Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/19/2014 #2: Back on Dry Land and Scientific Success

Hauling in the 'Lander'

"If you get 50% of what you hoped to do done during a field day (when the weather is foul), you're doing pretty good." 
-Dr. Will Ambrose

Today the group split into 3 different parties:
1. Mike and Julie Retelle took to the raised beaches of Ingoya to start preliminary mapping to try and understand the sea level history of Ingoya's past. 

2. Maddie, Irene, Michael, and Randall took a small boat out to recover shallow water clams with the dredge. 

3. Rob, Will, Al, Aubrey, and Dan went with Thorleif on the big boat to recover the 'Lander" and hopefully other moored equipment around the corner on the island.

So far, all groups met success. The small group came back with near 60 clams that will be used by both Maddie and Irene. Maddie will be looking at the clam shells to further build her Ingoya chronologies (counting growth layers and using oxygen isotopes to reconstruct climate parameters). Irene will use the clam tissue to study growth and reproduction and how it relates to biophysical parameters such as environmental temperature, light, salinity, food availability, and water turbidity. 
The small boat party getting ready to take off
The large boat group, of which I was on, was able to brave some pretty gnarly seas to recover two cumbersome pieces of equipment amidst the waves. The 'lander' holds clams in-situ and monitors the opening and closing of the bivalves through electrodes epoxied onto the shell exterior. It also has environmental monitoring probes of which Rob and Irene can pair the physiological data of the clams to. This is all a means for us to understand the 'now' and what environmental conditions manifest themselves into actual clam growth so we can use older clams to infer past environmental conditions. To see the process of today's field work please check out the pictures and captions below…
plus video! This one courtesy of Al Wanamaker.
Al as we take off on the big boat
Arghhhhh! Psyched to be hitting the seas, though a bit rough
We met up with the small boat at sea
A crucial part of retrieving any mooring is using the hook to snag it prior to loading the line into the winch. Here is Will masterfully bringing it home.
Winches help a lot but this thing is bulky
Maneuvering it into the boat takes many hands. You also have to take into account that if this thing swings wrong it will take you out. The legs are filled with lead to help anchor it on the ocean bottom but also, if there is an air bubble in the sealed leg and it goes to deep ocean depths, the intense pressure would cause the leg to implode. 
Safely on board (photo courtesy of Al Wanamaker)
Note the electrodes on the clam shell of the slightly exposed center clam
Out of the 'lander' it is time to download data. The clam trays need to be kept immersed in salt water in large bins after this point.
Now for the small boat results:
Excellent clam specimens! Note how they grow their annual layers just like the tree rings on the picnic bench stool. 
The dredge brings in more than just live clams but also gravel and shells from the sea bottom. I collected numerous for Mary Wiggin, Thornton Academy Marine Biology teacher.
Irene with bagged samples for analysis
The second mooring the big boat crew recovered. A temperature probe moored at exactly 5 meters above the bottom on the line. Note the nice anchor that well, anchored it.
This hitchhiker was found on the temperature probe line: A "Tunicate" as my biologist friends have informed me. The crazy thing is that it is actually a chordate making it much closer to us genetically than you might think…kind of looks like a milky eye…eeeek
We'll end things with a little boat rocking to lull you to slumber though I doubt that will work if you've managed to make it this far. 

No comments:

Post a Comment