Saturday, April 16, 2016

First set of students sorting their final catch on the boat.
The morning broke, and as the first brave set of greenhorns awoke and prepared for the next few hours ahead of them. As they looked outside to see what weather would await them, none were shocked to see the 15mph winds, short showers of rain and the mighty two foot swells of the bay. None the less all went bravely and upon the boat things did not go much better, unexpected items came up in the first trawl, and for the second things went a little smoother. After a much delayed return, they were greeted back to land with warm sun, blue sky’s and the faces of the next group of students. This next group crawled upon the 54ft aluminum boat and listed as the boats Captain, first mate and NOAA scientist told them about the safety rules of the boat and what they would be doing. The boat casted off the dock, the weather had cleared and everything seemed well for the time being. 
Stern of the boat, as it went from the first trawling site to
 the second for the last group of students.
As the students pulled up to their first trawling site, a CTD was released to record the salinity, temperature and depth of the water below. The trawling net went out after the return of the CTD and the weather took a turn for the worse, it started to poor rain and hail on the students awaiting the nets return and the wind started to blow. It didn’t let up as the net returned and as the students started to sort their catch and record the size of any English sole and Speckled sanddab they had caught. Soon after the catch was sorted the sun and blue sky reappeared, and two bald eagles flew overhead, the boat moved onward to their next trawling point and half way there they stopped to take another CTD sample. The boat turned sideways to the waves and as it rolled back and forth in the swells, the students held strong and once the data was retrieved they moved onward to their next trawl. The net lowered and raised in what seemed like seconds but was really six minutes and soon after sorting the students found a total of five different species. The boat docked soon after and the tired greenhorns left to rest but only after an hour all the students were back to lecture and lab. The end of the day came around 6, and sunny weather ended the day for the students. Light traps were set out that night by their teacher and TA and as the students lay in their beds, the ocean was cooking up a new set of mysteries for them to solve. 

Link to 2016 trawl video: 

             A New Day 
Monster WORM!!
8:30 the next morning three of the brave students went out with their teacher and TA to go collect their traps from the night before. The first two came up with no fish larvae but instead lots of Amphipods, crab megalopa, and decapods. The next two showed the real monsters of the deep, four 25cm or larger polychaete worms. These monsters both creeped out everyone and intrigued them at the same time. There were four different types of fish larvae in them and as the students brought the traps back to lab, they couldn’t help but think about the long day in front of them. To start off the day, students heard a lecture about how fishes feed and about the different types of sensory equipment they have. After a quick thirty-minute break, a guest lecture on marine plankton ecology which was given by Dr. Luo and another guest lecture on animal behavior by a NOAA scientist. A half hour lunch break was had and students returned for a lab on the days earlier catch and after 45 minutes of looking at the fascinating life we had caught in our own back yard, a lecture on writing scientific papers was given and the students all took a sigh of relief as their day was finally over. A late night finished the day for the students who didn’t go home and a weekend of homework and studying was what they had to look forward to.

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