Day Two

July 10, 2014 | 3 Comments


Bright and early, at 7:00am, the first group was out to do a full collection as the demo was cut short last night due to a storm with lightning. Today we were faced with intermittent rain and waves. Participants continued to work on collection at 4 different sampling stations throughout the day and data analysis and lab work began.   We began with Rosette collection which is collecting water samples at different depths without disturbing the sediment. Next was the collection of plankton using nets and a flow meter. The process included the use of a 64 micron gauge net and a larger 153 micron gauge net.  We learned how to use a Secchi disk to determine water clarity which was 6 meters.  The Ponar grab was next, where large sediment samples were taken and brought to the surface for separation.  Qualitative analyses of the sediments were made and most were clay types. We also observed the sediment and found many Quagga mussels that needed to be removed by hand on the sorting table due to their shells disintegrating with the force of the hose water. The last collection was a manta trawl for plastic collection analysis.  The trawl was placed and dragged for 30 minutes at 2-3 knots of traveling speed.

Separating out the benthic organisms from the PONAR grab. (Photo credits: Julie Sek)

Microplastics found using the Manta Trawl. (Photo credits:  Julie Sek)

Microplastics found using the Manta Trawl. (Photo credits: Julie Sek)

Aquatic worms found using PONAR. (Photo credits: Julie Sek)

The Manta Trawl deployed for the first time. (Photo credits:  Julie Sek)

The Manta Trawl deployed for the first time. (Photo credits: Julie Sek)

Preparing for deployment of the plankton net. (Photo credit: Julie Sek)


I found myself anxious and eager to enter the field today but, found that my energy seemed to deplete quickly and I was a bit tired today.  This is likely due to the fact that this was the first time that I had been on  a boat this large, combined with  sleeping  while the boat traveled through the storm.  I am excited that we are sampling from the eastern basin today, which is closest to my home.

Julie Sek


While Day 1 was a disoriented blur, Day 2 provided more clarity and inspired more confidence.  Little things were mastered; finding the way to my room, not knocking my head on the bunk beds and successfully finding my way to the Wet Lab by two different routes!  Today was also a day of many first experiences; drawing water samples from the Rosette, filtering zooplankton samples, counting fishhook fleas under a stereoscope and pawing through muddy sediment samples from the bottom of Lake Erie to rescue fragile Quagga mussels.  Can’t wait to see what Day 3 will bring!

Mary Bowman

Smiling before the seas got rough. (Photo credits: Julie Sek)


  • Laura Kammin July 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm · Reply

    Hello teachers! I’m part of the landlocked IISG crew (stuck in the middle of central IL). I just wanted to say that I’m so jealous that you are out on Lake Erie right now collecting samples of plastics. But I’m glad I missed the storm. Hope you are all enjoying the experience. Keep writing…you’ve got an audience out here reading.

  • cgll July 11, 2014 at 12:27 am · Reply

    I am here to validate that the night was rough! Whew, it almost seemed we would tip with some of those big waves. Very hard to get a needed night of rest, indeed.
    Lisa Bircher

  • Cynthia Hagley July 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm · Reply

    It sounds like you have all “jumped in head first!” I hope the weather calms down for you.

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