Eat, Sleep, Science. Repeat.
Once the trip got underway the days start to fall into a predictable pattern. The nets go down at night and get pulled up around 3 am. The scientists collect the organisms from the different nets which are sorted through one net at a time (there are a total of 6 nets). There are specialists to identify the different fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans but they still use guides to help make a positive id. All of the organisms are entered into the database, weighed and measured. Some are sampled for DNA, while others are frozen for stable isotope analysis when they are returned to the lab back on land. It can take up to around six hours to process all of the organisms that are brought in during one trawl. Sometimes we stopped for a meal during the processing time, other times we wait until we are finished and grab a bite afterwards. Then it’s time to take a nap or relax until the nets come back up at 3 pm and we start the whole process all over again.
Bringing in the 3 am Trawl
There are no hitchhikers on this trip. Everyone has a job to do and I get to help April Cook, the database manager. I help her weigh, measure and store all of the fish samples.
Teacher At Sea,
Our Work station
Juvenile puffer fish, one of the smallest items I measured.