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6 May, 2000

Dr. Chuck Amsler, Leave Palmer Question 77: What do squid eat? This is it! Today we move on board the Laurence M. Gould. Our rooms, offices, lab space, email accounts all must be cleared out and packed up. The AGUNSA clothing issue must be stuffed into its army duffel for use on the LMG and eventual return in Punta Arenas, and our smallest piece of luggage must be packed with whatever else we will need on board. The rest of the luggage will be inaccessible during the voyage back to Chile. As on most nights before the Gould departs, Bob is making pizza for a cross-town (ship and station) pizza party in the lounge in GWR. As soon as we leave, the last few wintering-over station staff will move into the BioLab building so construction of the new lounge, work-out area, and berthing in the second floor area of GWR can begin in earnest. That is this winter's main project. The entire upper floor will be completely gutted (parts have already been cleared out) and rebuilt on a new floor plan. Because of concerns Chuck and Bill have about keeping our starfish alive in transit, they want to start traveling as soon as possible, so it looks like the Gould will leave tonight after pizza instead of waiting to depart tomorrow morning when it gets light. Dr. Charles Amsler has been my adviser and the scientist officially in charge of me since May 1999 when I was selected to parcticipate in this program. He has been tremendously helpful and supportive in getting me equipment and clearance to dive and in making my time on the ice so successful. Chuck's research career has focused on various facets of algal biology from his undergraduate work to his current pursuits based out of his lab at University of Alabama Birmingham. This is his sixth trip to the ice, having worked at both Palmer and McMurdo previously. His wife Maggie, however, has everyone beat on ice time. With over 12 trips, from two to five months per trip, she has logged an incredible total of over 3 years on the ice. She will be working with the group on their next visit to Palmer in 2001. After cheerfully waving farewell to so many other travelers whenever the Gould pulled away earlier in the season, it was a bittersweet moment to walk up the gently swaying gangway myself. Once the announcement came over the PA system that it was time for those leaving to board and time for line handlers to get their gear on, we had to abandon the messy remains of our pizza and amble down the hill, through all the familiar buildings and across the snow-covered street down to the dock. After we said tearful goodbyes and went on board, the orange-clad line handler teams went to their stations at the heavy lines anchoring the Gould to the dock. With the blinding ship's lights blasting out an area of daylight from the pitch black around us, we watched the glowing reflective strips on the float coats of the line handlers as they cast off each line. The rest of the station staff was gathered in front of, between and on top of the stacked milvans, watching and waving. The last line was disconnected, the Gould's engines revved up, and Palmer Station got further and further away until it was only a few points of light in the blackness visible to those still on deck watching arm in arm. And then it was gone from sight. Answer 76: There are about 20 species of squid in the waters of Antarctica. They are cephalopod mollusks. They have 10 tentacles, including 8 prehensile arms with stalked suckers and two true tentacles. There are small deep-water squid and larger surface forms as well as the infamous giant squid. Some swim deep during the day and in schools at the surface at night. Some have photophores that luminesce, which should help to communicate with other squid or to attract prey.


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