It’s been a fun past couple of days on our little floating island out here. On Friday the resident film crew wanted to take out the zodiac so they could film the recovery of ROPOS back onto the ship’s deck. They had spare room and were able to take me and two other undergrads, Martha and Cody, along for the ride. I’ve been on two other cruises on the Thompson before but I’ve never had quite the appreciation for the impressive size and beauty of this ship until I was looking up at it from water level. The true icing on the cake though was that it was about 80 degrees and sunny yesterday too so we might as well have been out on the Caribbean, not in the North Pacific. Also, instead of having dinner inside last night we had a barbeque out on the back deck with all of the crew. There’s nothing quite like a burger 300 miles away from any land.
In terms of real work, Dr. Bob, myself, and a few others have been working away at our water samples and beginning to really be able to put together a story about the microbial critters living out here. We have somewhat of an expedited work schedule in the sense that I have to be able to present a short piece on Wednesday about the research that I have been doing out here (along with all of the other undergrads). I’ll be able to talk about our sampling locations, some of the cell count data and chlorophyll measurements we’ve gathered to try and quantify the microbes living out here. Unfortunately though, we will have to wait until we are back on shore in order to do some of the really interesting experiments. These experiments will include a DNA analysis called T-RFLP (Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) that will help us classify the bacterial groups that are present in our samples.