Out Comes the Science Equipment

Last night, Captain Yousri Maghrabi steered the Palmer toward Station A, at 76.5 degrees south, 170 degrees east. It’s just a patch of open water about 40 miles northeast of Ross Island, but oceanographers have been measuring water here since the mid-1990s. When we got there, the only land left visible were Ross and Beaufort Islands far off our port stern. The occasional Adélie penguin swam by on its way to a small iceberg. Everything else was ocean.

Everyone got a practice run with their instruments before heading to our first major sampling site tomorrow. We dropped instruments 740 meters (almost half a mile) to the seafloor; put pumps overboard to collect particles suspended in the water; and brought water back on board so we could learn about the microorganisms living there. At 2 a.m., a small team set out in an inflatable rubber boat to recover one of our gliders. Read on through the slideshow to find out what happened:

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About Hugh Powell

Hugh is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is on special assignment with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. He has previously written for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

7 Responses to “Out Comes the Science Equipment”

  1. Very interesting! I’d be interested to see whether penguins’ foraging hotspots match or not with occurences of Modified Circumpolar Deep Water…

    • Hi Amélie – glad you made it back from Crozier OK! It would be great to know more about what kind of water penguins are choosing to forage in. Gliders would have a hard time keeping up with penguins, but they could give a great picture of conditions inside and outside of foraging hotspots. Actually, Dr. Kohut’s team is doing a bit of this work on the Antarctic Peninsula right now.

  2. Beautiful photos!

    And I am enjoying learning about all the activities from the text. It is all very interesting and exciting.


  3. Hi, my name is Colleen and I am studying Careers for Scientists in the Antarctic for my Aquatic Science class. If you could answer some of my questions that would be so great! Where did you go to school? What type if oceanographer are you, exaxtly? What type of equipment do you use on your ship? Thanks and best of luck to you on your journey!

    • Hi Colleen, I’m not an oceanographer, but there are many types of oceanographers on this ship, so let me know if there’s one in particular you’re interested in knowing about. Basically, there are physical, biological, and chemical oceanographers on this ship. The physical oceanographers study the ocean currents. Biological oceanographers study the creatures that live in the water (such as the phytoplankton), and chemical oceanographers help understand how these two areas interact by studying the nutrients that phytoplankton use up and the ones they return to the water. For more about the team and the equipment they use, take a look at the Science Team and Tools & Technology sections of this website. Thanks for your questions and good luck in your studies!

  4. Is that Lucke in the CTD pics?? Ahh, takes me back. And memories of Mitchell/Measures Summer 2006. Yikes. Relying on the Magic 8 Ball for where we should sample next…


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