8 July, 2003
Better Day on the Water
Today in Kotzebue
The morning was
overcast and windy. We almost called off the work today like we had to
yesterday, due to weather, but the afternoon was clam and sunny so we
were able to get a lot of work in.
What Science Is Happening?
We went out to cape blossom, about 10 miles away from Kotzebue to
sample 4 different station around that area. Iím sure glad we had the
GPS to tell us exactly where to sample. I donít know how people were
able to be so accurate before. It all looks the same to me.
We used the CTD diver again. Took three nets of zooplankton (animal
plankton), 1 net of phytoplankton (plant plankton), water samples at
the surface and at depth. (1 meter above the the lowest place you can
see Sechi Disk, a black and white disc. Today the water was so mixed
that our make-shift Sechi disk (we forgot the real one) was barely
visible, so out samples were from about Ĺ meter below the surface.
Back at the lab, the water collected was sucked through a filter.
These filters are sent back to East Carolina University to be tested
for chlorophyll (the amount of plant material in the water). The
little filters are much easier to transport than the big gallon jugs of
water. The samples from the plankton nets are preserved with a
formaldehyde, seawater and borax solution so they can be viewed and the
life forms counted and cataloged later. The other part of work at the
labs is clean up and set up. Everything that touched the water needed
to be rinsed out and left to dry. Also the bottles for sampling had to
be set up for the next day.
One curious occurrence we noticed was that the salinity of the water
(how much salt is in it) was very low. Almost like fresh water. As we
drove I could see blue water and green water forming lines on the
ocean. We would pass from a blue zone into a green zone and visa
versa. Do you remember what I told you about estuaries? It is
a place rivers and run-off enter the ocean, a place where salt water
(ocean water) and fresh water mix.
Given that information, can
you tell me:
1.) WHY the salinity was so low?
2.) If we went
back another day, could we expect the salt level to be the same as
today or different? How so?
After my last foray in a small boat left me leaning over the side with
sea sickness, I was a little trepidacious*** about getting on
the boat again. You see whether or not I get sick, we still have work
to do, therefore, we donít come back unless we canít take samples or
there are boat problems. The good news is that I took some motion
sickness medication and the waves were much calmer and the result was
that I had a great day and a lot of fun.
more about our project here
View curriculum for this project, ďAsk a ScientistĒ and
learn about other Arctic Real Time research at Arctic Alive
Listen to the local radio station KOTZ live
***What do you think trepidacious means? Look at the
sentence. How would you feel if you got sick last time you were on a
boat and you were going to go again? Can you Email me another word
that might mean the same as trepidacious?
Taking water samples with the Neskin Bottle.
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