300 Meters Down
We arrived on station. Sample bags and bottles have long been prepped and labeled ready for this moment. The multibeam, CTD, and Yoyo Cam have been completed. Finally, the Megacore has gone down to the bottom of the ocean floor and is on its way back up. It’s 300m down now. It’s time to gear up. We begin by adding extra layers like a fleece jacket, a pair of fleece pants, a hat, and an extra pair of socks. Next comes the rubber bibs, the steal toe boots, and the rubber gloves. Last, we stop by the mud room to dawn our big orange float coat and hard hat. We are ready. The Megacore is still being slowly pulled up to the surface. We head out to the back deck to anxiously wait for its arrival. Only 50m down now. We watch the wire over the edge of the ship waiting to see the lights of the Megacore come into view. It’s 20m down still and we can already see it! Excitement bubbles up as people place their bets on how many of the 12 cores will contain sediment and how many cm deep that sediment will be. The Megacore is brought on deck, and we scramble to see what it holds. But alas, the cores come up empty. But that’s field work, baby! We’ll have to try again at the next station.
Over the course of the research cruise, the Megacore has emerged from the water with the ideal outcome of all 12 cores filled with 15cm of sediment, all the cores completely empty, and everywhere in between. We have learned to adapt to our surroundings and make the best of each muddy situation. With time, we became a well-oiled machine knowing what to do and when to do it. With science all wrapped up and now looking back at the entirety of the cruise, I think it’s safe to say it was a success! We collected sediments from several sites and are now on our journey home. Back at CMU, DNA/RNA will be extracted from the sediments and sent out for sequencing which will allow us to see what the bacteria that reside in sediments are doing!
This research cruise has been an incredible adventure, and I can’t fully comprehend that I was a part of something like this. There is an endless list of things I loved. I loved looking out at the ice searching for life. I loved the sunsets. I loved seeing the southern lights. I loved watching movies in the lounge after shift change. I loved seeing the cores come up full of sediment. I loved seeing all the animals that the trawls brought up. I loved being surrounded by those so passionate and excited about their science and the animals they found. The list goes on. Really, I just loved my time here being part of the cruise.
P.S. Happy birthday to Jake, our fourth mud crew member from UTK!!!
Central Michigan University
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