Day 1: Getting our feet wet!

July 9, 2014

The famous Gumby suits (photo credit: Lyndsey Manzo)

As soon as we got to the Lake Guardian we were asked to be interviewed by a reporter from WKSU. We felt like celebrities! Of course we did the interview and then it came time to meet the scientists… very exciting. One of the things we were really impressed with is the approachability of the scientists. It seems they really want us to relay the message of their research to our students. Also, they are super enthusiastic about their work. However, when we really started working with these researchers, we realized how difficult their work really can be when working on a ship. There are many interruptions, many distractions in addition to the motion of the ship. With the aid and patience of these researchers, we continue and feel confident gathering the data.

One of the most memorable things of the day was participating in the mandatory ship safety drill. We had to dawn the “Gumby” suits. Named after the famous “Gumby” of television. This was to protect us from the cold in case we had to abandon ship in the cold waters of Lake Erie; however, all it really did was make us HOT! The picture above is of that very experience.

One of the most disappointing things of the day was when the weather made a turn for the worse. This meant that we didn’t get to complete the demo station samples for which we were scheduled.   These included the rosette water sampler, plankton nets, the manta trawl, and ponar grab benthic sampler.  The rosette sampler gathers water samples at different depths in the water column.  The plankton nets sample the entire water column for free-floating plankton and other materials.  The manta trawl samples the surface of the water for free-floating plastics.  The ponar grab retrieves a square foot area of the bottom of the lake.  These are all very important scientific tests that allow us to monitor Lake Erie.  We look forward to more opportunities later in the cruise to do this work.

Dispatched from the field by Bonnie Sansenbaugher and Lisa Bircher