Wednesday, July 30, 2014

changing things up a bit

This week we changed things up a bit. Since Kevin Boswell and the rest of the crew were in town this week, beach seining wasn’t our only activity. The aim is to use as many different sampling techniques as possible at the same time so that the data can be compared and contrasted; in order to accomplish this we had to give Kevin one of our ATVs to move his autonomous acoustic sampling boat to the sampling location. Ann reaped the benefits of this change as she laid down in the boat as a trailered it to the site!

Pulling the seine net out of the water is hard labor but it’s relatively easy compared to the following portion: we have to get on all fours and crawl around on the net looking for all the juvenile and larval fish. This may sound easy but they are very hard to spot, for example, try to spot the larval snailfish in this image on the bottom; it looks a lot like a see-through tadpole and the easiest way to spot them is to look for eyes. These larval snailfish are definitely the winners of the “Most Adorable Arctic Fish Award”… just look at that face!

Next in line was the acoustic survey. Here, Kevin and I are looking at the data to figure out the best place to put the boat in the water. This is also a great opportunity to thank one of our sponsors: Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. If you still don’t understand why people spend more than $10 on sunglasses, you have simply never worn a pair of Costas.

The RV Nanuk is so easy to drive that anyone who has ever played a video game can do it. Here is one of the local biology interns, Yosty Storms, driving the Nanuk for the first time and collecting valuable data for us.

Trailering all this gear through the gritty sand can be hard on our gear and it helps that I am a self-certified mechanic. The wheels on our trailer had started seizing and I decided it was time to change the bearings, and boy was I right! The picture on the right shows me holding a good bear next to the remains of the bearing that was currently on the trailer.

We ended the week with a radio show on KBRW, the local Barrow radio station. This was a great opportunity to let the public know a little bit about our work and what kinds of knowledge they can expect to get from it.

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