Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Today was a special day for the ACES team, instead of sampling, we hosted a Family Science Day for kids and adults alike. It involved fun activities to learn about local creatures as well as a talk going into a bit more detail on our research. It was a great success, and here are some pictures from the event.
Monday, August 11, 2014
I have tried to tell my friends from Florida how bad the mosquitoes are on the North Slope of Alaska but pictures always fail to show how bad. This picture only shows a couple dozen sitting on Sam’s head, what is not shown is the swarm of hundreds that are buzzing around our heads at any given time.
NOAA ecotoxicologist, Sarah Allen, came to join us to collect baseline hydrocarbon data. Here she is setting up her passive samplers in the water column. This data will be invaluable in proving injury to nearshore ecosystems in the event of an oil spill.
This week we had a mysterious appearance of millions of black pteropods. These creatures are commonly called the angels of the ocean as they have wing-like structures that they use to fly around the oceans. Most people don’t realize that these are actually a type of snail, and the wing is a modified foot. This picture shows the team digging through the countless pteropods trying to find the fish hidden underneath.
In order to better understand foodweb dynamics in our sampling sites, I am collecting plankton using a 0.5m diameter 500 micron net towed behind a boat, as well as stacked sieves to collect the smaller plankters. After I filter the water, I flush the particles off of the sieve mesh and collect the runoff. This concentrated mixture of plankton is then run through a Fluid Imaging FlowCAM, an instrument that takes a magnified picture of every particle that passes through it. This allows us to quantify the types of plankton that are available for fish to eat.
One of the great things about the design of our RV Nanuk is that all of the electronics are raises high off the water. Even if a large wave hits it, the pontoons can become completely submerged by the wave and it will not affect the electronics that are high and dry.
Our team posing in front of the “Hollywood” sampling site. This site was names because of the houses seen in the background that were featured in the movie “Nanook of the North”.
This is by far the most awkward catch we have seen. A very large hermit crab that has tried to shove itself into the tiniest shell. This goes to show how little choice there is for these creatures in Barrow, there are not many snails to steal shells from. One thing that is really cool is that its exoskeleton had a copper colored iridescence that can be seen on the chelipeds (claws) in this picture.