So what happens after a research cruise? Firstly, I'm hoping to be able to do some troubleshooting for the researchers who are on Leg 2. The current (at least, it was current when I got off!) method for mosaicking the images has been great at aligning them along-track (along the horizontal line we imaged), but between the tracklines there's been quite a bit of offset and the dataset is so massive (one image every eight seconds for 30+ hours) that hand-correcting these errors would not only be incredibly frustrating, but it would also take forever. Shortly before I left I volunteered to look at existing programs for aerial systems to see if we couldn't adapt one of them to meet our purposes. It's nice to have this to do, since I won't be able to make much more headway on my project until the boat re-docks in Seattle in September- it's my thesis project, so I'll be working on it (at least the paper/presentation part) until December.
Once the boat gets in, however, my life will be busy! I'll be working with the survey images over two sites that I picked (the site of where there was an active bubble plume, and the collapsed old bubble plume site) to create a photomosaic of the area. Once that's done I'll be using a mapping program to identify three types of objects in the study areas (methane seeps, bacterial mats, and megafauna) and to look for any spatial correlation. As an added component of my project I'd like to estimate a methane flux rate over my study areas, and if I'm really lucky I'll be able to use data that Evan Solomon collected on the cruise to make this estimate.
On a different note, it's now been five days since I got off the boat in Newport and up until very recently I'd been experiencing what I've heard referred to as 'land-sickness.' For odd little moments throughout the weekend I'd be doing something completely normal on stable ground (making my morning cup of coffee, putting my hair in a ponytail, reading) and out of the blue I would feel like I was gently rocking back and forth, just like on the boat. A bit of a tangent, but I'm curious as to what medical researchers make of this- is it completely psychological, or does your body get so physiologically adjusted to the rocking that things are skewed on land?