Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Bigelow Labs Visit #2
I'll apologize up front for the massive amount of pictures. It's like I suffer from some disease or something. I'm currently moving over my photos to my new computer and I've got over 10,000 of them. Frightening. But I just can't pass up photos like these, of our favorite crazy haired German phytoplankton expert! Jochen was back out for a visit, and he brought a friend.Here's David. He's a zooplankton specialist. He came out to tell us about all those amazing microorganisms that we saw last time zipping around beneath our microscopes. And, like all scientists, he has a bunch of really neat gadgets. The device he has in his hand is a spectrometer that uses the data gathered from the bending of light through water to show the salinity content of different samples.
This here is a niskin, an open-ended tube that can be dropped to whatever depth of ocean water you wish to sample. When you're at the right depth, you yank on the cord, and the two plunger gaskets close, sealing the water inside for you to bring to the surface for data gathering.
We may be into science out here in Frenchboro School, but if you really want to win us over, you just need to chase us with a ball. And throw it at us. We love that SO much!
After lunch it was bigtime data gathering. Here's David, Teressa, and Brody about to lower the niskin to gather some sea water samples.
On the other side of the bridge was Jochen, lowering the secchidisc to check out the depth of visibility which helps to gauge how much phytoplankton and zooplankton are present in the water.
Once we got our sample, we checked out the salinity, using the spectrometer.
I was not the only one who was freezing! You know it's bad when these boys (who wear t-shirts in a snow storm) are huddled up for warmth! The wind was whipping so fast, we could barely write our data down.
Mr. Finn, trying out the school's spectrometer on another water sample.
Tyler making sure that Jochen was gathering the zooplankton correctly. We used a finer mesh last time since the phytoplankton are smaller than zooplankton. As we looked at water from the bottom of the cod end, though, we could see right away all the tiny organisms that were present.Jochen tested the secchidisc over on the other side of the ferry pier, but we kept running into problems because the tide was so low, so the disc would hit bottom before we could lose sight of it, so our data wasn't accurate.
We also stopped at the inner harbor to take salinity readings to compare to the ferry pier. You never know what strange thing you'll find down on the flats. Cadin came up to me with this very small fork. A child's fork. I saw right away that it looked to be silver, or silver plated, and there were words on it. We pocketed it and I looked it up to find it was a Puss in Boots silver plated child's fork. How bizarre.
David told us about the different kinds of zooplankton that are present in different parts of the world, and ones that we'd be likely to see in our ocean.Aren't these the most magical animals? If we discover life on other planets, I would expect it to look like these little guys.
Then it was time to check out our samples.
I agreed with Teressa when she said, "I could look at this all day."
Before school was out, Jochen did a demonstration on PH levels, as we've been talking about the acidity in the water and the increase in certain areas that is causing damage to zooplankton. The kids took samples of different liquids to identify if it was an acid or a base. Don't drink too much Coke, kids.
Lastly, it was time for us to show them our Lego Robotics table. The robot did most of its missions successfully and David was very impressed. What an amazingly full and informative day. Thanks again to David and Jochen for waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry and spend the day with us. We so appreciated it!