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.
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.
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!