Oh, Oceanography

So today I was fortunate enough to get see an Antarctic Peninsula Area oceanography demonstration.  It was so cool to see some of the gear used that I had only seen pictures of during my undergrad oceanography classes.  I won’t bore you by telling you how long ago that was!

The morning started off  with a CTD/Niskin bottle rossette.  And in English… Conductivity  Temperature Depth sensors.  The sensors measure what you would expect, with conductivity used to determine salinity.

The CTD package is mounted to a niskin bottle rossette.  Which is a fancy way of saying water collecting bottles arranged in a ring.

Next up we were supposed to launch a glider.  Gliders are so cool.  Let me say that again, in a different way.  Gliders are amazing.  You can fill them with the same types of sensors that you would put on a rossette.  Depending on battery type and amount of sensors, the glider can keep trucking along, taking data for weeks to over a year.  The gliders can have their courses pre-programmed.  They have a GPS units and an irridium phone.  So every time the glider surfaces, it re-orients its GPS and phones home to get further instructions.

Next up, plankton tows.  We used a net called a “MOCNESS”.  Because everything is bigger in Antarctica, this net is HUGE.  I decided that it is the “Mocness Monster”.  The scientists deployment the net study Euphausia superba, the basis of the Antarctic food web (other plankters, fish, penguins, and even whales eat these guys).  I guess when you get down to it, everyone down here is nothing more than a krill seeker.

And then out of the tow we found something I had only ready about it books, and drawn during my undergrad invertebrate classes. The dreaded, vicious and  voracious  chaetognath or arrow worm.  These things prey on copepods and anything else they can get their jaws around.