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> July 21 - 2005
post Jul 22 2005, 05:06 PM
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TEA Teacher

Group: TEA Teacher
Posts: 41
Joined: 6-July 05
Member No.: 20

July 21, 2005

We had some time yesterday to pack up the lab, the van, and all the supplies in preparation for getting off in Barrow. Some equipment stays on the Laurier for next year's cruise, all the samples are packed for shipping back to the University of Tennessee, and some will stay on board until Jackie and Lee pick it up after the ship returns to Victoria in October. The high winds of Tuesday night combined with the strong current to slow the ship and move the ice pack further out, and the captain made the decision not to try to reach the ice before the science team leaves the ship. That means that we did our last station this morning instead of Wednesday evening.

This last station, in Barrow Canyon, was a modified mud station to identify the boundaries of the area where Jackie has seen large quantities of mussels in the past. In fact, this is the area where she's seen the greatest carbon biomass of all her study sites. I definitely remember the mussels from when I was on the USCGC Healy in 2002. We started right at seven this morning and kept moving quickly from station to station, using just the van Veen grab. We didn't find as many mussels as Jackie had hoped, but we found lots of rocks, gravel, and some unusual organisms. We found several sea cucumbers of different types, some hard and some soft corals, and even a fairly large fish! The problem was that the "mud" contained so much gravel and byssal threads (the mussels use these to cling to rocks) from the mussels we did find, that it took a long time to sieve. Once we sieved it all, it filled as many as five 16 oz. cups/grab. Check out the picture below to see just some of the samples we collected and preserved this morning.

IPB Image

Right after our station, we headed to Barrow where the crew had a chance for shore leave. It's a beautiful day, sunny and quite cool, and we're all looking forward to getting on shore tomorrow. It's been a wonderful cruise, and the captain and crew of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier have been incredibly helpful and wonderfully hospitable!
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