Saturday, September 22, 2012

DAY SIX (9/22/12)

Data, data, data!  Today we collected CTD data and water samples to profile the water columns above Dream and Mysterious Banks, which are both located in the southern grouping of the South Texas Banks.  Dr. Paul Zimba and doctoral candidate Maureen Trnka will analyze water samples to determine which algal species are present at which depths at the two sites.

Between the CTD dives, the crew conducted a safety exercise by testing the tender boats.  HRI and other students and journalist Mark Schrope rode along for photo opportunities and to collect Sargassum (macroalgae) samples.  It was an exciting ride as pantropical spotted dolphins followed the little excursion.  At least a dozen dolphins swam alongside the boat playing in the wake and jumping into the air. 

Just a little taste of dolphins galore
Image credit: Maureen Trnka

Dr. David Hicks spoke at the afternoon’s SASS and the told the crew and scientists about his biodiversity assessment studies in high salinity environments in an ecological restoration area in south Texas near the Mexican border. 

Dr. Hicks speaking to crew and science party as SASS
Image credit:  Harriet Nash

Throughout the day and into the night we also continued collecting multibeam data for detailed mapping of remaining sites.  As before, scientists took turns processing the incoming data.  Refined maps will be used to guide the next ROV dives tomorrow.

On the lounge deck just before sunset, the crew and scientists wrapped up the day with a lovely “charcoal-based social networking opportunity,” AKA barbecue, complete with a slideshow recapping the first week. 

BBQ Social
Image credit: Harriet Nash
Day 6 Sunset
Image credit:  Maureen Trnka

Written by Harriet Nash for HRI at TAMU-CC.

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