Hefty appetite

Sizing Up the Food Chain

The microscope room on the Palmer is just big enough for a slide preparation table and two bulky microscopes. It’s dark inside, and the microscope tabletops are designed to rock back and forth on an air cushion to counteract the ship’s rolling. As they do this, they make a deep sighing that sounds like Darth […]

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Taking a closer look

Oozing with Life, and Maybe Iron

The Palmer has an ample supply of Dutch hot chocolate mix to warm people as they come in from the wind, spray, and snow on deck. Today I fixed my cup as normal, but I walked away from the galley without a spoon. As I sloshed and swirled my cup, hoping the hot chocolate powder […]

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Have we found MCDW in the Ross Sea?

Checking in With Our Hypotheses

We’ve been on the Palmer for 20 days, we’ve been to 49 sampling stations, taken thousands of water samples, flown three separate gliders, and started dozens of incubations. So, have we learned anything? It’s not a rude question—for decades oceanographers have been mostly unable to look at the results of their work until after they […]

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The data are safe

Homecoming for Glider RU26

Late yesterday evening we recovered glider RU26, which had been cruising the waters of the Ross Sea since December 11. After 55 days, RU26 had traveled 732 miles, made 2,187 dives, and come within 2 miles of crossing the International Dateline and becoming a Golden Dragon like the rest of us (see yesterday’s post). But […]

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A cruise comes to an end

Saying Hello and Goodbye at the Same Time

I woke up this morning to strange voices shouting. I was disoriented. Part of me felt like I was still on the bridge watching the Palmer wedge itself between ice floes, which is what I had been doing at 5 a.m. The ship was quiet then, though it shuddered and weaved among ice floes 12 […]

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Homesick stowaway

Valentine Over the Dateline

How do you stay close from half a world away? Long absences are a part of oceanography, and months away from home are something that all sailors cope with. In centuries past, sailors left home for two, three, or more years at a time, often not knowing when they would come home and communicating only […]

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Eggs to order

Feeding Time on the Palmer

Far up in the bow of the Palmer, past the cold rooms, beyond the dry labs, and five stories below the bridge, two people are at work in a gleaming steel room. They mix compounds in metal bowls, sprinkle in precisely measured powders, and then arrange their mixtures on trays to put into calibrated heating […]

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Bow Splash

Waves wash over the bow of the Palmer during a storm.

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One Minute, Forty Seconds in the Engine Room

Almost all the scientific work today was canceled as 40-knot winds buffeted the Palmer and seas pitched the ship forward and back. Not good weather for dangling a 750-pound, $100,000 instrument like a CTD rosette over the side. On land, bad weather can disrupt a science plan, but only in the ocean can the very […]

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CTDcam

Follow the CTD over the side of the Palmer and into the Ross Sea on a short cast. Look for Niskin bottles closing at 24 and 32 seconds in the video.

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Back in the Blue Room

Keep It Going: Recycling in Phytoplankton Blooms

Dr. Adam Kustka has been wearing the same gray-and-black windbreaker for about two weeks. He doesn’t appear to sleep at all except for short naps, which consist of pulling his hood up and putting his head down on his desk in front of his computer monitor. His hands remain over the keyboard so that when […]

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An iceberg approaches

Zodiac, Blizzard, Iceberg

It’s 7 a.m. and I’m just sitting down to write about yesterday. I can scarcely remember the emergency glider recovery that Dr. Josh Kohut and Eli Hunter put into motion at 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning. Then the clouds descended and the wind picked up, and the chief mate closed the decks, keeping us all inside […]

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Wave cam

Large waves wash along the starboard (right) side of the ship during a storm.

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Our first albatross

Troubleshooting

Things never go right all the time on an expedition. It started with heavy snow on Saturday morning. Visibility dwindled and the wind built snowdrifts on the upper decks. Then Dr. Chris Measures’s trace-metal CTD rosette (see Jan. 26 post) stopped collecting water. And, as you read yesterday, glider RU26 came home early with what […]

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