This past week was a nice introduction/review of the open ocean. We learned all about the naturally occurring physical phenomena (e.g., ENSO, tides, currents, wave action, storm surges, etc.) as well as the biological phenomena (e.g., carbon cycling, nitrogen cycling, microbial loop, etc.) that drive the open ocean ecosystem. Additionally, we had the pleasure of learning from many other researchers like Dr. Kara Radabaugh who spoke to us about isotope ecology used as a way to determine if a species is migratory as well as Dr. Justin Perrault who spoke to us about immunology and the importance of tracing heavy metals in endangered species (i.e., sea turtle, specifically Dermochelys coriacea) which is important indicator of Darwinian fitness. We had the chance to view many deep sea organisms, especially squid and those species which inhabit seamounts under a dissecting scope and learned how to use a dichotomous key for identification. We also visited The Florida Aquarium and learned how to perform ethograms and propose hypothetical questions about the observed behavior. Then, we had an awesome time aboard Research Vessel (i.e., R/V) Weatherbird II and learned how to use a bunch of equipment regularly used in contemporary research such as the CTD (i.e., Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth of ocean) which is essentially a giant probe with a circular array of Niskin bottles and is capable of reading depth, temperature, salinity, conductivity, chlorophyll, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, capturing a water sample, and measuring many other parameters.
|A photo of everyone sorting samples collected with the otter trawl at Station 1|
aboard R/V Weatherbird II.