CD179: Deep-sea biology of the Portguese canyons


Daily diary

Tuesday 18 April 2006

Sarah writes:

"Today was again a full day of running the TOBI survey, so it was another quiet day for the biologists on board the RRS Charles Darwin. We carried on monitoring the 3.5 KHz survey to make sure the results were recorded on screen, and changed the line numbers for the multibeam survey every hour. This is my first ever research cruise, so everything is new and exciting to me, but I am already looking forward to the end of the TOBI run because then we shall start using SHRIMP (a towed platform that takes photographs and video of the seafloor) and start taking core samples of sea bed sediment.

In preparation for the future biological sampling, this morning I helped Teresa make up some para-formaldehyde. Because this is a toxic chemical we had to use the fume cupboard in the cold room. The fume cupboard draws any chemical fumes up a chimney and out of the lab so that we don‚t breathe them in. The cold room is kept at 4ºC, which is very cold unless you have warm clothes like jumpers and coats to wear!

Also in preparation for the future SHRIMP work, this afternoon David showed Abi how to change and load photographic film into the camera that is mounted on SHRIMP. Because unexposed film cannot be opened in the light, Abi will need to change the camera film in the dark room. However, the dark room does not have a red light, so Abi won‚t be able to see what she is doing; hence she has been practising with her eyes closed - as you can see from the photo!!

When we are not on shift, we spend our time working on our own research plans, reading books, going to the gym, watching DVDs on our laptops or playing cards (see the picture of all the girls playing a card game!). The most important occasions during the day (for me anyway!) are the mealtimes; breakfast is at 7.20 am, lunch at 11.20 am and dinner at 5.30pm. The food is very tasty, which keeps everyone happy, and if you are hungry at any time during the day you can go and make toast or get cheese and biscuits from the duty mess (a little kitchen the crew and scientists can use)."

Abi loading film into one of the underwater cameras

The team take a break for a game of cards

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April 2006
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