Trapping Time

by Anna Belcher

Prepprepping the in situ incubatorsAfter 7 days of preparation; piecing together incubation chambers, calibrating instruments, splicing lines, recalibrating instruments, running tank tests, splicing more line and trying to work our way through all the woodshop tools, we were ready to go….it was trapping time! We wanted to collect some sinking particles from the ocean and measure their influence on denitrification and ammonox in anoxic waters. However, seeing Andrew and Nick and all the other scientists onboard running around with their incubation experiments on deck and getting up at all hours of the day to take samples, it really did seem like an awful lot of work to do aboard ship.

SScotchguarding the sensor cables Fortunately Rick and his team had developed a cunning method to make the sediment traps do all the hard work whilst they floated around in the ocean; perfect.  For such a great feat of particle science (rumoured by some to be an attempt to answer the most important unsolved questions of oceanography today), we’d need a slick team of eager (and slightly becrazed) oceanographers…introducing Team Trappers….

DEmily, Anna, Chloe, Rick and Jaqui with one of the incubatorsEmily… lady of the burn wire programming and somehow always managing to have a cable tie at hand just when you need it

Chloe… the sensor fixing queen and knitting instructor to ensure everyone is equipped with dish cloths and ear warmers

Myself, Anna… the foreign import, whose role is still somewhat uncertain other than causing trouble and occasionally being able to reach something up high that none of the others are quite tall enough for 😉  (Rick says I am here for comic relief and as the official dog collar support person)

Jaqui handling a proteomics sampleJaqui… the cookie queen, chief of proteomics and making sure the rest of us don’t contaminate everything!

And of course chief of operations, Dr Rick Keil, the man with the idea and there to ensure us ladies don’t cause too much trouble out on deck.

Along came 17:30, the last supper before the big deployment. We munched happily on another great meal with Jaqui and Emily looking like they were attempting a last minute carb load with a bread roll, ‘jacket’ potato and pasta all on one plate! Working off a cruise plan deployment time of 1800 we figured we had plenty of time to enjoy our dinner. The call finally came at 1900, trappers to their battle stations. Hard hats and life jackets on, we walked out onto deck armed with adjustable spanners and cable ties, and began chucking thousands of dollars worth of equipment into the ocean!!

sm_L1422049Unfortunately our beloved ship has some intestinal troubles and needs regular ‘comfort beaks’ to keep it happy. But nonetheless 7 hours later we had 7 traps out in the water collecting particles, and had managed to fit in a toilet stop for the ship to release its digestive system away from our sampling site (we weren’t so interested in collecting those particles). Having successfully managed to program our sediment traps to do the work for us by collecting particles and running their own incubation experiments, we now needed to filter lots of water to try and collect some more particles for analysis. Naturally we wanted to avoid actually having to do this ourselves, as who really wants to site for hours on end filtering when you could send down a water pump on a line to do the job for you.

Team Trapper setting up the linesWith our traps incubating and our pumps over the side filtering, it was up to team trappers to deploy the most important piece of equipment…the camping chairs. Time to sit, relax, ‘watch the line’ and munch on some chocolate (the finest Swiss chocolate of course, none of this American Hersheys rubbish), ahhhh a job well done…until tomorrow when we get the traps back and find out how well behaved they were… Team Trappers out.



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Clara’s 1st Blog

IMG_3522_sm IMG_3501_sm IMG_3500_smI am so excited—we are actually doing science! Last night we started some experiments to measure ammonia oxidation rates. We use inhibitors to try to tell the difference between ammonia oxidation by bacteria or archaea (technique courtesy of Dave Stahl).  You can see Nick injecting tracer into the bag filling tube. We use extremely cute bags. Bess designed them based on juice bags for kids.

We chose this station to do the experiments because for ammonia oxidation, we don’t mind not having a truly anoxic zone.  However, to our surprise, we did find true anoxia and quite high nitrite concentrations. This is a good sign that foretells good sampling opportunities ahead.

See photos of Andrew sampling for CFCs on the same cast. His syringes are hard core!


June 29, 2013

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The first CTD

Nick and his CTD crew of Jaqui and EmilySo, as I blog this we are at our first station, located in international waters at 22 13 S by 74 14 W.  We are dripping our instruments into the water and evaluating whether or not this is a good place to begin our first set of sample collections and short-term experiments.  Fingers crossed…  Anticipation of this first stop has been building and we are excited to get to work.

Así que, como blog Este nos encontramos en nuestra primera estación, que se encuentra en aguas internacionales a 22 13 S 74 por 14 W. Estamos goteando nuestros instrumentos en el agua y la evaluación de si es o no es un buen lugar para comenzar nuestra primera serie de colecciones de muestras y experimentos a corto plazo. Crucemos los dedos … La anticipación de la primera parada ha sido la construcción y estamos muy contentos de ir a trabajar.Tommy deploying the CTD

On a different note, today’s lunch was a Thanksgiving feast with turkey and stuffing and the works.  Why?  We don’t know but we are not complaining.

 En otro orden de cosas, el almuerzo de hoy era una fiesta de Acción de Gracias con pavo y el relleno y las obras. ¿Por qué? No lo sabemos, pero no nos quejamos.

And on yet another different note, even more people are getting hooked on Chis Pops.  Right Clara?

IMG_9856_smIMG_9857_smIMG_9858_smIMG_9859_smHappy sailing…

Y en otro orden de cosas, aún más personas se están enganchados en Chis Pops. Derecha Clara?

Clar and Brittany are hooked on Chis PopsFeliz navegación …

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30º3’S 71º57’W

30º3’S 71º57’W by Andrew Babbin

Well, we’re underway, steaming northward at 10 knots. We are spending the next few days preparing for all the multitude of samples we will begin collecting as soon as we are allowed to start conducting science, at 20ºS. This involves typing down all of our gear, hooking up gas lines, mixing chemical reagents, and drinking as much coffee as we can get our hands on. To this last point, the Palmer does not have coffee cups (a surprise to us all!) so during our stay in Valparaiso, most of us bought mugs so we can keep caffeinated. I felt the need to personalize mine so no one confuses it for their own. I’m including a picture of it (the clean lab space behind it is the “before” picture, as in before the chaos that is science at sea begins – we’ll see just how long we’re able to keep the space looking so pristine).andrews clean lab space

Andrew Babbin’s “pre-science” lab space. Brian Peters is peaking his head out from behind a refrigerator.

We have a bit of downtime given just how many days we have before we start sciencing, so a bunch of us have filled the spare hours reading, practicing knots, or singing My Heart Will Go On at the bow of the vessel… Coolest thing so far is that I spotted a penguin swimming yesterday in Valparaiso harbor! I actually didn’t realize that there were penguin species this far north! I guess that’s why I study microbiology. Ciao for now!

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The Learning Curve

by Rachel

One of the things that I love about science is that I do different things pretty much everyday. Sometimes a new technique is easy, but other times the learning curve proves more challenging than I expect. For instance, on Saturday, I was not expecting to have to hang out in a new city (Valparaiso) on a new continent (this is my first trip to South America) for several hours, so I had to learn how to work and communicate in another culture in a hurry. On Sunday, I learned how to use a power saw to help build a platform for my mass spectrometer. Yesterday, I learned how to use traditional navigational charts to help plot our cruise track. For all of these things, I was fortunate to have the assistance of other science party team members who guided me along the way and they made the learning curve less steep. One of the special things about life on a research cruise is how every person is willing to help out at any time, and we are all constantly learning new things from each other.

Rachel using the radial arm saw.

Rachel using the radial arm saw (staged picture – I wore goggles and had my hands clear of the saw when I really did this).

Una de las cosas que me gusta de la ciencia es que hago cosas diferentes más o menos todos los días. A veces, una nueva técnica es fácil, pero otras veces la curva de aprendizaje resulta más difícil de lo que esperaba. Por ejemplo, el sábado, no me esperaba tener que pasar el rato en una nueva ciudad (Valparaíso) en un nuevo continente (este es mi primer viaje a América del Sur) durante varias horas, así que tuve que aprender a trabajar y comunicarse en otra cultura a toda prisa. El domingo, me enteré de cómo usar una sierra eléctrica para ayudar a construir una plataforma para mi espectrómetro de masas. Ayer, me enteré de cómo utilizar las cartas de navegación tradicionales para ayudar a trazar nuestro camino crucero. Por todas estas cosas, tuve la suerte de contar con la ayuda de otros miembros del equipo del partido de ciencia que me guió por el camino y tomaron la curva de aprendizaje menos empinada. Una de las cosas especiales de la vida en un crucero de investigación es cómo cada persona está dispuesta a echar una mano en cualquier momento, y todos estamos constantemente aprendiendo cosas nuevas el uno del otro.

For most of us, daily life aboard the ship is quite different from life on land. We have no choice but to turn off our cell phones (no reception), limit internet surfing, and work closely with a group of 27 scientists for 24/7. This is a complete 180o from my normal life, where I send several texts per day to my fiancé, I constantly am on email, and I usually spend my days alone in my office writing on a computer. My favorite break-time activity is looking for marine mammals and penguins; where else do you get to spend your coffee or snack break looking for seals? Despite some drawbacks of living at sea (away from family), research cruises allow me to do something new and fun everyday in exotic locations. I might need to be reminded of this when we are 20 days into the cruise and my mass spectrometer isn’t working…

Rachel, Clara and Nick in the woodshop

Rachel, Clara and Nick in the woodshop

Para la mayoría de nosotros, la vida cotidiana a bordo de la nave es muy diferente de la vida en la tierra. No tenemos más remedio que apagar nuestros teléfonos celulares (no hay recepción), surf límite de internet, y trabajamos en estrecha colaboración con un grupo de 27 científicos de 24/7. Se trata de un 180o completa de mi vida normal, donde puedo enviar varios textos por día a mi novio, yo estoy constantemente en el correo electrónico, y por lo general pasan mis días solo en mi oficina por escrito en un ordenador. Mi actividad favorita break-tiempo está en busca de los mamíferos marinos y pingüinos, donde más se puede llegar a pasar su café o descanso y merienda en busca de focas? A pesar de algunos inconvenientes de vivir en el mar (fuera de la familia), campañas de investigación permiten que haga algo nuevo y divertido todos los días en lugares exóticos. Puede ser que necesite que le recuerden esto cuando estamos a 20 días en el crucero y mi espectrómetro de masas no está funcionando …

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Day 3 – The long wait for the van continues…

by Anna

trying on our safety 'gumby' suits.

trying on our safety ‘gumby’ suits.

0730:  The day started with breakfast and a safety meeting – time to attempt to gracefully put on our gumby suits and commence sweating! No chance of getting cold in these! Next, to the lifeboat where Chris the first mate explained where all the sea survival supplies were and most importantly the location of the toilet – the bucket in the corner! As nice as it was, I’m pretty sure we all left hoping we wouldn’t have to go back in.

0730: El día comenzó con un desayuno y una reunión de seguridad – tiempo para tratar de poner sin problemas en nuestros trajes gumby y comenzar a sudar! No hay posibilidad de hacer frío en estos! A continuación, para el bote salvavidas donde Chris el primer compañero explicó donde todos los suministros de supervivencia del mar eran y lo más importante la ubicación del inodoro – el cubo en la esquina! Tan agradable como era, estoy bastante seguro de que todos nos fuimos con la esperanza de que no tendríamos que volver a entrar

1100: With the van due to be arriving shortly, we headed for one quick last trip into town. Time for a little more exploring in Valparaiso, joining the hustle and bustle of the Chileans going to work on a Monday morning. Naturally Jaqui and Rick stocked up on more Chis Pops for the big cruise – wouldn’t want to run out!

Anna with her new friend 'Lamp Post'.

Anna with her new friend ‘Lamp Post’.

1100: Con la camioneta debido a que llega un poco, nos dirigimos para un último viaje rápido a la ciudad. Tiempo para un poco más de la exploración en Valparaíso, uniéndose a la prisa y el bullicio de los chilenos que van a trabajar en una mañana de lunes. Naturalmente Jaqui y Rick abastecido de más Chis Pops para el gran crucero – no querría salir corriendo!

1230:  Back on board at lunchtime and sadly no van. As bets continued to be placed, and updates of the van arrival got later and later, we all carried on setting up our gear and making sure everything was tied down ready to go. Labs looking pretty ship shape and sediment trap Dahn flags all pieced together…still no van… Well maybe there was time for another last trip into Valparaiso for a leg stretch. With every visit it seemed we found a new area of Valparaiso with new buildings and shops to explore…oooh a random horse chilling out on the side of the road looking pretty content. We climbed up 268 steps of one of the many hills before wandering back down through the streets, now busy with people on their way home from work.

1230: De vuelta a bordo para el almuerzo y por desgracia no van. Como apuestas siguieron siendo colocado, y las actualizaciones de la llegada van llegaron más tarde y más tarde, nos lleva a todos en la creación de nuestro equipo y asegurarse de que todo estaba atado listo para ir. Labs buscan forma de barco bonito y atrapar sedimentos Dahn Banderas monté … todavía no van … Bueno, tal vez no hubo tiempo para otro último viaje a Valparaíso para un estiramiento de la pierna. Con cada visita parecía nos encontramos con una nueva área de Valparaíso con nuevos edificios y tiendas para explorar … oooh un caballo al azar pasando el rato en el lado de la carretera en busca de contenido bastante. Subimos hasta 268 pasos de una de las muchas colinas antes de ir de nuevo a través de las calles, ahora ocupados con la gente en su camino a casa desde el trabajo.

A horse is a horse of course of course...

A horse is a horse of course of course…

1730: Back on the ship for dinner time…still no van. But an update, van due at 1900, estimated departure time 2200! Exciting! We were all keen to get the real science started.

1730: De vuelta en el barco para la cena … todavía no van. Pero un día, van debido a las 1900, hora de salida estimada 2.200! Emocionante! Todos estábamos dispuestos a obtener la verdadera ciencia comenzó.

2000:  After a little more preparation of kit and lab space we all sat down for a quick meeting where we received a live update on the van…still not here…but due in 10 minutes! …20:45 and the van arrived!! Wohooo!!! Time to get the show on the road!

2000: Después de un poco más de preparación del equipo y espacio de laboratorio nos sentamos todos para una reunión rápida, donde recibimos una actualización en vivo en la camioneta … todavía no está aquí … pero debido en 10 minutos! 20:45 … y la furgoneta llegó! Wohooo! Es hora de ponerse el show en la carretera!

22:22 …and we are off to sea!

Mark's van arrives!

Mark’s van arrives!

22:22 … y estamos a la mar!

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Setting up ship

getting ready to unload the shipping container.

getting ready to unload the shipping container.

This morning right after breakfast we opened the 40-foot shipping container and started unpacking the scientific gear.  Professor Osvaldo Ulloa (Unividad Concepcion) and our other Chilean collaborators began setting up their traveling scientific vans (more on this topic in another blog soon).  As the morning progressed we got our scientific gear into the labs and began setting things up.  Tomorrow we will be on the high seas, so today we need to get all the gear secured and test all the equipment – once we are away from land there will be no ‘quick runs’ to the electronics store.

Esta mañana, después del desayuno nos abrió la caja de transporte de 40 pies y comenzó desempaquetar el equipo científico. Profesor Osvaldo Ulloa (Unividad Concepción) y nuestros otros colaboradores chilenos comenzaron a establecer sus camionetas científicos de viaje (más sobre este tema en otro blog en breve). A medida que avanzaba la mañana nos dieron nuestro equipo científico en los laboratorios y comenzamos establecimiento de las cosas. Mañana vamos a estar en alta mar, por lo que hoy necesitamos para conseguir todo el equipo asegurado y poner a prueba todos los equipos – una vez que estamos lejos de la tierra que no habrá ‘carreras rápidas’ a la tienda de electrónica.



The ship is very spacious and all of us have good lab space.  Bess and Al are in the main lab with their research groups, Osvaldo, Peter, and Niels Peter are in the science vans, Brian and Cal have set up shop in the bio lab and Rick’s group is in the hydro lab.  Everyone has a nice spot perfect for their research.  Mark’s group will be in their science van, but it has not arrived yet, much to the concern of chief scientist Al.  Some of us other scientists are okay with the van being late because it gives us another little chance to see Valparaiso, which is a nice town that is rapidly growing on us all.  Even the stray dogs are friendly here.

The Palmer at dock in Valparaiso.

The Palmer at dock in Valparaiso.

El barco es muy amplia y para todos nosotros tener un buen espacio en el laboratorio. Bess y Al se encuentran en el laboratorio principal con sus grupos de investigación, Osvaldo, Peter, y Niels Peter están en las camionetas ciencia, Brian y Cal se han instalado en el laboratorio de biología y el grupo de Rick está en el laboratorio de hidráulica. Todo el mundo tiene un buen lugar perfecto para sus investigaciones. Grupo de Mark estará en su ciencia van, pero aún no ha llegado, para gran preocupación de jefe de Al científico. Algunos de nosotros, otros científicos están de acuerdo con la furgoneta llegar tarde porque nos da otra pequeña oportunidad de ver a Valparaíso, que es una ciudad muy bonita que está creciendo rápidamente en todos nosotros. Incluso los perros callejeros son amables aquí.

After lunch a newspaper reporter came by to learn about the cruise.  Many pictures were taken.  It seems as if our cruise (and maybe this blog) might be in a Chilean national newspaper this week. We are excited about that.

Después de comer un periodista vino a aprender sobre el crucero. Se tomaron muchas fotos. Parece como si nuestro crucero (y tal vez este blog) podría estar en un periódico nacional de Chile esta semana. Estamos muy entusiasmados con eso.

Emily with Chis Pops, a new favorite food group.

Emily with Chis Pops, a new favorite food group.

By late afternoon the labs were looking good, so many of us wandered into town to find post cards or to buy gifts and souvenirs.  Jaqui and Emily discovered Chris Pops, which look like large cheese puffs but taste like fruit loops.  We have never seen or tasted these types of things before, but the quickly became a favorite thing to eat.  I think Jaqui and Emily are planning to go back to the grocery store tomorrow and buy several more bags, as their first (rather large) bag of this new favorite food is almost empty.

Valparaiso and the good ship Daddy.

Valparaiso and the good ship Daddy.

Después de comer un periodista vino a aprender sobre el crucero. Se tomaron muchas fotos. Parece como si nuestro crucero (y tal vez este blog) podría estar en un periódico nacional de Chile esta semana. Estamos muy entusiasmados con eso.

Tomorrow we load Mark and Andy’s van aboard ship and head out to sea.

Mañana cargamos Mark y Andy van a bordo del barco y nos dirigimos hacia el mar.

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