On Our Own Again…

July 9, 2013

The lights may go out, but the crew doesn’t sleep! During the overnight hours, work on deck continued with sampling at several stations. A few brave teacher volunteers joined the crew in the late night/early morning hours. Hardhats off to them!

Even after sampling most of the night, Dr. Greg Boyer managed to start us off with a riveting lecture and slideshow on Blue-Green Algae (cyanobacteria for you purists) and the harmful toxins they can produce. Dr. Boyer’s talk followed an FAQ  type of format which described identifying characteristics and public concerns about harmful blue-green algal blooms.

Helen Domske gave the teacher group an overview of Lake Ontario facts and environmental management of the lake. The talk covered topics such as invasive species, human impacts on the lake and how the food web of Lake Ontario has shifted over the past century.


One of the species highlighted in Helen’s talk that we were later able to see under the microscope was the Mysis shrimp. In the lab, we observed benthic organisms collected by ponar the day before. Teachers combed through trays of sediment, located organisms, and identified them under the dissecting microscope. We also observed phytoplankton and zooplankton samples taken from our voyage.


Max, one of the marine technicians, took small groups from the lab to the wheelhouse for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Rosette sampling operation. He demonstrated how to locate the desired depths for firing the Rosette canisters that collect water samples at specific depths in the water column.


We were also fortunate enough to get a tour of the bridge by the First Mate and watched him navigate the Lake Guardian around a motoring sailboat using at least five different forms of technology. However, during that, he taught us some traditional tricks of the trade that only seasoned mariners would know.


Today at sea, we had to be flexible with our time, especially our dining. Luckily, we have a great steward and cook that provide delicious food that keeps any stomach full.


As always, we have been busy sampling, but we are growing. The time it is taking us to sample is decreasing and the crew is proving us sea-worthy as this afternoon we led our own sampling stations with supervision. With our experience sampling, our curriculum talks and lectures, our journal reflections, and individual and small group assignments, we are quickly gaining a wealth of information about Lake Ontario. We are eager to promote stewardship and share our knowledge of this invaluable resource with our students and communities back home.

-Posted by Meredith Eppers, Katie Sakel, and Scott Krebbeks