A few brave volunteers offered to be among the first to particpate in the specimen collection scheduled to occur at 1 am. As we raided the galley, consumed much needed caffeine, we received some good news: we arrived at the scheduled station a few hours early. Our task was to collect 4 different types of organisms: zooplankton, Mysis, Larval Fish, and Benthos. The scientists on board need to collect at this odd hour because the Mysis is very sensitive to light.
We began collecting larval fish at 40 meters. We completed a step interval trawl, which is where we started at a depth of 40 meters and after two minutes, we reduced the depth of the plankton net by 8 meters. We continued to do this for 4 more intervals and collected the specimen. We promptly took the larval fish to the Bio lab to place them in vials filled with alcohol. The alcohol kills the organisms (which aids in identification) and preserves them.
Amidst the darkened aft, we collected two samples of Mysis . At this scheduled station, we also collected Benthos, Zooplankton and Larval fish.
Earlier we were inundated with a large amount of biological information. We learned that the Benthos refers to the bottom dwelling organisms, Zooplankton are miniscule invertibrate organisms, and how to identify larval fish based on anal position (it is WAY more scientific than it sounds!)
As we collected the organisms from the benthic zone, we used a PONAR sampler, which drops down to the lake bed, gathers sediment (much like a toy crane) and brings it to the surface. Then we deposited the sediment into the “critter catcher” and put it into the sample bottle to transport to the lab.
And now it is 1:20 am, and we are very tired… time to get some shut eye. Breakast is served at 8:00 am. Next stop: the coast near Tawas, MI
Written by: Jess, Stephanie, and Angela