The ocean is a very deep place and many interesting things happen in the ocean as you go deeper and deeper. Many of the scientists are interested in examining the chemistry and the microbiology of what lives in the deeper parts of the ocean. It can be very difficult to collect water from very deep parts of the ocean. We use a CTD to collect water at various depths of the ocean. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature and depth (some of the sensors that it contains). The CTD also has many bottles that can be used to collect water. We can lower the CTD into the water and trigger these bottles to close at different depths sealing the water in the bottle. Upon returning to the deck we can collect the water and use it for different purposes.
For example, many of the microbiologists are interested in collecting the bacteria and phytoplankton that live in the water. To do this we will filter water so that it will trap most of the microbes on the filter. This allows us to concentrate the bacteria on the filter and take them back to lab for further investigation.
Barbara is interested in studying how carbon-containing compounds are different in the deep ocean. To do this she can collect these compounds using special columns designed to trap all of these carbon-containing compounds. Sam and Violetta are also looking at how different chemicals change at different depths over long periods of time. All of this together will help us to better understand our oceans and how humans impact them.
-Molly Redmond, Stephen Techtmann, and Steve Tuorto