It's a Dirty Job...

posted Jul 3, 2012, 12:33 PM by Shannon Casey

Yesterday was amazing! It was the first multicorer deployment for the Oxygen Minimum Zone Team. From a depth of about 800 meters we got some beautiful sediment samples. I have to admit that even though it was quite chilly and windy outside, it was extremely fun.

We had a really successful deployment; as weird and unimpressive as it may sound, we had mud to spare! Yay team! It was an almost 12-hour shift, during which I helped with the set-up of the multicorer, deployment, core removal, and sample processing. Along with Dr. Neira and my awesome bunkmate Svenja, I prepared a couple of sample sets that we will use back at Scripps to study benthic meiofauna.

When the cruise started Dr. Neira warned me, “The first deployment is going to be messy and chaotic.” I realized after the first couple of minutes that I underestimated his words. Regardless of the muddiness, I had a really good time. In fact, I think it was because of the muddiness that I enjoyed it so much. I am looking forward to working with the samples we collected. Even though microscope work is not as exciting as field work, being part of the behind-the-scenes process makes the lab work way more exciting!

Photo: Elvira carries a freshly collected deep-sea mud core to an on-deck
cold room for storage before processing.

Photo: Elvira and her bunkmate Svenja
got their hands dirty processing seafloor mud samples.

For the past few days I have also been helping with deployment and recovery of the CTD. Good biceps workout I must say! I hope in the coming days I get to help with the chemical analysis of the samples as well.

Overall I am having an incredible time. No more sea sickness for me. In fact, the motion of the ship is quite relaxing and soothing at night. Earlier today I got the chance to have some freshly brewed coffee while sitting on deck. To be honest, I could definitely get used to this.

One more week to go! Despite the fact that my phone just died and I don’t have access to my favorite TV shows, I don’t miss being on land that much. (Don’t feel bad mom, I do miss you).

Am I forgetting something? I guess I never really introduced myself properly…so Hello! As you might have seen already my name is Elvira, I am an undergraduate student at UC San Diego, and I am more than happy and pleased to be part of the San Diego Coastal Expedition!

-Elvira Hernandez Lopez, UC San Diego Undergraduate Student