for the courage of the fearless crew our cookies might have been tossed, our cookies might have been tossed. We sailed for six long hours to a sheltered sampling spot, the water was much tamer there and we sure did accomplish a lot...." The rest of the song is to be continued...wish us luck! As you may have figured out, we recently hit some rougher weather as this picture shows some of the waves from the second level of the ship. Photo Credit: J.Watson
This photo captures an iceberg at its best. These white giants fill the southern ocean surrounding Antarctica. Bergs originate as glaciers and ice shelves calve into the ocean. Bergs can range from the size of a house to the size of a state. All bergs eventually melt due to the affects on the salty sea. We are told that this year the numbers of bergs along the Antarctic Peninsula are much higher than in most recent years. We saw this one in the Grandidier Channel where we worked during the storm.
Antarctica is known as the highest, driest, coldest continent on earth. It could also be said that it is the most refined and the most unbridled as well. Since ninety nine percent of Antarctica's surface is covered with ice, it is only at the very fringe that the composition of the remaining one percent becomes apparent. Enroute to Antarctica by ship we travel along the coastal mountains of the peninsula. These mountains, when visible through heavy clouds, are perhaps the most majestic in the world. Photo Credit: P Home
On January 16th in the Grandidier Channel just north of Renaud Island, we had our second process station of the cruise. The activities of the day included CTD casts, net tows, and a survey of the seabirds in a small archipelago in the sound. This photo shows Heidi Geisz scooping feces in an Adlie penguin/Blue Eyed Shag colony in the archipelago. This was the first official survey in 15 years, and we were looking specifically for changes in the Adlie penguin populations. Thus, we will compare Adlie population changes in the Grandidier with changes we have noted in our local penguin colonies around Palmer Station. Additional data documenting the diet composition of the Grandidier Adlie will be analyzed in combination with phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria data collected on the ship the same day to help us look at the complete marine ecosystem. Photo credit: C. Bock
These are pictures of the recovery operations for the deep ocean sediment trap we retrieved yesterday. The trap has a big funnel with collecting cups underneath, to collect the "rain" of particles falling through the water column. A new cup rotates into position under the funnel at predetermined intervals (one week to one month, depending on the season and expected sedimentation rate). This sedimentation process is what feeds the organisms in the deep sea with food produced in the sunlit layer at the surface, 100's - 1000's of meters above. The trap was deployed (set out on a mooring 300 meters deep) last January and stayed there, anchored to the bottom, for one year until successfully recovered yesterday. At the upper left are the yellow 'hard hats' that provide flotation under the ocean's surface coming aboard during retrieval, with Liz Caporelli (MPC, Marine Projects Coordinator). Liz watches the sediment trap come aboard in the photo to the right. At the bottom left, four of the sediment trap team (Jordan Watson, Pete DalFerro, Fred Stuart, Liz Caporelli) discuss the deployment of the new trap with 1000 pounds of weight to anchor it on the bottom for the coming year. Photo Credit: H.Ducklow
Today's photo is of Mt. William which lies on the southern end of Anvers Island near Palmer Station. On 18 January we returned to this area at the northern end of our study grid to run a high density or mini-grid. The mini-grid was designed by reviewing recent satellite data indicating where Adelie penguins have been feeding in the Palmer area. A focused bird survey was conducted while simultaneously recording acoustic data, and taking samples from the water column. The goal of this particular study was to examine the relationship between phytoplankton, krill, and Adelie penguins in a known foraging area of the penguins nesting near Palmer. Photo Credit: R. Leeser
Today pictures feature a variety of the people and places on board the Laurence M. Gould. Clockwise form upper right: Fred Stuart one of the ships Electronics Techs (ET's) works away in the E-Lab, perhaps routing yesterday's picture of the day. Below: Hugh Ducklow and Gene Burreson prepare samples for analysis in a portable lab secured to the rear deck. Next: Heidi Geisz and Brett Pickering review data from recent bird surveys. Last: Gene looks on as Mary Turnipseed examines Hydroids in the wet lab. That concludes this installment of tight spaces and familiar faces. Photo credit: C.Raulfs
Today's picture features one of two 44 person life boats that are part of the ship's safety equipment. During our ship orientation we were brought up to this life boat, all piled in and strapped into our seats. It is a tight fit with 20 people and would certainly be a torturous way to spend time, if it were ever necessary. These life boats are motorized and contain food and water rations. In addition to these two life boats there are also four 25 person and two 20 person inflatable life rafts. Note the title of the photo however! Photo Credit: P. Home
Thar she blows! As we retrieved the 1-meter net today at a station about 60 kilometers off shore of Adelaide Island, the Laurence M.Gould was paid a visit by two curious Humpback whales. We saw many aggregations of Antarctic krill on the acoustic records, a quantitative fish finder, at this station. Whales from all over the southern hemisphere migrate south during the austral summer to feed amongst the rich waters of the Antarctic. Since most of the whales we've seen so far have been at considerable distance, to have whales this near the ship was quite a treat. Photo Credit: J.Watson
Today's photo features three Raytheon staff members, Fred Stuart, Pete DalFerro, and Jordan Watson. They are celebrating "crazy hair day" by showing their support and excitement for being a part of the LTER team. LTER stands for Long-Term Ecological Research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. There are 24 ongoing LTER projects, ranging from Appalachian stream systems to the pelagic marine ecosystem west of the Antarctic Peninsula the Palmer LTER. Fred, Pete, and Jordan are conducting their own long-term research project to see if their hair will grow back before the end of the cruise! Photo Credit: R.Ross
Today we chose a photo of an experimental setup on the 01 deck, or the deck above the main deck. The tubes are made of special materials that exclude some wavelengths of light, for example ultra violet light. The ultra violet light (UV) incubation tubes are used to look at the effects of UV on phytoplankton over set periods of time. Screen filters only let a certain percentage of sunlight through to the phytoplankton in the tubes to mimic different depths of water in the ocean. Erin, Jeff and Peter from the phytoplankton lab group are checking the tubes to verify the percentages of filtered sunlight.
You may have wondered about the several days of absence of pictures of the day...Tonight the committee chose pictures that will come in three messages to show you where we were and some of what we have been doing. On January 25th we visited Rothera, a British research station on the east side of Adelaide Island. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) established a sampling regime for a seasonal time series for the water column and benthic communities in the mid-1990s. One of the goals of the visit is to foster the collaborative effort we have established to compare the results of these two time series about 400 km apart, Palmer LTER's at Palmer Station and BAS at Rothera. We exchanged 12 of our scientists and research support people for 12 people stationed at Rothera for a day at sea. Those of us that got off the ship were given a tour of the station and a chance to learn some of what's going on at Rothera while scientists on the ship were cross calibrating their instruments and comparing results from the two sites. We did not dock when we first arrived at 0700, and people were carried in the basket shown in the photo off of the ship and onto the dock. Then BAS personnel were carried on the return trip. Pictured (clockwise from the blue hardhat) being transported from the LMG are Adriana Veloza, Liz Caporelli, Michelle Ferrara, and Michelle Fuller. Holding the tag line is one of our marine technicians, Chuck Holloway. Photo credit: R. Ross
Picture two from our day with the Brits - We spent a wonderful day at Rothera. During our visit there were nearly 100 people living on base, with many field camps with another 40 - 50 people spread out over hundreds of miles. Unlike Palmer Station, Rothera has an airstrip which is functional during the spring and summer months. The BAS aircraft fleet was impressive, and includes twin otters and a Dasch-7. If the weather is amenable, the pilots fly to field camps all over the peninsula and continent. The Dasch-7 brings fuel and people from the Falkland Islands (which is serviced by commercial airlines) all season long, and also ferries fuel to caches all over the Antarctic Peninsula. The twin otters are used to service the field camps, and for mapping and photography. They fly home to Great Britain at the end of the season. Watching the twin otter pictured here land on the runway was one of the highlights of the day. Photo credit: H. Geisz
And the final picture from our day with the British - After trading people with the personnel basket, the LMG sailed south a short way to Jenny Island where we did a CTD cast to cross-calibrate our two instruments with the BAS CTD strapped to the ship's rosette. We then moved closer to Jenny Island and launched a zodiac with a field team of birders. The birders put together an Adelie penguin catching expedition, and got diet samples from birds from near and on Jenny Island to compare to last year's diet samples from birds from the same area, and to diet samples from Adelie penguins from near Palmer and from Trundle Island 400 km north. After several penguins were worked up, the team headed north in the zodiac to meet the ship at Rothera at 1600, and to join everyone for the social events of the evening. Groups of minke whales and several species of seals were spotted very close to the zodiac during the beautiful eleven mile trip from Jenny to Rothera. This picture shows the team in the zodiac against the backdrop of the harbor at Rothera.
Picture of the Night Hey Hey its the night crew, people say we're never around. But the truth of the matter is we sleep all day and work all night. During the wee hours of the night we are more likely to run into a cephlapod or pteropod, like the ones in the picture, than a fellow crew member. We have come across many incredible animals along with the krill brought up in the night tow. The ones included in the picture are an amphipod, tomopterid, pteropod on the left and a fish egg, squid, and eusirus (aka the zen master) on the right. The crazy ones in the middle are Charlie, Matt, and Lyndon. There are alot of good times shared in the small night crew (which also includes Chuck and Martin who are not pictured) and we take pride in being the only fools up to watch the sunsetand sunrise everyday over Antarctic seas.
Today's Picture of the Day features work done by the Microbial Ecology team on board the LM Gould led by Dr. Hugh Ducklow from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Center: Callie Raulfs and Mary Turnipseed collect water samples from the CTD. Top Left: Mary analyzes water samples for dissolved oxygen levels using the Winkler titration system. Bottom Left: closeup of the Winkler Titration system containing a vial of water being analyzed. Bottom Center: Leigh McCallister pipets water samples into tubes for later bacterial abundance analysis by flow cytometry. Right bottom: Callie peers at a slide containing stained surface seawater under the microscope. Right top: The slide contains an abundance of phytoplankton including a colony of Phaeocystis sp.
Palmer Station is a Western Antarctic Peninsula marine biome LTER site.