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> May 13, 2006 – Super Scientist Interview, Casey Quitmeyer
post May 15 2006, 06:02 PM
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Date: Saturday, May 13, 2006

Casey Quitmeyer is a cattle rancher from Nebraska. He was one of Dr. Jim Lovvorn’s students back at the University of Wyoming in Laramie where he received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology. Casey is mainly here to help husband and wife team, Jim Lovvorn and Marj Brooks. (More on Marj and Jim later.) Casey has never performed oceanographic research before, but I can easily see why they asked him to come on this trip. Casey is extremely handy and hard working. He puts equipment together with ease and improvises to make other lab equipment work better.

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When Casey isn’t filtering water for Marj, I often see him helping others collect data. For example, just this afternoon I caught him throwing brittle stars at Ruth as they were sorting Chris and Jason’s specimens from the trawl. Later in the cruise, Casey will be able to use his expertise in wildlife biology to help Jim find and study diving ducks called spectacled eiders. Right now, however, Casey’s main job is to help Marj filter seawater. Do you remember how I told you that the scientists all want the water in the CTD for themselves? Well, Marj is one of the scientists that need samples of water from the top, middle, and bottom of the Bering Sea, which comes from the CTD. She and Casey collect the samples from the canisters on the CTD that correspond with those depths and then run it through filters. The filters collect the algae from the seawater, which is what Marj will analyze to obtain her data when she gets back home. Marj is filtering the water to analyze the following variables:
• stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes
• fatty acids
• particulate organic carbon
• dissolved organic carbon (only in some sites)
• selenium concentration

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One of the main reasons that I interviewed Casey is because of his story. It seems to me that he would be an unlikely candidate to get chosen for research on an oceanographic cruise considering that he has never been on a research cruise before. But, after seeing his efficient and handy lab and fieldwork skills, he is a perfect match. I have heard, though, that he is a pro at a card game called cribbage. I’ll have to test my cribbage skills against him in a match – maybe in between stations when he isn’t filtering seawater.
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