Ahoy! This is Skye & Andy, guest contributors for today. Day 2 of our shipboard science workshop focused on learning sampling techniques that we will use throughout the week.
We began our day bright and early with Rosie the Rosette. A Rosette is a sampling tool that collects water samples at certain depths to create a water column profile. The data collected includes 12 different parameters, such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate & chlorophyll levels, pH, and turbidity.
Next we moved to the fantail of the RV Lake Guardian to try out a Plankton net. This is a very fine mesh net that is used to sample the vertical column of zooplankton.
The next sampling tool we used is called a Ponar. This tool is used to sample benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms. It looks a lot like a big shovel attached to a rope. When the shovel hits the bottom, a chunk of substrate is captured and an examination of benthic organisms is under way.
Now, the boat is ready to collect samples on the move! Our first “moving” sampler was the Larval Fish Tow. This is similar to the plankton net, but is towed laterally at specific depths for specific lengths of time.
To capture some of the larger creatures, we used a Fish Trawl. This is another “on the go” sampling method, where a larger mesh net is towed along the bottom of the lake for a period of 10 minutes, snagging benthic dwellers.
Now that we know how to use these tools, we are ready to become novice Great Lakes Scientists! Our pictures of these sampling methods and some creatures we discovered along the way will be posted soon. In the meantime, check in tomorrow to see what else we will explore!